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Registros da escravidão: as falas de pretos-velhos e de Pai João

Author(s): Alkmim, Tania | Álvarez López, Laura

Journal: Stockholm Review of Latin American Studies
ISSN 1654-0204

Issue: 4;
Start page: 37;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Afro-Brazilian Portuguese | Preto-Velho | Afro-Brazilian religions | Umbanda | Brazilian Vernacular Portugese

The present article presents and compares speech varieties associated to two elements of Afro-Brazilian traditions: pretos velhos, i.e. spirits of Black slaves in Umbanda, an Afro-Latin American religion; and Pai João, i.e. Father John, a character from a cycle of traditional stories gathered by various folklorists. While Pai João has been compared to Oncle Tom, the pretos-velhos that we meet in Umbanda communities, are understood as old African slaves that sometimes possess adepts during the state of trance. Both reveal a linguistic behaviour that is distinct from local norms: a language variety marked by a set of features associated with the speech used by Africans during slavery. The presence of the same linguistic characteristics in contemporary oral representations complements the written sources that have been analyzed until present.
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