This study focuses on various genres of ritual speech among the Mewahang Rai, all of which make use of a distinct ritual language. The main objective is to situate the oral ritual texts in their ethnographic context. Combining a textual with a cultural approach, the author discusses the indigenous concept of tradition, the rhetorical and poetic features of ritual speech genres, and the discursive universe constructed through the texts. On the theoretical level, the book contributes to recent debates about ritualization and performance, and to discussions in linguistic anthropology concerning the notions of formality, indexicality, entextualization and contextualization.
Martin Gaenszle is affiliated with the South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University, and teaches in the Department of Ethnology.