By Sw. Anand Prahlad

A groundbreaking examine of proverbs in African-American speech from slave occasions to the current

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Additional resources for African-American Proverbs in Context (Publications of the American Folklore Society. New Series (Unnumbered).)

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Proverb Speech Acts among Peers 165 Appendix 195 Notes 261 References 267 Index 287 Page ix PREFACE 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 there; the Big House still stood at the center of the several hundred acres of land, with the descendants of the slave owners coming and going in automobiles rather than in the horse and carriage of old.

They are thus of more significance as historical data or in studies of textual features of African-American speech than as anything else. While Page 7 a few researchers have attempted to utilize these collections in the interest of determining the functions and meanings of items in slave culture, such efforts must be viewed with skepticism. Invariably they lead to grouping of proverbs under thematic headings and are based on the same assumptions as those noted in studies of proverbs as reflections of national characterthe approach that has been taken in most essays on African-American proverbial speech.

Arora mentored and guided my research in addressing these concerns. If being at Berkeley was an introduction to cultural isolation, though, attending U. C. L. A. was an advanced course. So upon completion of my course work, I decided to move back to Oakland in order to locate informants from whom to collect. The collection process was long and arduous because of my insistence on actual speech events rather than hypothetically constructed contexts gathered in interviews. During the next five years, I explored every context imaginable, including bars, clubs, churches, street corners, basketball courts, PTA meetings, bingo games, card games, public buses, and retirement homes, in hopes of overhearing proverbs being used.

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