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ERIC Number: ED250942
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
The Ritual "Play of the Congos" of North-Central Panama: Its Sociolinguistic Implications. Sociolinguistic Working Paper Number 85.
Joly, Luz Graciela
An excerpt from the "Play of the Congos," given in Congo, Spanish, and English, exemplifies the sociolinguistic features of the combined play and ritual language used by the Afro-Hispanic population in the Caribbean region of the Costa Abajo in north-central Panama. The sociolinguistic norms are an important part of the "regulation of the play," and a pragmatic knowledge of the language is required of the key players who undertake the important responsibility of enacting the "Play of the Negroes." Understanding this language unites not only the players but all Afro-Hispanics in the region as one speech community. The play-ritual language is based on the participants' native language, a variety of Spanish, but it also distinguishes the Afro-Hispanic population at the rivers' mouths from the up-river Hispanic-Indigenous people with whom they otherwise share Spanish. It is learned by children in the same sociolinguistic process by which the base language is learned. Although it is intended in the play to conceal meaning, it allows for an interpreter to assure that a social message is communicated. The majority of players now have no conscious association between the play and historical past. Semantic and syntactic processes of the language suggest links with creole and West African languages, and are significant among ritual-play languages for their structure and semantic contrasts. (MSE)
Descriptors: Blacks, Cultural Awareness, Drama, Ethnic Groups, Foreign Countries, Immigrants, Intercultural Communication, Language Role, Language Usage, Latin American Culture, Latin American Literature, Sociolinguistics, Spanish Speaking
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 211 East 7th St., Austin, TX 78701.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.
Identifiers - Location: Panama