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Signs and Sight in Southern Uganda: Representing Perception in Ordinary Conversation

Ben Orlove and Merit Kabugo
Etnofoor
Vol. 18, No. 1, SENSES (2005), pp. 124-141
Published by: Stichting Etnofoor
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25758089
Page Count: 18
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Signs and Sight in Southern Uganda: Representing Perception in Ordinary Conversation
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Abstract

Conversations in Luganda, a widely-spoken language in the East African nation of Uganda, frequently include discussions and evaluations of signs — readily observable phenomena that are understood to predict events that will soon take place. A corpus of material on this topic is examined, consisting of twenty signs and of four conversations in which these signs are discussed. Certain links are noted between specific sensory modes and these signs. The cultural significance of these sensory modes supports the cultural understanding that these signs are publicly available, rather than being restricted to certain individuals or conditions. It also supports the active discussion, rather than passive acceptance, of claims that individuals make to observing and interpreting signs. In this way, the cultural dimensions of sensory modes influene human perception and experience, and also support the public sphere of debates about the significance of events and about courses of action.

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