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International Journal of Theoretical Linguistics

Ed. by Roelcke, Thorsten / Kelih, Emmerich / Köhler, Reinhard

Editorial Board Member: Altmann, Gabriel / Andreev, Sergey / Embleton, Sheila / Gries, Stefan Th. / Grzybek, Peter / Leiss, Elisabeth / Liu, Haitao / Macutek, Ján / Bruch Nemcová, Emilia / Patrás, Vladimír / Sanada, Haruko / Wilson, Andrew

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“Harmonic”-like structures in the rongorongo script

Tomi S. Melka
  • Parkland College, Dept. of Humanities, 2400 W. Bradley Avenue, Champaign, IL. 61821, USA
  • :
Published Online: 2014-04-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/glot.2013.0018


Rongorongo script is characterized by a choice of scribal techniques, allowing for adjustments and paraphrasing within the analyzed texts. Variation, interchanging and permutation techniques, “harmonic”-like and “rhythmic” features, plus mirror-reflection sequences are common in the Easter Island’s script. They often hint at lax and diverse spelling conventions, and occasionally reveal the Old scribes as authentic punsters.

If we wish to achieve real progress, the structural method is a non-biased avenue that tells us what to expect out of the encoded glyphs. The paper concentrates on the “harmonic”-like feature (Guy 2006) and intends to ground it in the ancient lore of the islanders (Routledge 1919; Campbell 1971; Fischer 1997). The line of arguing may also help us in re-addressing the dilemma of the nature of Rapanui’s classical script.

Keywords : chants; “clef,” “harmonic”-like sequences; mixed script; “rhythmic,” rongorongo

Published Online: 2014-04-08

Published in Print: 2013-12-01

Citation Information: Glottotheory. Volume 4, Issue 2, Pages 115–139, ISSN (Online) 2196-6907, ISSN (Print) 1337-7892, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/glot.2013.0018, April 2014

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