A phylogenetic interpretation of the canonical formula of myths by Levi-Strauss
Marc Thuillard, Jean-Loïc Le Quellec
Lévi-Strauss’ canonical formula and Mosko’s narrative formula have a simple interpretation within the theoretical framework of phylogenetics. The canonical formula represents a complex but by far not unique way of combining 2 and 3-states characters in a phylogenetic tree description of myths. The canonical formula describes an instance of myth’s evolution that can be described exactly by a perfect phylogenetic tree. Mosko’s formula describes a completely different scheme of evolution. Mosko’s formula is typically the result of a fast evolution of mythemes resulting possibly in all combinations of binary characters. The evolution of myths corresponds quite often to intermediary situations. This observation may explain why the canonical formula has been identified only in a limited number of instances.
Keywords: Lévi-Strauss; canonical formula; narrative formula; myths; phylogeny
A Minoan deity from London Medicine Papyrus
In London Medicine Papyrus, in incantation against samuna ubuqi illness there are two names of Minoan deities. One of them is determined as Maja that evidently is correlated with Maia of ancient Greek mythology. Maia of ancient Greek mythology is the oldest of seven Pleiades. Pleiades were connected with seafaring since the season of navigation in Mediterranean region began with their heliacal rising. Minoan Maia could be protector of sailors; use of name Maja in an incantation against a disease is completely logical since seafaring was very important of Minoan people, and so a deity that was protector of sailors evidently was considered as a mighty one and could also be an effective protector against other troubles. The fact that name Maja is written with determinative “god”, but not “goddess” in the incantation while in Greek mythology Maia is goddess, hints that initially Maja could be androgynous/bigender deity.
Keywords: London Medicine Papyrus; Minoan deity; Minoan language; Minoan; Kaftiw
Actual problems of Ainu language revitalization
Alexander Akulov, Tresi Nonno
It was supposed that social networks and virtual worlds could be good platforms for Ainu language revitalization. Also it was supposed that the conception of native tongue should be thrown as well as conception of ‘native’ gender. Anybody who can produce spontaneous utterances in a language should be considered as its speaker. However, it has appeared that it’s not easy to create a platform for revitalization. Second Life has appeared to be nothing else, but just a huge mall where any activity except stereotyped isn’t welcomed. Facebook has appeared to be a ‘ghetto’ of so called UN ‘hippies’ who mostly want to see indigenous cultures as enigmatic exotics only. Funds also provide little support for real activists of revitalization.
Keywords: Ainu language; language revitalization; virtualization
Some critical thoughts on the concept of tradition
Anthropologists as well as plain people often use the concepts of tradition/traditional values/traditional culture. They both suppose that tradition is something contraposed modernity/contemporaneity. Really any culture is based on certain traditions. Traditions are actually regularly performed practices so any culture is based on certain traditions since any culture always supposes certain set of regularly performed practices. Also we should keep in mind that tradition also supposes invention of new issues. Also we should keep in mind that the activity of anthropologists, i.e.: the fact that they pay much attention to traditional societies and contrapose so called traditional societies to modernity provide help to the forces of obscurantism.
Keywords: tradition; anthropology; history
Yayoi culture as a fake (preliminary notes)
Among historians are spread the following stereotypes: roots of Japanese culture were formed in the period of Yayoi, and Jōmon culture didn’t influence on forming Japanese culture. However, Yayoi pottery and architecture are just continuations of Late Jōmon pottery and architecture. Perception of continental issues (for instance: dōtaku) in the period of Yayoi was very irregular, and introduced items became object of cargo cults. In the period of Kofun on the contrary we can see regular spreading of ‘Korean’ techniques. Regular spreading of certain techniques should necessarily correlate with regular presence of corresponding ethnic group. Thus, it is possible to say that there was no serious presence of ‘Korean’ ethnic element upon Japanese archipelago until the beginning of Kofun period. Yayoi period actually should not be considered as a separated culture, but just as a continuation of Late Jōmon.
Keywords: Yayoi; Late Jōmon; Japanese history; interpretation of archaeological data