This anthropological analysis treats from various viewpoints a common mode of discourse between Greek adults and children characterized as "verbal play" and constituting promues, threats, and fahe stories. A taxonomic refinement for Greek statements of intention is suggested since many utterances function as "statements of affect." The analysis deals with structure and also with social and cultural dimensions. In structural terms, verbal play is an expression of asymmetry of status and inequalities of power, a key explanatory notion being that of "obligation." The social and cultural dimensions of verbal play involve its role in the process of socialization where it inculcates into children a sense of caution and disbelief regarding verbal utterances. Since these verbal deceptions also take place within the family, it is this primary locus of trust and security that initiates children existentially into the world-view of Orthodox Christianity—into phenomenal reality's fallen condition and humanity's consciousness of imperfection.


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pp. 35-56
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