Volume 44, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0731-3500
  • E-ISSN: 2214-5907
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Dongba and Daba chants represent two of the few oral traditions still surviving in the world. In both traditions, the main category of formulaic expressions consists of traditional noun-epithets describing spirits. Dongba and Daba spirits can be classified into five categories, of which the noun-epithets used to describe them share similar features. Another significant percentage of noun-epithets portray figures of animals. Dongba and Daba chants are both chanted in odd-numbered metric patterns in which noun-epithets are adapted to the metric context. Besides the core expression (often a tetra-syllabic compound), several monosyllabic words not affecting the core meaning may be inserted as optional morphemes to modify the number of syllables in the noun-epithet. This study provides a systematic philological analysis of the vast repertoire of Daba and Dongba noun-epithets. Comparative mythology and comparative linguistics combine to present a comprehensive description of the stylistic features of Daba and Dongba noun-epithets.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): chant; Daba; Dongba; formula; noun-epithet; oral-tradition
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