By Sw. Anand Prahlad
A groundbreaking research of proverbs in African-American speech from slave occasions to the current
Read or Download African-American Proverbs in Context (Publications of the American Folklore Society. New Series (Unnumbered).) PDF
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Additional info for African-American Proverbs in Context (Publications of the American Folklore Society. New Series (Unnumbered).)
It is assumed by Norrick that such factors will affect the specific application of the proverb but not the SPI, but it has been demonstrated that speakers outside of a tradition may not have any insight whatsoever into the meaning of a proverb simply given the text: If, however, we are not familiar with the tradition of application, the metaphoric value (and limits) of a proverb may be impossible to determine. A certain Ashanti proverb, for example, goes The okra does not show its seeds through its skin.
Whiting (1952) surveys the diary of an ex-slave, William Johnson of Natchez, who became "one of the most prosperous and respected free Negroes in Natchez" (145). A list of sentences containing proverbs and proverbial sayings is provided with the page numbers from the diary; however, there is no discussion of these. A final essay discusses the frequency of proverbs in blues lyrics (Taft 1994). Context is explored to some extent in this article, as the author considers proverb frequency in a variety of contexts in order to put their occurrence in blues into some perspective.
The focus of the discussion in most cases is documentation that proverbs do exist in these various contexts, and there is a brief overview followed by substantial examples or collections of items. Thus, this work is very. different in nature from what I propose to undertake and cannot be the basis for the development of a model that will facilitate the kind of intensive focus on meanings in which I am most interested. Quite a number of articles have appeared that discuss proverbs in context (Jordan 1982; Gossen 1973; Seitel 1960, 1977; Briggs 1985, 1988), and add to our knowledge of contextual meaning.