Longgu

Conceptualising the Human Person from the Inside Out

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapter

Abstract

The Longgu people of the Solomon Islands conceptualize the human person as consisting of two parts, one of which is referred to as suli (‘body’) and the other one as anoa (roughly, ‘spirit’). This paper discusses these Longgu concepts, and other culture-specific terms relevant to the discussion of the human person, and, uses Minimal English to explicate them. The paper argues that the conceptualization of the human person in Longgu can be described as seeing a human person ‘from the inside out’: rather than conceptualizing the human person as something visible (a body), with something invisible inside the body. Longgu people think of a human person in terms of what is inside (a ‘spirit’), and then as what can be seen on the outside (a body).
The paper argues that understanding the concept of anoa ‘spirit’ in Longgu requires an understanding of other important cultural concepts including, agalo ‘ancestor spirit’ and Marapa, the place of ancestor spirits. It argues that it is not possible to understand the concept of anoa ‘spirit’ without also trying to comprehend the concept of agalo ‘ancestor spirit’. Through this discussion the paper contributes to the wider discussion of personhood and personhood constructs in Melanesian societies. One of the most significant concepts in Melanesian anthropology is that of the Melanesian person as ‘dividual’, as opposed to the European person, who is ‘individual’. The dividual person is ‘permeable’, while the individual is ‘impermeable’. That is, the Melanesian concept of the human person is argued to be one that is less bound by the human body. The significance of spirits in the Longgu conceptualization of the human person points in the same direction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHeart- and Soul-like constructs across languages, cultures and epochs
EditorsBert Peeters
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter3
Pages58-81
Number of pages24
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9781315180670
ISBN (Print)9781138745308
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Linguistics
PublisherRoutledge

Fingerprint

Person
Ancestors
Conceptualization
Personhood
Visible
Invisible
Jacques Derrida
Anthropology
Human Body
Solomon Islands

Cite this

HILL, D. (2019). Longgu: Conceptualising the Human Person from the Inside Out. In B. Peeters (Ed.), Heart- and Soul-like constructs across languages, cultures and epochs (1st ed., pp. 58-81). (Routledge Studies in Linguistics). New York: Routledge.
HILL, Deborah. / Longgu : Conceptualising the Human Person from the Inside Out. Heart- and Soul-like constructs across languages, cultures and epochs. editor / Bert Peeters. 1st. ed. New York : Routledge, 2019. pp. 58-81 (Routledge Studies in Linguistics).
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HILL, D 2019, Longgu: Conceptualising the Human Person from the Inside Out. in B Peeters (ed.), Heart- and Soul-like constructs across languages, cultures and epochs. 1st edn, Routledge Studies in Linguistics, Routledge, New York, pp. 58-81.

Longgu : Conceptualising the Human Person from the Inside Out. / HILL, Deborah.

Heart- and Soul-like constructs across languages, cultures and epochs. ed. / Bert Peeters. 1st. ed. New York : Routledge, 2019. p. 58-81 (Routledge Studies in Linguistics).

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapter

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AB - The Longgu people of the Solomon Islands conceptualize the human person as consisting of two parts, one of which is referred to as suli (‘body’) and the other one as anoa (roughly, ‘spirit’). This paper discusses these Longgu concepts, and other culture-specific terms relevant to the discussion of the human person, and, uses Minimal English to explicate them. The paper argues that the conceptualization of the human person in Longgu can be described as seeing a human person ‘from the inside out’: rather than conceptualizing the human person as something visible (a body), with something invisible inside the body. Longgu people think of a human person in terms of what is inside (a ‘spirit’), and then as what can be seen on the outside (a body). The paper argues that understanding the concept of anoa ‘spirit’ in Longgu requires an understanding of other important cultural concepts including, agalo ‘ancestor spirit’ and Marapa, the place of ancestor spirits. It argues that it is not possible to understand the concept of anoa ‘spirit’ without also trying to comprehend the concept of agalo ‘ancestor spirit’. Through this discussion the paper contributes to the wider discussion of personhood and personhood constructs in Melanesian societies. One of the most significant concepts in Melanesian anthropology is that of the Melanesian person as ‘dividual’, as opposed to the European person, who is ‘individual’. The dividual person is ‘permeable’, while the individual is ‘impermeable’. That is, the Melanesian concept of the human person is argued to be one that is less bound by the human body. The significance of spirits in the Longgu conceptualization of the human person points in the same direction.

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HILL D. Longgu: Conceptualising the Human Person from the Inside Out. In Peeters B, editor, Heart- and Soul-like constructs across languages, cultures and epochs. 1st ed. New York: Routledge. 2019. p. 58-81. (Routledge Studies in Linguistics).