Language and the frontiers of the human: Aymara animal-oriented interjections and the mediation of mind

by Benjamin Smith

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By Benjamin Smith In this article, I offer an analysis of Peruvian Aymara speech directed toward sheep and alpacas, children, and marbles (specifically, the use of “animal-oriented interjections”). The use of these forms positions addressees as reduced (quasi) agents and thereby mediates Aymara ideologies about the scaled or graduated character of those enminded beings that regularly act as addressees. Ultimately, the analysis reveals an Aymara human–nonhuman frontier that requires attention to both the interactional encounters sustained across perceived ontological divides (divides understood to turn on species and ethnodevelopmental difference, etc.) and the (scaled) character of the ideologies that renders these divides "ontological." See: