Author Archive
general

Fear Proverb

Black, Indian

English

18, student

28 April 2011

“Only fear can defeat life”

To Aliyah this quote is all about courage. She is a small black girl who grew up in a rough area of town. All her life she was picked on and tossed around so she had to be brave and stand up for herself. Her dad taught her this and gave her a lion stuffed animal just has his mom had done for him. Together Aliyah and her father share an affinity of  lions and have grown closer.

This is a folk proverb that teaches people to be brave. It has been passed down in Aliyah’s family. When Aliyah learned the meaning, it was in a liminal stage in her life, puberty. She learned that shoe couldn’t cower in the corner that instead she needed to stand up and fight. I interpret this proverb to mean that people should expel fear because living in fear can destroy a person.

Annotation: p. 161 The Life of Pi, Yann Martel

Tim Perille

18

1027 W. 34th St. Los Angele CA

Folk speech
general

Polish flight joke

Danish

English

18, student

20 April 2011

“Did you hear about the Polish helicopter crash?

-He got sooooo coooold that he turned off the fan”

Her father taught Christina this joke, they share a liking for Polish jokes. Growing up in Denmark, Polish jokes were common for Christina. She learned from her friends, on TV, and at school. They are passed down, and even though they are mean, Christina says, “ya but we have jokes about everyone, my dad always says you gotta keep a thick skin, a firm handshake and a drink in the left hand.

This joke represents blaison populaire because it draws on popular stereotypes and belittles the Polish people. These jokes are learned and passed down making them perfect folklore specimens. Christina isn’t really a racist but she, like many other, enjoy laughing at other country’s foibles and making light-hearted jokes

Tim Perille

18

1027 W. 34th St. Los Angele CA

Folk speech
general

Polack Joke

Danish

English

18, student

20 April 2011

“How do you stop a polish army on horseback?

-stop the carousel”

Her father taught Christina this joke, they share a liking for Polish jokes. Growing up in Denmark, Polish jokes were common for Christina. She learned from her friends, on TV, and at school. They are passed down, and even though they are mean, Christina says, “ya but we have jokes about everyone, my dad always says you gotta keep a thick skin, a firm handshake and a drink in the left hand.

This joke represents blaison populaire because it draws on popular stereotypes and belittles the Polish people. These jokes are learned and passed down making them perfect folklore specimens. Christina isn’t really a racist but she, like many other, enjoy laughing at other country’s foibles and making light-hearted jokes

Tim Perille

18

1027 W. 34th St. Los Angele CA

Folk speech
general

Polack jokes

Danish

English

18, student

20 April 2011

“Why did the Polack cross the road?

-He couldn’t get his dick out of the chicken”

Her father taught Christina this joke, they share a liking for Polish jokes. Growing up in Denmark, Polish jokes were common for Christina. She learned from her friends, on TV, and at school. They are passed down, and even though they are mean, Christina says, “ya but we have jokes about everyone, my dad always says you gotta keep a thick skin, a firm handshake and a drink in the left hand.

This joke represents blaison populaire because it draws on popular stereotypes and belittles the Polish people. These jokes are learned and passed down making them perfect folklore specimens. Christina isn’t really a racist but she, like many other, enjoy laughing at other country’s foibles and making light-hearted jokes

Tim Perille

18

1027 W. 34th St. Los Angele CA

general
Proverbs

Proverb on Success

Danish

English

18, student

20 April 2011

“Reap what you sow”

To Christina this is particularly important because she has always felt like she does things without thinking. She describes this proverb as “the way I get my dues” meaning she uses this proverb to justify when things go wrong. Christina’s Dad taught her this phrase, he is very wealthy and has “reaped” a lot in this life. She learns a lot from her father and considers his life an inspiration. When things don’t go her way, she says, “I just gotta try hard, I know I screwed up but I’ll try again.”

This folk proverb has been passed down to Christina like most proverbs are—from word of mouth. This proverb means a lot to Christina because she works hard and desperately wants to succeed. Even though the tone in the proverb with words like “reap” makes it sound very fatalistic, the message is positive and one that Christina treasures.

Annotation: This quote also showed up in the popular novel Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini

Tim Perille

18

1027 W. 34th St. Los Angele CA

Foodways
general

Turkey PO-BOY Recipe

Black, Indian

English

18, student

28 April 2011

Thanksgiving Po-boy

Bread

Stuffing

Fried turkey

Cranberry

Gravy

Aliyah’s parents are divorced and so she has to celebrate Thanksgiving twice. Aliyah spends Thanksgiving dinner with her mom and then uses the left over to make sandwiches with her dad the next day.  The sandwich is a Louisiana take on the “friends series moist-maker” sandwich that featured a gravy soaked piece of bread in the middle of a turkey sandwich. The idea is an entire turkey dinner put into a sandwich and because the turkey’s fried–it’s a po-boy. Taylor made my stomach growl as she carefully describes every detail of the meal. She performed the act so elegantly as to entice me to try the sandwich.

This is a folk recipe that has been passed down to Taylor from her parents. A lot of cultures have similar post-turkey day traditions. The sandwich utilizes all the leftovers in a delicious combination and makes sure none of the turkey is wasted.

Tim Perille

18

1027 W. 34th St. Los Angele CA

general
Proverbs

Old Dog New Tricks

Black

English

18, student

Atlanta, GA

23 April 2011

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”

Taylor grew up in the South and her mamma use to always use sayings like this. When Taylor performs these proverbs she thinks of her mom and her family. You can hear the longing in her voice as she signs out the phrase. Taylor sometimes doesn’t like the phrase because it makes her feel old. She thinks it comes from the South because a lot of her friends let their old dogs sit out on the porch.

This is a folk proverb playing on the idea that its hard for old people to learn new things. Although this phrase is very common, it is still folklore and has special meaning for Taylor. When she hears the phrase she remembers her family, her dogs, and her home. This proverb has been passed down orally and spead out to make it famous.

Annotation: This proverb has surfaced in movies like the Black Stallion and Shiloh and in readings like Seabiscuit in the scene when they try to teach the horse to start when he hears a bell.

Tim Perille

18

1027 W. 34th St. Los Angele CA

general
Proverbs

Southern Proverb

Black

English

18, student

Atlanta, GA

23 April 2011

“If a child washes her hands, she can eat with kings”

Taylor chose this proverb because her grandmother used to tell it to her. To her it means that she needs to slow down, she finds herself constantly rushing into things. Her grandmother is Creole and used to say it when Taylor would bite into a candy without unwrapping it, run into the screen door, and any time she acted before thinking. Taylor likes the proverb because it reminds her to slow down and think before she tries something big.

This folk proverb teaches the lesson to wait to be patient and slow down. In the proverb the child is so rushed to eat with the adults that she forgot to wash her hands. Taylor told this proverb with a very authoritative tone as if she was preaching. Proverbs like these are all over the American south and exemplify proverbs that are intended to teach. Taylor learned this from her grandmother and it has been passed down for generations. The origins are unknown which makes it valuable folklore.

Annotation: This proverb can also be seen in several literary works including, Things Fall Apart. In which it means more that removing the past will bring about a better future.

Tim Perille

18

1027 W. 34th St. Los Angele CA

Customs
Foodways
general

Pig recipe

German, Irish

French, English

19, student

Evanston, Il

25 April 2011

Roast pig recipe

Pig

Seasoning

Fire

Time

Beer

Every year at one Northwester tailgate, Zach’s Dad has a pig roast and it is an incredible experience. The recipe is a family treasure, and is passed down only in death. Zach likes the pig roasts because his family and friends unite around the table for s “drunken pre-game fiesta” and they gorge themselves on the pork. The recipe is simple and to the point and yet the taste is amazing. Zach tenderly describes the crunch of the skin and the succulent fat.

This recipe, while seriously lacking, is how Zach sees his pig roasts. The ingredients are simple but the tradition is sacred. Everyone gathers around, Zach’s dad is at his rightful place tending the barbeque, and they eagerly watch the pig turn on the spit. This is a folk recipe and a folk custom because it happens in many cultures before games or to celebrate special occasions. The recipe has been handed down and this joke recipe is the answer Zach’s family always gives when people ask for the secret. In other circles, the way the pig gets roasted varies but this recipe is a tradition that Zach’s family will not part with.

Tim Perille

18

1027 W. 34th St. Los Angele CA

Customs
general

folk yoga

Ethnicity: ½ black, ¼ Mexican, ¼ Japanese

Spanish, English

18, Student

Houston, TX

20 April 28, 2011

Mai Ling performed her family yoga ritual. As she performed the maneuver she called out the positions in order: Downward Dog, to Forward Bend, Arch back, come up, hands on knees, extend back, rise up, hands on hip, Sun salutation 1, hands touch over your head, arms stretch straight up, elbows extend, exhale bring your hands to your heart, lean back, enter bridge pose, hold it for two breaths, kick up into head or hand stand, hold it for a minute, come down, child’s, cat/cow for six breathes, one vinyasa and you’re done.

This small yoga routine is how Mai Ling starts her day every morning. Mai Ling has two aunts who teach yoga one in San Diego and one in Austin and she learned this family progression from them. This sequence is fairly advanced and it took Mai Ling a long time to master it. She looks forward to family reunions when she practice the routine with the adults. She believes the tradition is the best way to start the morning rejuvenated and relaxed. She does the poses with care and grace, as she releases energy into each pose. Her focus is amazing and emphasizes her connection to her practice and the tradition.

This is an example of folk customs and a new category-folk yoga. These positions were strung together generations ago and have remained in Mai Ling’s family. The way they are passed down and the natural variations within the family make it a piece of their folklore. Mai Ling intends to continue the tradition and pass the yoga lesson on, to her kids.

Tim Perille

18

1027 W. 34th St. Los Angele CA

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