Spinning a yarn: landscape, memory and discourse structure in Quechua narratives (2002)

Author(s): Howard R

  • : Spinning a yarn

Abstract: The chapter asks whether a study of the cognitive and discursive principles at work in the telling of oral traditional stories in Quechua might contribute insights into how the encoding and decoding of messages in the Inca quipu (knot string records) might have operated. It discusses the relationship between memory, the Andean landscape, and discourse structures in Quechua narrative, and offers a reasoned speculation as to possible links between the structure of narrative, the shape of the Andean landscape, and the encoding of information in the quipu.

Notes: The book is the outgrowth of a round table held at Dumbarton Oaks (Washington, D.C.) in 1997 at which Howard was an invited contributor.

  • Short Title: Spinning a yarn
  • Book Title: Narrative Threads: Accounting and Recounting in Andean Khipu
  • Pages: 26-49
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication type: Book chapter
  • Bibliographic status: Published

Keywords: Quechua narrative; discourse structure; quipu; Andes; theory of memory


Professor Rosaleen Howard
Chair of Hispanic Studies