ERIC Number: ED175262
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Apr
Boasting and Bragging: "Black" and "White." Working Papers in Sociolinguistics, No. 58.
This paper draws from a number of sources, from Muhammad Ali to TV commercials, to demonstrate the quite different conceptions that black and white Americans have of the meaning of boasting and bragging. For blacks, boasting and bragging are two distinct ways of speaking and communication. Boasting is a joking, playful verbal bahavior, not to be taken literally. A good boaster is admired as is a good joke teller; in fact, the verbal behavior involved is very similar. On the other hand, bragging is a serious form of self-aggradizement, quite distinct from playful boasting. For whites, especially Anglo-Saxon whites, both boasting and bragging are to be taken seriously and both are considered to be in bad taste. People who boast and brag are called egotists and "show-offs." It is shown: (1) that white conceptions and interpretations of boasting/bragging and black conceptions and interpretations of boasting/bragging are in conflict, and (2) that there is great potential for misunderstandings in black-white interactions because of this conflict. It is important for individuals in public service roles who interact with both blacks and whites, and especially with both groups simultaneously, to be aware of the differences in black and white communicative behaviors and the potential for conflict and misunderstanding. (Author/AMH)
Descriptors: Black Culture, Black Dialects, Blacks, Cross Cultural Training, Cultural Awareness, Cultural Differences, Cultural Influences, Discourse Analysis, Language Patterns, Language Research, Language Styles, Language Variation, Nonstandard Dialects, North American English, Racial Factors, Sociolinguistics, Speech Communication, Speech Habits
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 211 East 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.