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African-American Proverbs in Context

Sw. Anand Prahlad

Publication Year: 1996

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix-xi

In many ways, it seems that I have been writing this book all of my life. I was born and raised in rural Virginia, surrounded by people who cast the world in vibrant and poetic colors. I grew up on a former plantation, in a community of African-Americans descended from slaves who had toiled...

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pp. xiii-xiv

Because I have been involved with this study for so long, there are many people to thank. First I would like to acknowledge those who have been mentors and sources of inspiration, and who have helped me to understand the aesthetics of the worlds of scholarship and academia: Murry DePillars...

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1. Toward a Contextual Theory

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pp. 3-34

This study will examine the functions and meanings of proverbs spoken by African-American speakers in context, beginning with the earliest historical period in which there are substantial records available and ending with present-day examples. One objective is the documenting of some of the...

Part One: 1930s–1960s

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2. Proverbial Speech among the Ex-enslaved: Speech Events with European-Americans

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pp. 37-76

Locating examples of proverbs used in context during the period of slavery is a nearly impossible task. Several sources give indications of proverbial meanings and functions but also pose substantial problems. First, there are the instances of proverbial speech in literary works by European...

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3. Proverbs in Blues Lyrics: Creativity and Innovation

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pp. 77-118

Texts that illustrate the use of proverbs in context are almost as difficult to locate for the decades following the Federal Works Projects as they are for the years before the 19205 and 19305. In this regard we are fortunate to have texts and recordings of blues music that contain numerous genres...

Part Two: Contemporary Speech Acts

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4. Proverb Masters and Symbolic Meaning

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pp. 121-164

The contexts of the proverbs we will look at in the next two chapters are significantly different from those in the previous ones. In all cases, the items considered here are used by African-Americans speaking to other African- Americans and are representative of the ways in which these proverbs...

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5. Proverb Speech Acts among Peers

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pp. 165-194

In the last chapter, we discussed the use of proverbs by adults to children and the importance of symbolic meaning. This chapter will focus on speech events involving peers, which tend to have very different kinds of dynamics. As Norrick states, one of the functions of proverbs is to put the speaker in...


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pp. 195-260


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pp. 261-265


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pp. 267-285


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pp. 287-292

E-ISBN-13: 9781604737691
E-ISBN-10: 0878058907
Print-ISBN-13: 9780878058907

Publication Year: 1996