How an Andean “Writing Without Words” Works1

  title={How an Andean “Writing Without Words” Works1},
  author={Frank L. Salomon},
  journal={Current Anthropology},
  pages={1 - 27}
  • F. Salomon
  • Published 1 February 2001
  • Linguistics
  • Current Anthropology
Recent writings on khipus (Andean knottedcord records) invoke writing without words, a nearsynonym of Gelbs semasiography, to argue that some American media refer directly to cultural things without functioning as a secondary code for speech. Sampson suggests that in principle such a system could constitute a nonverbal parallel language. However, no ethnography actually shows whether Andean codes do so, much less reconstructs lost ones. This study concerns a Peruvian village which inscribes its… 
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