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Dell Hymes, Breakthrough into performance

Séminaire du 19 novembre 2015

Dell Hymes, Breakthrough into Performance, dans Dell Hymes, "In vain I tried to tell you." Essays in Native American Ethnopoetics, Lincoln-London, University of Nebraska Press, (1981) 2004, Chapitre 3. Originellement écrit en 1971 et publié en 1975.

Le titre de cet article, autour duquel pivote l'œuvre de Hymes, signifie: «Percée [qui fait entrer celui qui raconte une histoire] dans la performance», percée — changement de registre — par laquelle il quitte le registre du compte rendu ou de la chronique pour entrer dans le registre du spectacle et accéder au statut d'artiste (performer) pratiquant un art de parole (verbal art).

(Breakthrough, p.87 n.9) The use of the term "breakthrough" here is by analogy to what Paul Friedrich has called "pronominal breakthrough" in his fine study of usage in Russian novels (1966). Paul Friedrich, Structural implications of Russian pronominal usage, in William Bright, Ed., Sociolinguistics. Proceedings of the UCLA Sociolinguistics Conference, 1964, The Hague, Mouton, 1966, pp.214–259. Cette percée s'effectue en passant du tu au vous, ou inversement.

L'art du récit est, pour Hymes, a central mode of language use présentant des aspects cognitifs, émotionnels, affectifs, culturels, sociaux, esthétiques. Il s'oppose à l'idée reçue en Europe selon laquelle le récit n'est pas un moyen de connaissance.

Ethnography, Linguistics, Narrative inequality: Towards an Understanding of Voice
London, Taylor & Francis, 1996
Chapter 5: Narrative Thinking and Storytelling Rights

"Narrative view of the world"

(p.115) The implication of such observations is that the narrative use of language is not a property of subordinate cultures, whether folk, or workingclass, or the like, but a universal function. The greal restriction on its use in a society such as ours has to do with when it is considered appropriate and legitimate. Generally speaking. il is considered legitimate, a valid use of language in the service of knowledge, when it is used among co-members of a group.

Cela signifie que la valeur de vérité du récit n'apparaît qu'au sein d'une communauté de parole, quand il y a connivence entre le performer et son auditoire.

La performance est située dans un contexte et ne lui préexiste pas mais se crée dans ce contexte. William Labov distinguait entre la possibilité de rapporter et d'interpréter un comportement verbal. Hymes ajoute la possibilité de le réaliser ou répéter. Ce sont trois dimensions de la performance verbale. Each of the three dimensions — the INTERPRETABLE, the REPORTABLE, the REPEATABLE — can be regarded as an aspect of the abilities of competent members of a culture or community.

Etudier la variation dans la performance

(86) Imperfections de la performance. Ne pas négliger les distorsions, lorsqu'on enregistre sous la dictée.

Sometimes scholars have even ignored or tried to dismiss such a palpable factor as whether or not the language of presentation was the language of tradition. Perhaps the most obvious influence on what we know of the traditions of nonliterate groups has been the constraint of dictation, and dictation slow enough to be written down; the effect on sentence length and the internal organization of texts has been increasingly revealed by research with tape recorder (cf. Tedlock 1970, 1972a). Less obvious is the dependence on what the speaker thinks the hearer capable of understanding; Boas (1901:6) remarked that Charles Cultee' s Kathlamet periods became much more complex as their work progressed.

The dependence on what the speaker thinks the hearer capable of understanding: C'est l'adressivité.

Cf. Moore,34

We should, as a first approximation, attempt to organize our presentations of the texts 'on the page' to reflect the way that narrators and their interlocutors deftly shift their footings (Goffman 1981) during a storytelling encounter, both with respect to each other and with respect to the story being told. We need to capture these indexical dimensions of the event-bound functionality of speech, because they reveal another dimension of poetic patterning. The ethical and political entailments of this alternative proposal include a sustained attention to the ethnographic encounter as a cultural episode in its own right.

Choisir un format de transcription qui permette de représenter sur la page imprimée les positions respectives (footings) du narrateur et de ses auditeurs.

Cf. Nevins,81

Hymes shows in "Breakthrough into Performance" (1975) that addressivity—the shifting orientations indigenous contributors come to assume with respect to their interlocutor in ongoing interaction with researchers—bears upon the documentation of tradition in significant ways.

Déterminante est l'addressivité, l'idée que se fait le narrateur de l'auditeur auquel il s'adresse, de ses attentes et de ses capacités à comprendre le genre, le répertoire, le style qu'il a choisis.

Le premier des trois exemples dans l'article de 1975

Le premier exemple, The Crier, est le récit de l'Oraison d'un vieux sage un Dimanche matin s'adressant à des indiens Chinook christianisés en Oregon à l'embouchure de la rivière Columbia. Ce récit en anglais s'achève sur une exhortation en langue Wishram. Il illustre le cas le plus simple de breakthrough: un codeswitching de l'anglais au Wishram — par lequel le narrateur, Philip Kahclamet, dictant cette oraison (formal oratory) à l'ethnographe (Hymes en 1956) passe du simple report à une performance.

Je reproduis ci-dessous non pas la version publiée dans l'article de 1975, mais la version versifiée donnée au chapitre 6 (Breakthrough into Performance Revisited) de In vain I tried to tell you, pp.203–205. L'anglais ici n'est pas une traduction mais la langue que parlait spontanément Philip Kahclamet en combinant la syntaxe de l'anglais avec les principes chinook de versification (measured verses).

The Crier [Celui qui lance un appel]

A (a)
In the morning he steps out,
he intones his words.
"This is Sunday morning.
You people should know—
I don't have to come round this morning
to tell you—
that you people should put on all your trappings;
that you will come to church.

(b)
"You know
that we were put here by the Great Spirit.
We have to worship him.

(c)
I am getting to my oId age.
S ome of you will have to take my place
when I'm gone.

B (a)
"When you hear the drum this morning,
it's calling you
to worship the Great Spirit.

(b)
That's
where all our ancestors went.
If you go by the old religion,
you will see them
when you leave the earth.

(c)
You know
we are going to have to leave our flesh in the ground;
only our souls go;
and we'll be sure
to meet our ancestors.

C (a)
"You people know
that we didn't come here ourselves.
He who created us is above.

(b)
He put us here.
We have to be
where we are today.

(c)
Me—I'm not
telling you this myself.
I'm only giving you the revelations
which I've learned from somebody else.

[Cette remarque reflects a fundamental criterion of formal speech events, that the speech be repeated; in that lay its formality and often certainty. (Thus, to have claimed to speak on one's own authority alone would have deprived what was said of authority.)]

D (a)
"When you hear these drums,
go.

(b)
We are Nadidanwit [=Indians] here;
this is our country.

(c)
These white people came;
they brought Christianity.

(d)
It's not for us.
The Christianity was brought here for the white people only.

(e)
The white people cheated us out of our country.
So don't follow them
whatever they teach you.

E (a)
Shushugli [Jesus Christ] was a Jew;
he was not Nadidanwit
and he was not for the Nadidanwit.

(b)
SuSugli i-ju i-kiXaX.
[= Jesus Christ is a Jew.]

(c)
Yaxdau i-pendikast,
i-kathlik,
'Presbyterian,'
'Methodist,'
kwadaw i-Sik,
k'aya amXawiXa.
K'aya t'unwit amduXa."
[= That Pentecostal, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Shaker, don't concern yourselves with them. Don't believe in them.]

Philip Kahclamet rapporte l'oraison subversive d'un vieux sage indigène, qui exhorte les Chinook christianisés à se détacher des cinq groupes chrétiens d'importance locale, le cinquième étant la Shaker Church fondée par des indiens, pour revenir à la religion du Grand Esprit. Mais dans les deux dernières strophes, il se coule lui-même dans la personne de ce sage, et c'est là le breakthrough into performance. Ce ne sont plus des paroles rapportées, mais une parole dont il prend lui-même la responsabilité, il fait entendre sa voix à la première personne, une parole en action.

The special interest of the speech here is that it begins as a report, in the third person, in English ("In the morning he steps out... ") and ends as authentic performance, in the first person, in Wishram. This is the only time at which I knew Philip Kahclamet to assume the role of speaker in Wishram. The setting was late at night, after a good deal of beer drinking, after a good part of a summer working together. And even so, the switch into authentic performance, into Wishram, was brief: two sentences, at the end of, or ending, the speech.

Hymes conclut des années plus tard (1980), dans In vain I tried to tell you, p.208

Today the language [Wishram] in which Philip broke into performance has almost no one left to speak it, and, contrary to the rejection, urged by his speech, many Indian people find a Christian church compatible with Indian observances.

Dans Breakthrough… qui fut écrit, rappelons-le, en 1971, Hymes ne s'intéressait pas encore à la scansion de la parole ou du récit, ce qu'il appellera plus tard «le vers mesuré» (measured verse). Il centrait l'analyse sur la performance et le code-switching qui fait basculer la parole du simple rapport dans la performance.

The special interest of the speech here is that it begins as a report, in the third person, in English ("In the morning he steps out... ") and ends as authentic performance, in the first person, in Wishram. This is the only time at which I knew Philip Kahclamet to assume the role of speaker in Wishram. The setting was late at night, after a good deal of beer drinking that night, after a good part of a summer working together. And even so, the switch into authentic performance, into Wishram, was brief: two sentences, at the end of, or ending, the speech.

Code-switching from one language to another is here, I believe, a sign of "breakthrough" into full performance. This case might be said to develop through three stages: Report: Translation: Full Performance. The first line is report, concerning a third person. There follows address, quoted in translation. (English performance of such an address is unattested and unlikely, although Mr. Kahclamet very likely had heard such addresses in Sahaptin, a language with which he was familiar.) The last three sentences are full performance, anticipated by the introduction of native terms in the preceding sentence. The dominant speech function is clearly rhetorical in nature, a hortatory focus on the addressee, and a perfect example of enlisting an audience in terms of identification and division.

Les deux autres exemples étudiés dans l'article de 1975 sont beaucoup plus complexes et tournent en particulier autour d'une comparaison grammaticale et stylistique entre le genre narratif du mythe et le genre narratif du conte.

Citons seulement la conclusion de cet article

The three types of "breakthrough into performance" can be summarized in brief formulae.

1 / The morning address proceeds within the text through three stages:

[Report]— [Translation ]— [Authoritative performance (oration)].

2 / The "story concerning Coyote" is fully realized in itself, but within the sequence of the Coyote cycle (which was, indeed, considered a single myth as a whole) as given by Mr. Smith, there are two stages, one, as has been said, a bracketed reference to the character of the original genre at the outset, the rest a growing assumption of full performance:

[Report as to genre (myth)]— [Authoritative performance (as tale)].

3 / Mr. Kahclamet' s account of the winter sing begins in a manner parallel to Mr. Smith's beginning of the Coyote cycle, but its second stage is complex:

[Report as to genre (myth)]— [Authoritative performance= (tale as story)+ (tale as object)]

La découverte de la versification du récit

Dell Hymes fait état à plusieurs reprises dans In vain I tried to tell you d'une découverte qu'il fit avec surprise peu de temps après la publication de 1975 et qui le conduisit à revisiter son travail et à retraduire non seulement les récits qu'il avait pris comme exemples mais l'oraison (oratory) de Philip Kahclamet que nous venons d'étudier. Oraison et récits ne se composaient pas de phrases mais de vers, ou du moins d'arrangements en forme de scansions (measured verse). Nous y revenons sur une autre page.