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To Be in a Relation: Ancestors' or the Polysemy of the Minangyan (Hanundo) Term 'apu'

Elisabeth Luquin

Date of publication:

June 30, 2006

This article deals with the polysemy of the term 'iipu used by the Mangyan Patag of the Philippines, Minangyan language speakers. The anthropologists of the region usually translate the term 'iipu as 'owner', 'master', and sometimes 'spirit possessor', 'leader'. They also define it as 'ascending kin (GEN-5, GEN-6, and GEN-7)' and stress the notions of property and ownership. And yet the problematic term 'iipu signifies more than a simple ownership relation. I will show in this article that these glosses are not entirely satisfactory. Rather than 'master' or 'owner', translations which seem to impoverish the polysemic senses, I will argue - giving some concrete examples - that the polysemy of the term 'iipu appears to imply more fundamental meanings. It turns out that we need to take into account that 'iipu means 'relation: ancestor', which organizes the relations between the living and the dead.

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