The traditions of oral ritual speech in the Himalayas have a lively existence alongside the written “great” traditions that predominate. However, as Martin Gaenszle shows, the oral traditions are still little known and even less understood. This collection of oral texts from Nepal, Bhutan, and northeast India, rich with translation and interpretation, serves two purposes. First, it presents the texts themselves, not just as fragments, but as coherent performances of ritual speech, varied in their linguistic form. Second, it displays various possible methods of presenting oral ritual texts in written form; no single standard form is yet agreed upon.
In Ritual Speech in the Himalayas, each contributor showcases a unique style of transforming the spoken language and its translation or comments into an editorial format to fit the respective genres and scholarly interests, such as interlinear or sectional translation, morphological glossing, or musical scores.