Evans-Pritchard, E. E. (Edward Evan), 1902-1973. SANZA, a characteristic feature of Zande language and thought

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Publication Information


Title: SANZA, a characteristic feature of Zande language and thought

Published in: Essays in social anthropology

Published By: Essays in social anthropology London: Faber and Faber, 1962. 204-228 p.

By line: E. E. Evans-Pritchard

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 1999. Computer File

Culture: Azande (FO07)

Subjects: Vocabulary (192); Sociolinguistics (195); Semantics (196); Gestures and signs (201); Literature (538); Literary texts (539);

Abstract: Enlarging upon the findings from his book “Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic Among the Azande,” Evans-Pritchard elucidates in some depth the semantic and social significance of a speech pattern correlating with those interpersonal relationships where latent hostility, suspicion, or distrust are built-in. Whenever there is potential strain or conflict between kin and non-kin, conversational patterns may often fall into the SANZA category. SANZA is a circumlocutory form of speech or action in which words and gestures have hidden meanings different in quality from their manifest meanings. Individuals will thus conceal their malicious, derisive, contemptuous intent toward others by speaking with sarcasm, irony, innuendo, or in a joking or allegorical style. To the listener the speech appears emotionally neutral, but to the speaker it is a compensatory release or outlet for his anger or ill-will toward someone. SANZA thought, which is seen even in proverbs, folk myths, a humor, etc. relates closely to the witchcraft theme in Zande philosophy; and both patterns, according the author, may derive from the sharply authoritarian or hierarchical nature of Azande social structure which limits free or open expression of emotions toward others.

Document Number: 59

Document ID: fo07-059

Document Type: essay

Language: English


Because of the complexity and varied connotations and uses of the concept of SANZA, it was not possible to index the relevant passages for a single OCM category, or even a pair of categories. Category 195 was selected as the predominant category, but categories 192, 196, 201, 538, or 539 are also used depending on the context.

Field Date: 1926-1930

Evaluation: Social Anthropologist-4,5

Analyst: Gilbert Winer; Robert O. Lagacé; 1968-1969

Coverage Date: not specified

Coverage Place: Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Central African Republic

LCSH: Zande (African people)


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