I Call You Through Fire: A Pakkado Spell Parallelism

Author: Nirwan (Udayana University)
Speaker: Nirwan
Topic: Linguistic Anthropology
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


The main concern of the research is to elaborate the magic of Pa’issangang Baine ‘knowledge about women’ within ‘Pakkado’ (people who speak I) in Mandar, West Sulawesi, Indonesia. More specifically, it focuses on how this spell through individual ritual context that opposed to ordinary activity is performed by certain actor. This kind of knowledge is categorized as spell and it usually practiced by men, who want to attract beloved women, albeit, it also used by women to gain beloved men. The method used is participant observation. The techniques used are recording and field notes. The source of the utterance is taken from a single informant. The rationale of the research is giving a better understanding of spell within the society who speak I.

Nowadays, this spell is living only within the head of old people. Some people are worried about the dead of this magic language but only a little bit attention for preserving it. The research brings at least two contributions: practice and academic. Practically, it is one way for revitalizing the magic word into written text. Academically, it showed a fascinating language use from semantic and pragmatic point of view.

The writer applies some linguistic tools to analyze the utterances and the activity of performer in producing the words such as poetic form (Jakobson 1960), and indexicality ( Silverstein 1976), deictic field (Hank 2005).

One of the features of this ‘Pakkado’ spell is performed by single actor with the using of parallelism (Fox 1988). Mandar is an ethnic locating in West Sulawesi—in the island of Sulawesi.


Fox, James J, ed. 1988. To speak in pairs: essays on the ritual languages of eastern Indonesia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hanks, William F. 2005. Explorations in the Deictic Field. Current Anthropology Volume 46, Number 2, April. The Wenner Gren Foundation for anthropological Research.
Jakobson, Roman 1960. Closing statement: Linguistics and poetics. In Style in language. T. Sebeok, ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Silverstein, Michael 1976. Shifters, linguistic categories, and cultural descriptions. In Meaning in anthropology. K.H.Basso and H.A. Selby, eds. Pp. 11-55. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
[1] Post graduate student of Linguistic in Udayana University, Bali, Indonesia
[2] Sponsorship
Keywords: spell, deictic, Indexicality, poetic, parallelism, Mandar