Helga Kotthoff – Communicating Affect in Intercultural Lamentations in Caucasian Georgia

Oral lamentation rituals have been frequently studies by anthropologists, ethnolinguists and cultural sociologists, and they play important roles in many cultures. In Georgia, these mourning ceremonies are called xmit natirlebi (literally “crying with the voice”); the one who ritually cries is the motirali. the women of the family and neighbourhood of the deceased gather around the coffin and in lamenting they repeatedly appeal to the dead person, address him/her or one another using special exclamation formats, eulogise the deceased, those present and those who have dies long before. Neighbours, colleagues and distant relatives at some point join in the ceremony and take turns in performing mourning improvisations.

Kotthoff, H. (2006). Communicating affect in intercultural lamentations in Caucasian Georgia. In Buhrig and J. D. ten Thije (eds.). Beyond Misunderstanding. pp. 289-311. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

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