By Sw. Anand Prahlad
A groundbreaking learn of proverbs in African-American speech from slave occasions to the current
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Extra info for African-American Proverbs in Context (Publications of the American Folklore Society. New Series (Unnumbered).)
The importance of this perspective to the study of proverbs is that it advances the discussion beyond the cultural and social level to include the individual and psychological. It also moves away from the focus on general kinds of situations to the specific and particular and beyond the concept of folklore as items toward a concept of folklore as communicative process. As previously mentioned, four essays on African-American proverbial speech are related to the ethnographic or contextual model: "Towards an Ethnography of Afroamerican Proverbial Usage" (Daniel 1973), "Old Time Negro Proverbs" (Brewer 1933), "Getting the Butter From the Duck" (Folly 1982), and "The Poetry of African-American Proverb Usage: A Speech Act Analysis" (Folly 1991).
The analysis throughout my work is based on the assumption that an understanding of a given folkloric speech event relies upon the study of the entire situation in which that event occurs. Of utmost importance is the reconceptualization of what comprises folklore that emerged out of the contextual and performance-oriented approaches. As Ben-Amos argues, ''In its cultural context, folklore is not an aggregate of things but a processa communicative process, to be exact" (1972: 9). It should be stated that there are many areas of inquiry that have not been extensively addressed in the contextual study of proverbsfor example, does the use of proverbs always constitute a performance?
An SPI gathered from collected texts is problematic, however, for what would seem obvious reasons. First, the interpreter of the proverb brings to it a specific set of sociocultural and experiential filters with which to engage in the process of interpretation. 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.
African-American Proverbs in Context (Publications of the American Folklore Society. New Series (Unnumbered).) by Sw. Anand Prahlad