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Ain't Misbehavin'? Trobriand Pragmatics and the Field Researcher's Opportunity to Put His (Or Her) Foot in It
Vol. 34, No. 1 (Jun., 1995), pp. 211-226
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3623120
Page Count: 16
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To realize that one has just behaved like a bull in a china shop is certainly embarrassing. However, linguists and anthropologists doing field research have experienced many such moments and know that each instance can not only be embarrassing but also illuminating with respect to the pragmatics of the speech community they are studying and in which they are living. This paper describes certain such experiences of my field research in the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea. The cases in which I "put my foot in it" in the Trobriands can be subdivided into mistakes, misunderstandings, and misbehavior. I illustrate this classification with a few examples and discuss their relevance for Trobriand pragmatics-especially with respect to the cognitive processing of communicative strategies in the Trobriand Islands.
Oceanic Linguistics © 1995 University of Hawai'i Press