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ERIC Number: ED374420
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Mar-18
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Where Did That Come From: Black Talk for Black Texts.
Richardson, Elaine
Drawing on Mikhail Bakhtin's "Dialogic Imagination" and Henry Louis Gates'"Signifying Monkey," an analysis of an African American student's essay reveals codes that are distinct to African Americans. Bakhtin's theory alerts scholars to the extent to which language is a social phenomenon. Ambiguous and heteroglossic, it reflects the ideology, world view, and sense of culture and history of the speaker. A response to Alice Walker's "In Search of Our Mother's Gardens," the student text, "My Mother's Garden," employs several African American tropes: (1) cultural ideographs, such as "obstacles,""civil rights," and "slavery," all of which have special meaning within the African American community; (2) the talking book, a tradition in which the illiterate speaker must become literate to prove her humanity; (3) call and response, a process through which the student establishes a multi-voiced discourse and signals an intertextual relation between her text and Walker's; (4) signification, a term defined within the African American community as a "mark," an intended victim of a swindle or a taking notice or heed of; and (5) repetition, which is used for emphasis. The point here is that the concept of an academic essay needs to be expanded to make space for different kinds of literacy including that of the African American community. (Student essay is appended.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A