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1 December 2017 What a Little Bird Tells Us About Symbolic Thought: the Russet-Capped Stubtail (Tesia everetti) in Nage Augury, Myth, and Metaphor
Gregory Forth
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Abstract

Among symbolic representations of animals, birds appear to play a disproportionately large part. This paper explores the symbolism of a particular bird, the Russet-capped Stubtail (Tesia everetti), among the Nage of eastern Indonesia. The stubtail features in several contexts of Nage augury, myth, and metaphor but, in each instance, it stands in opposition to another bird category (or, more specifically, “folk-generic”). I also show how different symbolic contexts, in which the stubtail occurs, reflect different physical and behavioral features of this bird. Although the focus is a single small bird, the paper reviews and discusses several features of symbolic thought in general, giving attention especially to the ways symbolic knowledge of animals is mentally constructed differently from knowledge that informs folk taxonomies.

Gregory Forth "What a Little Bird Tells Us About Symbolic Thought: the Russet-Capped Stubtail (Tesia everetti) in Nage Augury, Myth, and Metaphor," Journal of Ethnobiology 37(4), 682-699, (1 December 2017). https://doi.org/10.2993/0278-0771-37.4.682
Published: 1 December 2017
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