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Anthropological Linguistics

Dream as Deceit, Dream as Truth: The Grammar of Telling Dreams

Author(s): Waud H. Kracke
Source: Anthropological Linguistics, Vol. 51, No. 1 (SPRING 2009), pp. 64-77
Published by: The Trustees of Indiana University on behalf of Anthropological Linguistics
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Dream as Deceit, Dream as Truth: The Grammar of Telling Dreams

Waud H. Kracke
ofIllinoisat Chicago

Abstract. TheKagwahiv (Tupí-Guaraní)

grammatical usedexclusive-
ofdreamshadearlierbeenclaimed tobejusta specialized
marker usedindreamnarrative.Instead,itis arguedthatthisparticleis also
partofa system - specifically,
ofevidentials ofa setofreportative
Thisis supportedbothbytheform oftheparticleandbyexamination ofits

1. Introduction. In a footnoteto The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud

attributesto Sándor Ferenczithe suggestionthat "everytonguehas its own
dreamlanguage"(1900:99n. I).1 Freudwas referring tothefeaturesoflanguage
thatfacilitatethe formation ofdreams:the assonances,homonyms, commonly
used metaphorsand underlying linguisticimages,and all the otherformsof
connection betweenwordsin the spokenand writtenlanguagethatcan be the
basis forassociativelinks.He was nottalkingabout,probablywas notawareof,
thosefarless numerouslanguagesthatpresentan explicitgrammarfordreams.
Kagwahiv,a Tupí-GuaranílanguageoftheBrazilianAmazonBasin,is one ofa
fewlanguagesthatoffer a linguisticformspecifically
fordreaming - a gramma-
ticalformfortherecounting ofdreams.
When I presentedthis materialearlier,in a paper witha different title
(KrackeI988),21 arguedthatthegrammaticalformbywhichKagwahivspeak-
ersmarkthetellingofa dreamwas notan evidential, but a simpletense.I must
now completely reversethat argument,for,in fact,the dream-marking tense
particle perfectly intoa well-definedseries ofevidential tense markers in
Kagwahiv.Thus, as in Kwakiutl and Quechua (Boas 1947:245;Cusihuaman
1976:170-72;Mannheim1987:146),the Kagwahivdream-discourse markeris
likewisean evidential,and places the dreamas a formofindirectknowledge
Kagwahivis a Tupí languagespokenbyvarioussmallgroupsin theUpper
Madeira RiverBasin and Rondôniain Brazil. The Parintintin, wholive along
the east bank ofthe Madeira River,and theirTenharemneighborsspeak a
northerndialectofthe Kagwahivlanguage(Kracke2007:26-27). Theirtradi-
tionalterritoryused to runfromthemouthoftheIpixunasouthto themouthof
theMachado,buttheircurrently demarcatedarea lies to thenorthoftheTrans-
AmazonianHighway,whichruns intoHumaitá,cuttingtheirold territory in


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2009 WaudH. Kracke 65

2. The dream particle ra'ú. Dreaming was importantin traditional

Parintintinlife,closelyassociatedwithshamanism.Dreams wereused to fore-
castthepresenceofgamespeciesto organizetheday's hunt.Theywereused as
an auguryofillnessand death.In timesofwarfare,theywerecalled on to pre-
dictthe outcomeof a war expedition.Dreams were told frequently, and dis-
cussedto determine theirknowledge value, eitheras or
predictions as indicators
ofthe presenceofinvidiousspirits,or ofotherstatesofaffairs.Whentheyare
told- and this is itselfan index of theirimportancein Parintintinlife- the
narrativeofthedreameventis markedin each sentencebya particlera'ú.
Whena Parintintin tellsa dream,the accountis usuallyframedinitiallyby
a statementsuchas dreamedof. . .' (ahayhúji NP orNP ji ahayhú)3and the
ensuingdreamaccountis interspersedwiththe particlera'ú, a grammatical
operatorthatmarksthe narrativeas a dreamaccount.This dreamnarrative
markerregularly occurswhendreamsare toldin Kagwahiv.4It occursgenerally
in everysentenceofthedreamaccount,thoughit maybe omittedin occasional
sentences,conveying a sense ofurgentintensity.It generallyfollowsthe verb
and subjectpronoun, in thesame positionthatwouldotherwise be occupiedbya
past tensemarker. A past tense marker never occurs with
together ra'ú.
The manydreamsrecountedto me by my informant Gabriela,an older
womanoftheMytummoiety,in the courseofmypersonalinterviewswithher
(Kracke1999)provideexcellentexamplesofthisform.One suchexample,which
shetoldme in 1973,is givenin (1).

(1) Mbojájiahayhú. I dreamed ofa snake[mbojd].

oñarora'ú. Itwasangryra'ú.
Oñaró" ji-rehera'ú. Itwasangry atmera'ú.
Orooñaroji-rehe. Itwasangry atme.
Mbojáheihãihu. Thesnakewashuge.
Oroji hoi, ThenI wenton,
oroji ojipe'íarepiagi andI sawanother one.
Hei'yiji repíagira'ú. I sawa lotofthemra'ú.

In thisaccount,twoinitialsentencesmarkedby ra'ú are followedbythreesen-

tenceswithoutthedreamparticle,increasingthepace and intensity to conveya
senseofrisingurgency. Thenthelast sentencecloseswitha finalra'ú,clarifying
thatwe are stillin a dream.
A dreamtold to me in I967 by Coriolano,a youngman of the Kwandú
a littlemorecomplex,but shows
moiety,is presentedin (2). It is syntactically
thesame syntaxofthedreamparticle.

(2) Antonio Pykwéri'gaji ahayhú, I dreamed ofAntonioPykweri.

Uhuga rafú, He camera'ú,
uhuga onï'ïjivera'ú. hecametotalktomera'ú.
Orogaei ra'ú, GabrieVga ei: So hesaidra'ú,Gabrielsaid:
"Tijukáyhuranuhü "Let'skillthebull
jatua'gwyri-pe onthenapeoftheneck
tikutuginehe"[eiga]ra'ú. [or]he'llgoreus"[hesaid]ra'ú.

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66 Anthropological Linguistics 51 no. i

In the openingphrase oftellinga dream,'I dreamed of . . .' (ahayhú ji NP, or

NP ji ahayhú), the noun phrase may referto the manifestcontentofthe dream,
as in (1) and (2). But oftenit refersto the augury ofthe dream- what the dream
predictswill happen. Thus, ifthe dream is manifestlyofpaddling a canoe, the
openingmay be aman ji ahayhú 'I dreamed ofrain*,since a dream ofpaddling a
canoe predictsrain. If the dream is ofa wild party,then the dreamermay say 'I
dreamed of peccary', since a wild party in a dream foresees a herd of peccary
crashingthroughthe jungle.
This frameoftelling dreams appears to be acquired relativelyearly in lan-
guage learning.A child offivein 1973 told me a dream showingbasic masteryof
the dream-discoursemarker,with certain marginal divergences and in a mix-
ture ofKagwahiv and Portuguese. An excerptis given in (3) (Portuguese words
are underlined in the example).

(3) Ni rakwâi- cortou He cutoff-mypenis.

(Mâ 'ngâokutú?) ("Whocutitoff?"I asked.)
Tapy'yntïnokutú. A whitemancutitoff.
Anängaji-pyhy. A ghostgrabbedme.

Porco'íji ahayhú- morreura'ú. I dreamedofa littlepig- itdied,ra'ú.

Porquinhoornano. The pigdies.
Faz. Visasemvoryorquinho. He doesit.The ghosttothepig.
Ji rerohóra'ú. Lá no cemitério. He carriesme off,ra'ú. Theretothecemetery.

From this point,he continuedthe dream in Portuguese,discontinuingthe use of

the dream particle. (For the completedream, see Kracke [2009].)
It is to be noted that in the highlytraumatic opening scene of the dream,
whichpresents a frightening fantasyofcastration,the five-year-oldboy loses the
initialbracketingofthe dream account. He does not begin 'I dreamed of . . .' and
does not have recourse to the dream marker ra'ú. But as soon as he comes to a
calmer,more displaced segment ofthe dream (it is the pig who dies, not he), he
opens that section with the affirmationof dreaming,and immediatelystarts to
insertthe dream particle.He uses the dream particle as long as his account is in
Kagwahiv (even when the verb is in Portuguese), but drops it when he switches
the main language ofhis account to Portuguese.

3. Dream-account markers as evidentials. The particle ra'u is used

exclusivelyto mark the narration of a dream; it is not used as a grammatical
particle forany other function.This usage is fairlyunique; there are very few
other languages that have particles used exclusively fortelling dreams. Gua-
raní, a closely related language ofthe Tupí-Guaraní family,seems to have the
same usage for the particle ra'ú as in Parintintin. Dooley glosses it as "em
sonho" 'in a dream', with no alternativemeanings (1982: 166).5
There are other languages that have dream-narrative markers, such as
Quechua and Quiche Maya, but in both these cases the markershave otheruses

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2009 WaudH. Kracke 67

as well. In Cuzco-CollaoQuechua, accordingto Cusihuaman (1976),6it is a

"reportative" -sqa, thatis used in thefollowing
suffix, cases:7
(1) Historicorprehistoric
(2) Scenesoflegends,fablesorstories....
(3) Actsthatoccurredbeforethespeakerhadreachedtheageofreason
(4) Actionsperformedbythespeaker whileinan unconscious
orina dream....
(5) Eventsthattookplacewithout thepersonalparticipation
knowsofthemonlythrough otherpeopleorfrom othersourcesofinformation
- phenomena
(6) Newsituations thatthespeakerhas justfoundoutabout....
BruceMannheimsumsit up as "a past formused fornarratedeventsto which
thespeakercannotattest"(1987:146),includingdreamsand myths.
In Quiche(Tedlock1987:120-22,131), dreamsare toldwiththe quotative
formkacha' 'he/shesaid'. This formis used also to tell storiesand in mythic
narratives,as in Quechua.However,as BarbaraTedlockpointedoutin response
to an earlierversionofthisarticle,it is used moregenerally
to markstatements
whose authorityis absent or not manifested.When a divinerexperiencesa
diagnostic muscletwitch,he says kacha' 'thebloodspeaks'.Thus,in Quiche,the
use ofthis "quotative"to recounta dreammayimplyan authorityoutsidethe
consciousselfofthe dreamer,but notnecessarilya lesserdegreeofveritudeor
Likewise,whenParintintin telltheirdreamsin Portuguese, theyoftenmark
theirdreamaccountsby a quotative,diz que, or disse que (lit.,'[indeterminate
thirdperson]says that' or 'said that'). This Portuguesephrase is used to
indicatethatthe sourceforthe statementto be made is an indirectone, as in
passingon gossip,forwhichthesame formis used.
Thisformoftellingdreamswiththequotativeis commonin thePortuguese
spokenin thenortheastofBrazil,and in AmazonianBrazil,thoughnotknown
in the south. When discussingthe Parintintindream particle with Aryon
Rodrigues'slinguisticsclass in Campinas,São Paulo, in I983, 1 mentionedthis
use ofthe quotativeto markthetellingofa dreamin Portuguese.Everyonein
theclass was familiarwiththeuse ofdiz que or disseque to pass on gossip;but
mostofthestudents, fromSão Paulo orothersouthernstates,deniedfamiliarity
withtheuse ofdiz que to tell a dream.Two studentsfromnortheastern states,
however,recognizedit immediately.
In variouslanguagesthereexistsa groupofgrammatical formsthatindicate
the epistemological status ofinformation givenby speaker- whethera fact
thathe or she assertsis knownfromhis or her directobservationor personal
knowledge, is heardfromothersordeductedfromevidence,oris learnedin some
otherway.Such forms, firstnotedin KwakiutlbyFranz Boas (1911: 443, 496),
weredesignatedby RomanJakobsonas "evidentials"(Jakobson1990:392;see
Aikhenvald2004); and theycan be differentiated from"moods,"by whichthe

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68 AnthropologicalLinguistics 51 no. i

speakercalls intoquestionthetruthoftheproposition (Jacobsen1986:3).8Often

one ofthe sourcesofinformation thus markedis the dream.Most often,the
dreamis includedin a broadercategoryofindirectwaysofknowing,as in the
case ofthesuffix-sqa in Quechua,and oftheQuichequotativekacha'.The case
ofKwakiutl,describedeightyyearsago byFranz Boas, is the onlyone I know
besides Kagwahivand Guarani in whichdreamnarrativeis markedwitha
particleused exclusivelytomarkdreams.
In his sketchofKwakiutlgrammarin the HandbookofAmericanIndian
Languages (1911:443,496), Boas reporteda suffix-Eng-a affixedto verbsto
indicatethatthe actionofthe verboccursin a dream.He groupedthis suffix
withthreeothersto make a categoryof"suffixes. . . expressingthe sourceof
subjectiveknowledge"(1911:443) or "sourceofinformation" (1911:496, 1947:
245)- a category which was later labeled "evidentials"(Jakobson1990:392;
Jacobsen1986).9Ifspeakingofa sickman,Boas observesin theintroduction to
the Handbook,a Kwakiutlspeaker,"in case he had not seen the sick man
himself,wouldhaveto expresswhetherhe knowsbyhearsayorbyevidencethat
thepersonis sick,orwhetherhe has dreamedit [-Eng-a]"(1911:43).10

4. The Kagwahiv language: the past tenses and evidentials. In my1988

paper on the Parintintindreamform,I arguedthat ra'ú was simplya tense
markercontrasting withothertensemarkersin Kagwahiv.I have sincerecog-
nized- alertedto it by Helga Weiss's excellentunpublishedreporton Kayabi
tenses(Weiss 1986),whichI discoveredin SummerInstituteofLinguisticfiles
in Brasilia in I989- thatthepast tensemarkersin Kagwahiv,likethecognate
formsin Kayabi,are organizedon thebasis ofan evidentialcontrast,and that
the Kagwahiv dream markerra'ú fitsneatly into the series of past tenses
markingindirectly knownevents.
A littlecontexton the structureofthe Kagwahivlanguageis neededhere.
Like otherTupí languages,Kagwahivhas a relativelysimpleverbmorphology,
withinflection onlyforperson.Tense- past tense,at least- is indicatedby an
adverbialparticlethatfollowsthe verbit modifies.Thereis an arrayofthese
adverbialparticleswithspecificmeanings,suchas recentpast,longpast,etc.
The tense-marking particlesfallintotwoseries,distinguished
and in meaning.One seriesincludesra'é 'recentpast', and raka'é long past'.
(Anothertense marker,rimba'é,is used in mythforremotepast.) The other
includesko 'recentpast', and kakó'longpast'. This latterseries,ko and kakó,
refersto eventsthatthe speakerhas witnessedor experiencedfirsthand. The
firstseries,on the otherhand- ra'é, raka'é- is appliedto eventsthatwerenot
witnessedbythespeaker,butwhichhe or she knowsfroma thirdparty.This is
the formgenerallyused in recountingmyths,usuallywithone ofthe distant
past markers,raka'é or rimba'é,oftenprecededby ymyä,'long ago' and the
dubitative po, i.e.,. . . ymyàporaka'é.

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2009 Waud H. Kracke 69

Example (4) is an excerpt fromthe mythofMbahira creatinghis daughter,

told to me in November I966 by João Messias (Kuahã) (who had told mythsto
Nunes Pereira in the 1920s). It illustrates well the compound indirect-know-
ledge markers ofpast tense used in tellingmyths.

(4) Mbahirapo rimba'é Bahira,maybe,a longtimeago,

imondévipoga raka 'é, plunkedhis igapongain thewater
to,to,tõ. "plunk,plunk,plunk."
Akarahünuhüaturi,mbóru The darkacará camealong,swimming.
Ga jukávolMbahiramombóri He killedit!Bahirathrewit,
po rimba'é gwakykwéri. maybe,longago,behindhim.
Kiropo hènõiMbahiraraka 9é NowmaybeBahiralongago heard
api! Toroky'wú,
"Toroky'wú, api" "Letme groomyou,Papa!"
Ojirowá,mõpõpõ. He turnedaround,and itfell.

More simply,these indirectknowledge terms are frequentlyused to report

gossip heard, or to pass on any informationthat one learned from another
person rather than fromfirsthandexperience. Clearly, the particle ra'ú used
in telling a dream fits into the phonetic pattern established by the series of
reportativepast tenses- ra'é, raka'é, the tense particles used forunwitnessed
events known only indirectlyby hearsay or inference.The use of the simple
quotative diz que when dreams are told in Portuguese is even more clearly
reportative,since it is also a formused by Amazonian Brazilians to pass on
gossip or to tell a tall story.
For both the Kagwahiv and Portuguese dream-discoursemarkers,then,the
dreamed event is presentedas somethingone knows onlyfromexternalauthori-
ty,not throughone's own directexperience.
But why,in Parintintinand so many otherlanguages that have markers for
dream narrative, is the dream narrative so often grouped with narratives of
events not witnessed by the narrator? In our way of thinkingabout dreams, it
would seem that dreams are par excellence events witnessed by the person
tellingthem. Indeed, by its nature, a dream is witnessed onlyby the person who
dreamed it. A fewlanguages- includingJarawara, an Arawá language in South-
ern Amazonia- follow our intuition, and treat dream accounts as reports of
somethingdirectlyobserved"since theyare supposed to be 'seen'" by the dream-
er (Aikhenwald 2OO4:345).n But in most ofthe languages cited in Aikhenvald's
book that mark dream accounts evidentially,the great majoritycode them as
indirectknowledge ("reported"or "nonfirsthand"),like informationheard from
others.These include several Caucasian languages, such as Abkhaz and Svan;
Modern Eastern Armenian; Macedonian; Yukaghir in Siberia; and Cree, Mon-
tagnais, and Naskapi among Algonquian languages in NorthAmerica (2004:158,
222, 345-46, 381). Among Amazonian languages, Shipibo-Konibo speakers tell
dreams in the reportedevidential, "since what one experienced in a dream is

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70 AnthropologicalLinguistics 51 no. i

notpartofreality"(2004:346,38O);Tariana and Tucanononshamanstelltheir

dreamsin thenonvisual,"sincetheybelongto an unreal,imaginary world,"but
"propheticdreams ofshamans are cast in visual since
evidential," theyare "part
In Kagwahiv,theparticlera'ú thatmarksa dreamaccountis notidentical
withthe reportativepast tense markersra'é and raka'é,but it fitsphonolo-
gicallyintoa sequencewiththem,contrasting withthefirsthand past tensesko
and kakó.How is it that accountsofdreamsare assimilatedin so manylan-
guages to the categoryofaffirmations whose authoritylies in someoneother
Ofcourse,eventhoughthequestionis relatedto a trendthatinvolvesmany
differentlanguageswithsystemsofevidentials,it mustfirstbe answeredfor
each languageon itsownterms.

5. Connotations of the dream marker. Beforeaddressingthisquestion,I

wantto raise a secondone:just what is the fullmeaningofthe particlera'ú?
What are its connotations? And what does it suggestforParintintinbeliefs
Thereare threewaysto approachthisdoublequestion.One, whichI have
alreadyutilized,is to look at its positionalmeaning:what syntacticslot does
it occupy,and whatpartdoesitplayin thesystemofcontrastsamongthealter-
nativewordsthatcan occupythatslot?Secondly,we can lookat thatslippery
category ofsynonyms: whatwordsdoesit alternatewith,in thesame slot,with-
out changingthe meaning(verymuch)?Third,one maylookat close cognates
withinthesame language;and,fourth, onemaylookat theword'setymology, or
thecognatewordsin other,closelyrelatedlanguages.
The positionalmeaningofra'ú we have alreadyexamined;thatis,thebasis
on whichwe have assigneditthefunction ofa tense-marker and,withinthepast
tenses,the functionofan evidentialmarkingthe past eventas one that was
dreamedand notdirectlyexperiencedin wakingor heardaboutfromsomeone
else. It is, however,on thebasis ofits formthatI deemit closerto theparticles
thatmarkheard-abouteventsthanto thosethatmarkeventsdirectlyexperi-
Whenwe lookforsynonyms - wordsalternating withit thatat least approx-
imatelypossess the same meaning - we find one. Some speakersuse the term
rameñúmi, an adverboftimeotherwisemeaning'temporarily', in substitution
forra'ú whentheyare recountingdreams.I considerit a case ofalternation
ratherthan ofcontrastbecause the use ofone or the otherseemsto be deter-
minedby the speakerratherthanby a contrastin meaning;certainspeakers
regularlyuse rameñúmi,othersra'ú, when recountinga dream,in similar
distribution. One ofthosewhouses rameñúmiregularlyis Gabriela'sdaughter
Marielena.An excerptofa dreamfromthefirstinterview I had withherin 1973
is presentedin (5).

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2009 Waud H. Kracke 71

(5) Kirámeji Mundico'ga rayhúvino. YesterdayI dreamedofMundico.

Oroji ga rayhúvi, So, I dreamedofhim,
Oroimoendytata'íypytúnimo, thenI lita littlefire,
Orojipe'gwówo. and thenhe wentaway.
Oroga ei rameñumiPaolo'ga jive So thenPaulo said tome temporarily.
"Ehóerúa lamparina!" "Gobringthelantern!"
Paolo'ga rameñumieijive Paulo temporarily said tome
"Ehóerúa lamparinaokáripe" "Gobringthelanternintothebedroom!
Oroji hoirameñumi herda So I wenttemporarily to getthelantern,
. . . añangajivé rameñumi! Therewas a ghostafterme!
Oroiñániogwówoikia rameñumi. So I ran awayand wentinsidetemporarily.
"Añang!"ejigapé rameñumi. "Aghost!"I said to himtemporarily.
Añang!"e ji gapé rameñumi. "Aghost!" I said tohimtemporarily.

Marielena uses rameñumi in this way through all of the dreams that she
told me. I have rarelyheard the same speaker use the two terms in alternation
in tellinghis or her dreams; the use ofone or the other seems to be a preference
of the speaker rather than a marking of any contrast in meaning. In one
instance,Marielena's motherGabriela used the term rameñumiin describingto
me how, in her childhood,her motherhad tried to reassure her that the night-
mare that had just terrifiedher was a transient event.12Her motherused the
term to characterize her daughter's nightmare image as evanescent and her
daughterreplied,insistingon her feelingthat the image was real, but accepting
that it was transitory.It was not used by either as a substitute forra'ú. Still,
that bringsout the implicationofthe substitutionof rameñumi'temporarily'for
ra'ú as a marker of the dream discourse. It emphasizes the evanescence of
dreaming,the transientnature ofthe dream.
Let us look at the cognates of ra'ú in Kagwahiv. There is one principal close
cognate:the noun ra'úv,13a noun ofcomplexmeaning which includes references
to dream-imagesamong its significata.This noun basically means a representa-
tion ofsomething.A pictureof a house, ongá, can be referredto as ongá ra'úva.
If a child picks up a stick and pretends in play that it is an arrow, u'yva, the
stick is u'yva ra'úva. In talking about a dream, the term is used forthe dream
image of something; if you dream of a fish,pirá, the image of the fish in your
dream ispira ra'úva.
But the term also has other referentsthat intrude into a semantic domain
signifyingsomethinglike 'soul' or 'spirit' or 'lifeforce,center offeeling'. In food
taboos (Kracke 1990), when someone eats a forbidden species, the offended
animal in certain cases (paca, piranha) retaliates by "biting the liver" of the
offender(or ofhis or her child), or "bitinghis or her ra'úv" (hu'u'u ahe ra'úva).
In the case of deer, it "stamps on the ra'úv" (opyvondyahe ra'úva). The ghost,
añáng, is oftenreferredto by the term ha'uvagwéra 'the formerra'úv . A dying
person's ra'úv is said to go out to visit his or her close relatives, appearing to
them in their dreams to announce its departure.

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72 Anthropological Linguistics 51 no. i

6. Etymological comparisons. When we turnto otherlanguages ofthe Tupí-

Guaraní family,there is only one in which a cognate particle is attested with
just the same meaning as in Kagwahiv, a grammatical marker of dreams. This
is in Mbüá Guaraní (Dooley 1982:166). Withinthe contextofthe Tupí-Guaraní
family,Mbüá is rather distant fromKagwahiv, which suggests that there must
be other intermediatelanguages in which ra'u or a variant of it is so used, but
these are not attested in the literature.14
In other Tupí-Guaraní languages, we find a number of cognates, with
diverse significata,clustering around a set of meanings that illuminate in an
interestingway the concept of dreaming in these languages. The meaning of
'soul' or 'ghost' is prominentamong them. In old Guarani,15as in Kagwahiv,
raugue ("formerrau," a synonymouscognate ofKagwahiv ha'uvagwera") means
'ghost', as also does tau (Ruiz de Montoya I876 [1639] :338, 359). But many
cognates of Kagwahiv ra'u refer to divination: hau in old Guaraní means
'divination, prognostication,outcome [sucesso]', or "coger al espirito atraer la
volontad del ausente" ('to seize the spirit to attract the desire of someone
absent'). The verb ahau means 'to divine', and the participle hauvõ means
'to augur', or an 'augury ofsomething'.In present-dayGuaraní, the verb rauvõ
is still glossed "Augurar. Pressentir.Predizer", 'to augur, have a premonition,
foretell'(Sampaio 1986:141)- another aspect ofbeliefs associated with dreams
in Parintintin(Kracke 1979:130-32, 1999:262-64).
And finally,the term,used as a suffix,indicates either a wish, or deceptive-
ness. Thus, in old Guaraní, accordingto Ruiz de Montoya(I876 [1639]:74), sol is
a desiderative,but au signifies'burla [jestingdeception,pullingthe leg], fiction,
fantastic': aba au 'a fake man' {hombrede burla); Aha au 'he pretended to go'
(iba de burla). The adverb rail (which he translates as 'doubt' and derives from
ra 'already' and the desiderative au) can indicate either a wish ("Eyapó rail, 'do
it rightaway' [expressinga desire that the other do it]") or deception: "This ra
withthe particleail, 'in pretense,'puts what is said or done in doubt:Oho rail yê,
'they say that he went,but don't believe it'" (I876 [1639] :338).
The various clusters of meaning that we find attached to cognates of ra'u
in otherTupí-Guaraní languages- 'ghost', 'augury', desiderative,and markerof
falsehood- all have some referenceto aspects of Kagwahiv concepts of what
dreamingis. I have noted that certain dreams are interpretedas the appearance
ofthe soul of a dyingperson to announce his or her impendingdeath to a close
relative. More generally,however, dreams are regarded as auguries of future
events or states. These auguries are not literal visions of the future;they are
messages about the futurethat are evidentonlyto those who have masteredthe
elaborate code in which dreams are couched. Dreams are not depictions,but, as
suggested by the cognate noun in Kagwahiv, representationsofwhat is to come
(Kracke 1979:130-32, 1999).

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2009 WaudH. Kracke 73

But, despitetheseways in whichdreamsmayprovideimportantinforma-

tionaboutthefuture, dreamsare stillregardedin a senseas deceptive.Conclud-
ingthe accountofa dream,the dreamerwouldoftenremark:"I thoughtit was
so-and-so;-oroähä 'in theend,itwas not',"itwas just a dream;theyagreewith
Thus, the various senses of ra'ú reflectedin its cognatesin otherTupí-
Guaranílanguagesform,as it were,a synopsisofthemaintenetsofParintintin
beliefsaboutdreams:dreamsare predictions or auguriesofthefuture;dreams
may be a way perceiving spiritworld,especiallyghosts;and dreamsare
of the

7. Conclusion. Finally,let us returnto the questionraised earlier:whyin

Parintintin, and in so manyotherlanguageswhichhave special grammatical
markersfordreamaccounts,are descriptions ofdreamsseen as indirectknow-
ledge?Why are accounts ofdreams grouped with accountsofeventswhichare
heard about froma thirdperson,ratherthan witheventswitnessedby the
Dreams are notwhattheyseem to be. In a literalsense,theyhave all the
appearanceofa real, wakingperception, but theyare not perceptionsofsub-
stantialreality.One wakesfromthem,and theyare notthere:-oro âhâ. Atthe
same time,theydo conveysometruth,butthetruthis notwhatis presented.It
is whatthedreamcan tella personwhois versedin thecodeofdreamsaboutthe
The dreamdoesnotpresentthetruth,butrepresentsit,througha language
to be understoodby the dreamer.In this sense, then,the dreamis not an ex-
perience,it is a message,a messagefroman unknownsource.The knowledgein
a dreamis receivedas a communication frombeyond.Hence,it cannotbe coded
as personalexperience.
Freud's footnotes generatefieldsofresearchand thought.In anotherfoot-
note to Interpretation ofDreams,in chapter7, Freud asks: "To whomis the
dreama wishfulfillment?" (1900:580 n. 1). It is clearlynotto the personwho
wakesfromthe dreamand is puzzledbyit,or distressedbyit. It is, he reflects,
anotherpersonwithinus whoconstructs the dream."A dreamerin his relation
to his dream-wishes can onlybe comparedto an amalgamationoftwoseparate
peoplewhoare boundin a strongcommunality." This footnote
Lacan's conceptof"theex-centric subject,"the "unknown subject"ofouruncon-
scious inner life(Lacan 1988:43).
Andit also providesus withan answerto our question,witha reasonwhy
languagesthatmarkdreamaccountsmarkthe dreamas indirectly accessed.
The dream comes fromanotherspace, anotherscene. It is a message from
in ourdreams"(Lacan 1988:135).

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74 Anthropological Linguistics 51 no. l

Acknowledgments. This articleis based on a paperpresentedin the symposium on
"Re-Presentation ofDreams"organizedbyLaura Grahamat theNinetieth AnnualMeet-
ingoftheAmericanAnthropological Association, Chicago,22 November1991.Revisions
weremadein 2005 and 2009.
Transcription. In thetranscription ofKagwahivused in thisarticle,y is a highback
unrounded vowel,likeRussian¿1; is glottalstop;r is flapped;e is as in Englishpet;o is
likethea in Englishcall] ñ is a palatalizedn,as in Spanish.
1. Actually, I do notfindtheremarkin theEnglishtranslationoftheFerencziwork
referred to (Ferenczi1950),thoughthedreamsoftheHungarianpatientsthatFerenczi
interpretsin that articleofferample materialto documentsuch an assertion.In a
footnote to the article,however,thetranslator,ErnestJones,does make the comment
that the sense of one dreamin Hungarian"dependson a play on wordsthat is not
translatedbytheauthor"(Ferenczi1950:121n. 1).
2. The titleofmy I988 paper was borrowedfromDescartesvia O. K. Bouwsma
(1965),whotookthetitleforhis articleon theepistemology ofdreaming fromDescartes's
famousexclamation, "I have oftin sleepbeendeceived.. . ."
3. The abbreviation NP standsfor"nounphrase."It mayrefereithertothemanifest
contentofthedream,orto thedream'saugury - whatthecontentofthedreampredicts.
4. Dreamstoldwithcode-switching, witha considerableadmixtureofPortuguese,
maystillutilizethera'u formin portions toldin Kagwahiv,ormaydispensewithit ifthe
overallstructure becomesmorePortuguese.
5. He adds the exampleokyjera'u 'dreamedofbeingafraid',and cross-references
[r]exara'u 'to dreamof. . .' (1982:57),literally,'tosee ... in a dream'.
6. This is the first"linguistically informedreferencegrammarof Cuzco-Collao"
(Mannheim1991:117).In Wanka(CentralPeruvian)Quechua,Aikhenvaldreports,cit-
ingFloyd(1999),that"thedirectevidentialis used in recounting dreams,as iftheywere
partof'everydayexperienced reality'"(Aikhenvald2004:345).
7. The Spanishoriginalofthispassage is as follows:
(1) Hechoshistóricos o prehistóricos ....
(2) Escenas de leyendas,fábulaso cuentos....
(3) Actosocorridos antesde que el hablantetengauso de razón....
(4) Acciónque realizael hablantemientrasse encuentraen un estadoinconsciente,
ya de borracho, ya en sueños
(5) Hechos que transcurrieronsin que haya participado per sonalmenteel
hablante;éste sabe de ellossolamenteporintermediario de otraspersonaso de
otrasfuentesde información ....
(6) Situacionesnuevas,fenómenos que el hablanteacaba de descubrir....
8. Schlichter (1986:47,49, 51) also opposesevidentialsto markersofdoubt("dubita-
tive") in her discussionofevidentialsin Wintu.Jacobsenalso notes Swadesh's 1939
intermediary rolein introducing theterm"evidential" bygrouping theNootka"quotative
and inferential togetheras 'modesofevidence'"(1986:4).
9. JakobsoncitesBoas as holdingup Kwakiutlevidentialsas an exampleofepis-
temologicalaccuracy:"In his last publishedlinguisticstudy'Language and Culture'
(1942),Boas wittilyremarkedthatwe wouldread our newspaperswithmuchgreater
satisfaction if,in the same way as Kwakiutl,our language,too,wouldcompelthemto
statewhethertheirreportswerebased on self-experience, on inference,oron hearsay,or
thereporter had dreamedit" (Jakobson1944*192).In fact,Boas thereonlyrecommends
distinguishing"whethertheir reportsare based on self-experience,inference,or
hearsay"(1942:182);he doesnotmentiondreamingas a sourceofjournalistic knowledge.

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2009 Waud H. Kracke 75

10. The respectiveKwakiutlreportativesuffixis -el(a) 'it is said'. Anotherofthe

evidentialsuffixes is -Emsku'as I toldyoubefore*(Boas 1911:496).
11. Dixon givesonlythe laconicstatementthat "anythingthe speakerwitnessed
(in real lifeor in a dream)will be describedby e," the "eyewitness"form(2003:168).
Aikhenvald' s elaborationis consistentwiththe criteriagivenin Dixon forJarawara
evidentials, and byDixonelsewhere(2004:203-7),althoughhe doesnotmentiondreams
in thelatterpassage. Aikhenvald(2004:345)citesseveralotherlanguagesthatclassify
dreamsas directvisualevidentials becausetheyare seen,including theEasternTucano-
an languagesTuyukaand Tatuyo."In Turkiclanguages,"she adds, "dreamsare never
cast in nonfirsthand evidential"(2004:345).
12. When Gabriela woke froma nightmare,her motherreassuredher Avi âhâ
rameñúmimbatéra'buttherewas nothingthereat thatmoment'.But Gabrielainsisted
Avité!jypívuhurameñúmi'upa,Hi! Mbatérajypívuhurameñúmi 'It was too!It was dark
temporarily, ee! Thereweredarkthingstemporarily' - insistingon thedream'sreality,
butacknowledging it as an evanescentevent.
13. Depending parton phoneticcontextand prosody,
in it maybe pronounced either
as in theSpanishpronunciation
[ra'u]or [ra'ußa]([ß] representsa bilabialfricative, ofv
orintervocalic ò).
14. In Bouchard'sTembé-Portuguese dictionary(1978),he definessa'u as 'to imag-
ine or suppose',and the verbsuffixaub as 'to dream,imagine,conjecture,suppose,
conceiveorguess,predict'.In thenextsentence,he adds onemoredefinition: adivinhar,
whichmeans'to guess' in Portuguese,butit can also mean'to divine'(see below).
15. "Old" Guaraní (PortugueseGuaraní Antigo)is the Guaraní spoken in the
sixteenthand seventeenthcenturies,documentedin the reportsofearlymissionaries
and travelerssuch as Padre Ruiz de Montoya.I am indebtedto AryonRodriguesfor
accessto his libraryofsourceson old Guaraníand oldTupinambáand forputtingat my
disposalhis knowledge ofTupí languages,whichmadethispartoftheresearchpossible.
I also owehimthanksforhis guidancein mystudyofKagwahiv,startingwithmyfirst
efforts at theMuseuNacionalin 1966-68.

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