Ritual Language Behaviour
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854
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The use of language primarily displays succession, not simultaneity. It is common for people to talk at the same time or interrupt each other, but this is reduced to cases of succession. Vedic ritual involves not only succession but also simultaneities that are structural.1 In the “Soma swelling” rite, many priests recite two groups of mantras, A and B. First, one priest recites A while touching the bundle of Soma stalks. He then steps aside and recites B without touching Soma. At the same time, the next priest recites A and touches Soma. The result is that A and B are recited simultaneously but Soma is touched once by only one priest at a time. Other structural simultaneities may be attributed to a “horror of gaps.” A separate class are stage directions. A final comment is made on multifunctionality in space, a parallel to the temporal concept of simultaneity.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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