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Re: Interesting article and a question about Luo(Kenya) culture

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  • George Thomas
    Journalism has indeed gone the way of the split infinitive, having drifted that direction long ago. The Associated Press guide to usage provides the Star Trek
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 15, 2008
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      Journalism has indeed gone the way of the split infinitive, having drifted that direction long ago. The Associated Press guide to usage provides the Star Trek example ("To boldly go..." it must be the universal example du every jour), and explains that in many cases splitting the infinitive (1) flows better and (2) is actually more understandable.
      Some, chiefly academics who write often and who correct papers regularly, become exercised over this, and choose boldly to go forth to champion excruciatingly correct grammar.
      I fall between the camps, choosing the diplomatic route.
      The original example appeared to illustrate a case of obscured/disrupted meaning, by which what was meant was not clearly conveyed. That's usually a more serious problem. It depends on what the meaning of "his" is.
      G


      Re: Interesting article and a question about Luo(Kenya) culture
      Posted by: "Lloyd Miller" lloyd.miller@...
      Date: Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:08 am ((PST))

      Technically you are right, Ellen, but you'd have to "retrace" the
      etymological line to Latin to get to that meaning. Many if not most
      people would likely follow Deborah's usage because we use "refer" in
      the more general sense of "to allude to," etc. You'd be about as
      successful opposing this tide as you would trying to prevent people
      (including college professors and journalists) from splitting
      infinitives. I think we're simply the victims of Sapir's "language
      drift."

      Hang in there, though. After you retire, these kinds of
      technicalities will gently roll off your back without causing
      stress. After nearly 8 years, I'm even learning to boldly go and
      accept split infinitives!

      Lloyd



      On Feb 14, 2008, at 12:39 PM, Johnson, Ellen C. K. wrote:

      > "Refer back" is redundant, to get technical. "Re-" means "back."
      >
      > ________________________________
      >
      > From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On
      Behalf
      > Of Deborah Shepherd
      > Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2008 12:37 PM
      > To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Interesting article and a question about
      > Luo(Kenya) culture
      >
      > OK, I'll agree. The fact that the journalist made a point of
      adding
      > "Gibbs said Odinga and Obama's father are from the same tribe,
      > though he
      > was not aware they are related." was confusing. She made it sound
      like
      > it really mattered! And her use of pronouns was sloppy (one of my
      > pet-peeves). The "his" in the statement, "Obama's father was his
      > uncle"
      > should refer back to the subject of the clause, not of the
      previous
      > clause. Harumph.
      >
      > >>> Lloyd Miller <lloyd.miller@...
      > <mailto:lloyd.miller%40mchsi.com> > 2/14/2008 12:10 AM
      >>>
      > Deborah, I think Odinga meant that Obama's father was his
      (Odinga's)
      > uncle, and that Obama called him (Odinga) during the campaign
      (since
      > he-Odinga-is the opposition leader) and that Obama plans also to
      call
      >
      > President Kibaki. In other words, Obama is trying to negotiate a
      > peace between the factions and is trying to influence his
      relative,
      > Odinga. Judging from the NYT op ed piece that Ann Popplestone
      > posted, I think it'll be an uphill battle.
      > Lloyd
      >
      > On Feb 13, 2008, at 4:32 PM, Deborah Shepherd wrote:
      >
      > > First off, I'm primarily an archaeologist and am the first to
      admit
      >
      > > that
      > > I didn't do all the cultural anthro study I could have when I
      was
      in
      > > school. The following article talks about Obama's Luo kinship
      ties.
      > > There's a comment about midway through:
      > >
      > > "Odinga, a Luo, told British Broadcasting Corp. radio that
      Obama's
      > > father was his uncle, and that Obama called him "in the midst
      of
      his
      > > campaigning ... to express his concern and to say that he is
      also
      > > going
      > > to call President Kibaki so that Kibaki agrees to find a
      negotiated,
      > > satisfactory solution to this problem."
      > > Gibbs said Odinga and Obama's father are from the same tribe,
      > > though he
      > > was not aware they are related."
      > > I've checked an ethnography on the Luo and couldn't find any
      strong
      > > emphasis on the mother's-brother relationship in the Luo
      family.
      > > Basically, the traditional culture practices bridewealth and
      accepts
      > > polygyny. Husbands have strong authority over wives. In rural
      areas,
      > > when a woman refuses to accept a marriage offer, it is
      possible to
      > > "ambush" one's desired wife, even against her will, and once
      she
      has
      > > been in the possession of the man's family, her own family
      will not
      >
      > > want
      > > her back. They will only want the bridewealth payment.
      > > Nevertheless, I understand Odinga's comment to mean that
      after
      > Obama's
      > > father showed little inclination to raise his son, the uncle
      stepped
      > > forward to be a moral influence in the boy's life. The
      journalist
      > just
      > > didn't understand the African metaphorical way of speaking.
      > > Does anyone have an opinion?
      > > Deborah
      > >
      > >
      > >
      http://abcnews.go.com/International/WireStory?id=4102638&page=2
      >
      <" target=_blank>http://abcnews.go.com/International/WireStory?id=4102638&page=2>
      > > Obama Family in Kenya Watches US VoteBarack Obama's Family in
      Kenya
      > > Watches New Hampshire Vote, Expresses PrideBy KATY POWNALLThe
      > > Associated
      > > Press
      > > KOGELO, Kenya
      > >
      > > Sitting in plastic chairs surrounded by chickens and barefoot
      > > children,
      > > Barack Obama's Kenyan relatives rejoiced in the early results
      from
      > the
      > > New Hampshire primary.
      > > The candidate's uncle was pleased but cautious when he heard
      news
      on
      > > the radio of the initial encouraging signs for the family's
      favorite
      > > son.
      > > "Ah, that's wonderful," Said Obama declared, breaking into a
      wide
      > > grin.
      > > "But I don't want to jump just yet."
      > > Even after the results in New Hampshire showed Obama
      finishing a
      > close
      > > second to Hillary Clinton, Said Obama remained optimistic.
      > > "He still stands a good chance. I don't think it's too much
      of a
      > > setback because there was a time he was trailing Hillary and
      if he
      > was
      > > the kind of man who gives up, he would have given up then,"
      the
      > uncle
      > > said Wednesday.
      > > Kogelo, the western Kenyan village of Barack Obama's father,
      has
      > been
      > > spared the political and ethnic violence that has erupted in
      Kenya
      > > after
      > > last month's disputed presidential election. But it's just 90
      > minutes'
      > > drive from a town where torched and looted buildings bear
      testimony
      > to
      > > the clashes that have left more than 500 people dead, and the
      > > turmoil in
      > > Kenya, as well as his nephew's political success, were on
      Said
      > Obama's
      > > mind.
      > > While the dispute is political, violence has pitted other
      tribes
      > such
      > > as the Obamas' Luo against the Kikuyu of President Mwai
      Kibaki, who
      >
      > > have
      > > long dominated politics and the economy in Kenya.
      > > If Barack Obama were in Kenya today, he would "work with the
      > > leadership
      > > to bring them to a round table and find a solution to the
      problems
      > > that
      > > have been ravaging the country," his uncle said.
      > > In fact, Obama's spokesman Robert Gibbs confirmed the senator
      spoke
      > to
      > > opposition leader Raila Odinga for about five minutes Monday
      before
      > > going into a rally in New Hampshire.
      > > Odinga, a Luo, told British Broadcasting Corp. radio that
      Obama's
      > > father was his uncle, and that Obama called him "in the midst
      of
      his
      > > campaigning ... to express his concern and to say that he is
      also
      > > going
      > > to call President Kibaki so that Kibaki agrees to find a
      negotiated,
      > > satisfactory solution to this problem."
      > > Gibbs said Odinga and Obama's father are from the same tribe,
      > > though he
      > > was not aware they are related.
      > > Obama, speaking Tuesday in New Hampshire, said he urged that
      "all
      > the
      > > leaders there, regardless of their position on the election
      tell
      > their
      > > supporters to stand down, to desist with the violence and
      resolve
      in
      > a
      > > peaceful way in accordance with Kenyan law."
      > > Obama was coordinating his efforts with the State Department,
      his
      > > advisers said, and has discussed the situation with Secretary
      of
      > State
      > > Condoleezza Rice.
      > > He has also spoken with South African Archbishop Desmond
      Tutu,
      > calling
      > > him during last week's Iowa caucuses in between satellite
      interviews
      > > with local Iowa stations. Tutu has been in Nairobi, the
      Kenyan
      > > capital,
      > > trying to secure an end to the violence.
      > > On his last visit to Kenya, in August 2006, Obama touched on
      themes
      >
      > > not
      > > normally debated openly here, criticizing the high-level
      corruption
      >
      > > and
      > > the tribal politics that have dominated the country since its
      1963
      > > independence from Britain. Both have played a role in the
      post-
      > > election
      > > violence.
      > > "Very many people sat up and listened, but the government
      didn't
      > like
      > > it," Said Obama said of his nephew's speech, which was
      televised
      > > nationwide. "It touched a nerve they didn't want touched. The
      > > corruption
      > > is endemic here and tribalism cannot escape your eyes you
      just have
      > to
      > > look at the government ministries."
      > > In his speech, Barack Obama said: "Corruption is not a new
      problem;
      > > it's not just a Kenyan or African problem. It's a human
      problem.
      ...
      > > While corruption is a problem we all share, here in Kenya it
      is a
      > > crisis
      > > robbing an honest people of the opportunities they have
      fought for
      > and
      > > deserve."
      > > "Ethnic-based tribal politics have to stop," he said, to
      applause
      > from
      > > university students and staff.
      > > Obama's relatives, gathered Tuesday in the family compound at
      the
      > end
      > > of a dusty dirt road lined with mimosa and mango trees,
      listened
      for
      > > news of their American relative's election fortunes.
      > > Inside his grandmother's cinderblock home, framed photos of
      Obama's
      > > 2006 visit and an earlier one in 1987 lined the walls,
      alongside a
      > > signed election poster from his Senate race. Sarah Hussein
      Obama,
      > > wearing a brightly patterned dress and sandals decorated with
      > > shells and
      > > beads, sat in a wooden chair in the immaculate living room,
      waiting
      >
      > > for
      > > news of her grandson.
      > > Obama's father, also named Barack Obama, won a scholarship to
      a
      > > university in Hawaii, where he met and married the
      candidate's
      > > American
      > > mother. The two separated and Obama's father returned to
      Kenya,
      > > where he
      > > worked as a government economist until he died in a car crash
      in
      > 1982.
      > > His white-tiled grave is located in a secluded corner of the
      family
      > > compound.
      > > The younger Obama was mostly raised in Hawaii and did not
      know his
      > > father well, but his presidential bid has sparked excitement
      in
      > Kenya.
      > > Thousands were drawn to his appearances during his 2006
      visit.
      > > Said Obama said his nephew "has proved to be a beacon of hope
      here
      > and
      > > shown that even in difficult circumstances you can make it to
      the
      > > highest height of achievement with just determination and
      hard
      > work."
      > > If Obama is elected, he would improve relations between
      Africa and
      > > America because he had his roots in Africa, his uncle said.
      > >
      > > Associated Press writer Nedra Pickler contributed to this
      report
      > from
      > > New Hampshire.
      > >
      > > Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
      This
      > > material
      > > may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
      > > Copyright (c) 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures
      > > Deborah J. Shepherd, Ph.D.
      > > Anthropology
      > > Anoka-Ramsey Community College
      > > Coon Rapids Campus
      > > deborah.shepherd@...
      > <mailto:deborah.shepherd%40anokaramsey.edu>
      > > http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
      > <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
      > > http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/sacc
      <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/sacc>
      > > phone number: 763-433-1195
      > >



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