Understanding Storytelling among African American Children: A Journey from Africa to America

By Tempii B. Champion | Go to book overview

7
Performative Narratives

Eight narratives produced by children in this study were coded as being “performative, ” representing 11% of the total narratives. The performance structure also emerges from the data as a result of the observation that the eight narratives appeared to have similarities. The first similarity is the “telling” or “performance': of the narrative that forms the body of the narrative. Further analysis, using an interactional sociolinguistic perspective, revealed that narratives in this structure emphasized interaction between the audience and the narrator. In addition, the use of this perspective indicated a heavy use of paralinguistic strategies, including the manipulation of tempo, intonation contours, rhythm, pause, vowel elongation, and stress. Other strategies included the use word and sound repetitions information piling and nonverbal gestures.

For these performance narratives, a key chart is presented:

The first narrative is by Terri, an 8-year-old African American female. The prompt for the narrative was: “I used to play with my friend Audrey when I was younger. One day we were playing outside and we were being chased by some boys on the block. We ran inside my apartment. My little baby brother was sleeping. When we ran in we woke him up and he started crying. My aunt came into the room and said, 'You woke him up, you put him back to sleep.' Did anything like that ever happen to you or someone you know?”


Terri
H——L H ^H H—^H——H
1. you know how…! parents smoke cigarettes
2. adult: un huh H——^H H—!H L ^H——L
3. rosalind … ! she was only… 15 or 14

-69-

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