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24 April 2020 Winged Voices: Mapuche Ornithology from South American Temperate Forests
José Tomás Ibarra, Julián Caviedes, Pelayo Benavides
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Abstract

Ethno-ornithological studies have shown the complexity of indigenous systems of classification of local biota. However, there is still a lack of knowledge about the etymology of bird names used by indigenous peoples in many locations and about the phenomenological meaning of these names. We conducted an extensive literature review of Mapuche bird names and their etymologies. Because of the relative importance of onomatopoeias as the origin of Mapuche bird names, we compared the proportion of onomatopoeic names used by different forest-dwelling indigenous peoples worldwide. We found 219 bird names in Mapuzugun for 92 species and 135 etymologies for 72 different species. Sixty-four (47%) etymologies were onomatopoeic, while 29 (21%) etymologies came from the bird's appearance and 21 (16%) from its behavior. Out of a total of 13 different indigenous peoples examined, only the Mbuti (Congo) showed a higher percentage of onomatopoeic names (67%) than the Mapuche. Using a phenomenological framework, we utilized the notion of “sonic incarnation” to discuss how a bird's voice does not necessarily guide the listener's eyes to it but, instead, the experience of hearing it is equated with “seeing” the bird. Onomatopoeic influence is a key root of the bird names used by different indigenous peoples of the world, including the Mapuche, and it may reflect onomatopoeia's great ability to capture immediacy in the landscape of human-bird encounters.

José Tomás Ibarra, Julián Caviedes, and Pelayo Benavides "Winged Voices: Mapuche Ornithology from South American Temperate Forests," Journal of Ethnobiology 40(1), 89-100, (24 April 2020). https://doi.org/10.2993/0278-0771-40.1.89
Published: 24 April 2020
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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KEYWORDS
Chile
ethno-taxonomy
onomatopoeias
phenomenology
sonic incarnation
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