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Open Access Publications from the University of California

‘A long foot crossing mountains’: Forty-three annotated Pumi riddles


In this paper, we present forty-three interlinearized and annotated Pumi riddles. Riddles are a subgenre of poetry, characterized by their syntactic parallelism and use of metaphor. We look at the structural characteristics of riddles and explore their use of metaphor. Riddles appear in a parallel question-answer pair and may be divided into four different sets based on their structure and content: oppositional riddles, locational riddles, person(ified) riddles and action riddles. Metaphors draw from likeness in shape or movement, and to a minor extent from likeness in colour, texture, sound or function. Riddling is a highly endangered art form and this paper aims to document their beauty for posterity.

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