The Butcher S Tale Essay Outline

Topic #1
Many democratic governments have been overthrown in the Twentieth Century. The Handmaid’s Tale shows how the government of the United States might be overthrown by a fanatical group and a dictatorship established. Consider how a government such as Gilead is created and how those in power attempt to maintain their control.

I. Thesis Statement: The Handmaid’s Taleillustrates that a dictatorship can be established by playing upon people’s fears and dissatisfaction with societal conditions and that, once dictatorial controls are instituted, fear tactics can be asserted to attempt to keep the government in place.

II. Dissatisfactory conditions of the pre-Gilead society
A. Environmental deterioration due to increased pollution and nuclear explosions
B. Increased objectification of women through pornography
C. Increased sexual violence against women
D. Decreased birth rate among the Caucasian population
E. Rampant new strain of syphilis

III. Measures taken to seize control of the government and the society
A. Use of media to promote dissatisfaction
B. Assassination of the President and Congress
C. Mass firing of all women and seizure of their assets
D. Savage repression of protests

IV. Fear tactics used to maintain control in Gilead
A. Regimentation of society
1. Women assigned to groupings according to theirfunction
2. Society in uniforms, based upon groupings
3. Elimination of choice in daily life
4. Rivalries and jealousies between different groupings encouraged
B. Indoctrination
1. The Red Center
2. Misinformation on television, the only remaining information medium
3. Enforced illiteracy
4. Society involved in the punishment of offenders (Salvagings)
C. Creation of paranoia and fear
1. Meetings, even most conversations, banned
2. Threat of banishment to the Colonies
3. Public display of execution victims
4. The Eyes/the black vans

V. Resistance to government of Gilead, despite the repressive controls
A. War in Latin America and in various states
B. The Mayday resistance
C. The Underground Female road

VI. Conclusion
A. The manipulation of societal fear in establishing and maintaining a dictatorship
B. The inevitable vulnerability of a dictatorship due to the ability of resistance movements to move beyond fear

Topic #2
Sexism and misogyny exist when women are not granted the same rights as men, when women are restricted to the domestic sphere, and when women are valued primarily for their functionality rather than their...

(The entire section is 1123 words.)


The structure of everyday narrative in a city market: An ethnopoetics approach


  • Adrian Blackledge,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
    • Address correspondence to:

      Adrian Blackledge

      University of Birmingham – Education


      Birmingham B15 2TT

      United Kingdom

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  • Angela Creese,

    1. University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
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  • Rachel Hu

    1. University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
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This paper considers the value of Hymesian ethnopoetics as a means of analysing everyday narrative in conditions of mobility and change. The paper offers an account of the development of ethnopoetics as a means to make visible and valorize narrative in the Native American oral tradition, and as a method of revealing culturally specific relations of form and meaning. Hymes’ ethnopoetic approach viewed narrative structure as a reflection of a cultural tradition of meaning-making. Hymes’ analysis proposed that traditional narrative was a culturally shaped way of speaking, and analysis of narrative structure could reveal and recreate culture. His orientation rested on an assumption that the culture of a group was more or less stable and fixed. This paper adopts an approach to analysis based on ethnopoetics, representing everyday narrative dramatically, organized not only as lines and verses, but also as scenes and acts. Representation in scenes and acts makes visible the dynamic nature of the narrative. The paper asks whether Hymes’ ground-breaking work on ethnopoetics still has currency and purchase in 21st-century conditions of mobility, change, and unpredictability. Analysis of everyday narrative in a city market concludes that, notwithstanding the complexity of notions of ‘culture’ and ‘language’ in such conditions, ethnopoetics can be productively applied to everyday contexts for the analysis of narrative.




Ethnopoetics, developed in analysis of Native American oral narrative, may be extended to the analysis of narrative in everyday encounters. Analysis of the ethnopoetics of narrative has hitherto largely been conducted in the context of folk stories transcribed as dictated to researchers (Hymes 1981, 2003). The narratives Hymes focused on were told in Northwest U.S. Indian languages to anthropologists Boas, Sapir, and others. Hymes accessed transcripts of narrators presenting the most valued stories (myths) of these societies, frequently dictated slowly, to a relative stranger (the anthropologist), with no native audience responding. The stories were presented as prose, with facing-page and/or interlinear translation. It was against this background that Hymes introduced analysis of measured verse patterns, based on Jakobson's (1960) notion of ‘equivalence’ in poetic verse. By these means, Hymes aimed to demonstrate the validity and value of oral cultures, arguing that it is possible to arrive at an arrangement of a transcript that reflects the rhetorical or poetic structure of an oral performance, and that, in doing so, a native voice may be restored or recovered.

However, the context of this paper is quite different, as we introduce ethnopoetic analysis of narrative as it occurs in everyday speech in a busy city market. In contexts of 21st-century mobility, ‘language’ and ‘culture’ are complex, as people appear to take any linguistic and communicative resources available to them and blend them into complex linguistic and semiotic forms. In a globalising world, narrative and culture are less stable and fixed than they once might have been, as resources are characterised by internal and external forces of perpetual change operating simultaneously and in unpredictable mutual relationships (Blommaert 2014). In this context, speakers juggle the limits of face-to-face intelligibility with new styles of expression made up of ever-changing linguistic resources (Parkin 2016). This leads us to question whether Hymes’ ground-breaking scholarship on ethnopoetics is equipped to enhance our understanding of everyday narrative in situations of complex interrelationships. In the remainder of this paper, we analyse an interaction between a Chinese butcher and his customer, audio-recorded in the course of four months of detailed ethnographic observation in a busy city-centre market in the U.K. In doing so, we consider whether ethnopoetic analysis, rooted in Jakobson's analysis of poetry and Hymes’ analysis of folk tales, has the potential to enhance our understanding of language in contemporary social life.

The Poetic Function

Jakobson (1960) argued that there were six functions of language: referential, phatic, metalingual, conative, emotive, and poetic. Jakobson (1960: 353) insisted that the functions he identified were not separate, but co-existed in shifting hierarchies of dominance: ‘The diversity lies not in a monopoly of some one of these several functions but in a different hierarchical order of functions’. Jakobson argued that, whilst the predominant orientation of many messages may be to the referential function, we should be alert to the accessory participation of other functions, and that ‘the scrutiny of language requires a thorough scrutiny of its poetic function’ (1960: 356). Jakobson pointed out that the poetic function could not be studied out of touch with other functions, but should be considered in the context of referential, phatic, metalingual, conative, and emotive functions. He proposed that when we pay attention to repetition and ‘sameness’ in a text (including an oral text) we are able to make comprehensible its poetic structure (1960). For Jakobson (1985: 42), any noticeable reiteration of the same grammatical concept becomes an effective poetic device. He pointed out that repetitions such as parallelisms, whether based on sound, or on grammatical categories, or on lexical categories, are a natural result of the raising of equivalence to the constitutive device of the sequence. In this paper, we propose that such structures are identifiable in everyday narrative speech. Through attention to structures of repetition we are able to hear more clearly the voices of speakers in the city market, and to make more visible the social relations between them.


Hymes (1981) applied Jakobson's analysis of equivalence to Northwest U.S. Indian language folk tales collected and transcribed by researchers. The folk tales were perhaps somewhere between Jakobson's characterisations of ‘poetry’ and ‘ordinary speech’. An oral genre, Hymes recognised that the folk tales were nonetheless organised in terms of patterned sequences of lines (2003). In his analysis, Hymes demonstrated that oral narratives are ‘organized in terms of lines, verses, stanzas, scenes, and what one may call acts’ (1981: 309). Hymes claimed that analysis of the poetic structure of narrative ‘will add to understanding of language itself and contribute to the many fields of inquiry for which the use of language in telling stories is a part’ (2003: viii). Discovering lines and relations in narrative:

can lead to understanding and interpretation otherwise not possible. We can recognise artistry and subtleties of meaning otherwise invisible. For a true account of the human capacity for verbal art, this is crucial. (Hymes 2003: 96)

Here, Hymes speaks of the potential of ethnopoetics to bring to light the verbal art of discourse. Whereas Jakobson had privileged the poetics of verse, and Hymes the poetics of traditional Native American folk tales, we will explore the potential of ethnopoetics to bring to light the poetics of everyday speech in a city market.

Hymes (1981) insisted that we must work to make visible and audible something more than is evident on first hearing. Ethnopoetics, he said, ‘helps us to see more of what is there’ (Hymes 1996: 182). Whereas representing narrative as prose tends to hide its characteristic form, ethnopoetic analysis unearths the underlying poetic structure that is the essence of narrative (Hornberger 2009: 349). Bauman (2013) described Hymes’ work on ethnopoetics as a game-changing, perspective-altering way of conceptualising texts, revealing their poetic form, and ultimately, through that analytical process, elucidating their cultural meaning: ‘there is no question that Hymes’ discoveries were truly pathbreaking, opening up new territories in oral poetics and attracting large numbers of further explorers and new settlers into the territory’ (2013: 177). Attention to the poetic structure of narrative can challenge received assumptions about the nature of language and the ways that individuals engage in and use language. An ethnopoetic approach to narrative takes up Jakobson's notion of equivalence. Hymes viewed narrative as structured in ‘equivalent’ lines and groups of lines (verses, stanzas, scenes), and argued that the organisation of lines in narratives is an implicit patterning that creates narrative effect. The principle of equivalence implies a text that is a sequence of units (Hymes 1994). In addition to equivalent units (and repetition and parallelism), there is ‘succession’. Succession is not a matter simply of linear sequence, of counting. Successive units give shape to action. In particular, patterns of succession can be ways of coming to an ending point.

Hymes (2003) refers to ‘intonation contours’ as structures which organise lines. Verses may be signalled by a grammatical feature such as reported speech in a narrative, or turns at talk. Hymes (1994) suggested that a verse is easily recognised in speech, being marked by one of the main intonational contours of the language. Such verses form sequences, and do so in terms of a small set of alternatives. Repetition of words, phrases, or grammatical structures may also mark equivalence. Hymes’ approach is one in which narrative is re-organised through attention to prosodic features, syntactic features, morpho-grammatical features, phonetic features, and lexico-syntactic features (Blommaert 2006a). Lines then combine into larger units, verses, stanzas, scenes, and acts, and Jakobsonian equivalence is the formal principle that identifies such units. A transition from one unit to another can be marked by a shift in intonation or prosody, a change in the dominant particles used for marking lines, a change in verb tense, or a lexical change. Hymes argued that artistic patterns in narrative such as parallel structures, rhythmic repetitions and lexical oppositions indicate a high level of formal skills and sophistication. Scollon and Scollon (1981) proposed a more explicit definition of narrative structure, distinguishing between lines (utterances separated by pauses), verses (units that correspond to sentences), stanzas (units that share the same perspective on action, participants), and scenes (units that indicate changes in participants, actions, location).

Hymes (1981) developed ethnopoetic analysis as part of a more general project which aimed to show that oral cultural traditions were as valid as written genres. Ethnopoetics was a means of investigating cultures and their specific ways of understanding reality. It was also a means of achieving a better understanding of local knowledge (De Fina and Georgakopoulou 2012). Hymes (2003) also argued that close analysis of narrative structure can reveal culturally specific relations of form and meaning. His study of narrative traditions among Native Americans became part of a more general project that involved looking at the ways in which texts are organised as both reflecting and recreating cultural traditions of meaning-making. Scollon and Scollon (1981) similarly argued that the structure of narrative mirrors cultural interaction patterns. They studied Athabaskan narratives, and concluded that their narrative structure mirrors interaction patterns in Athabaskan life. Moore (2013) analysed Wasco-Wishram Chinookan oral narrative, and elaborated on Hymes by taking into account the shifting linguistic environment in which narration takes place. Moore proposed that we need to see how poetic structures in discourse not only emerge in contexts of verbal interaction, but also help to (re)shape those contexts in particular ways. He suggested a transcription format that enables us to represent on the page these situated aspects of poetic form that unfold in everyday interaction.

Ethnopoetic analysis attempts ‘to unearth culturally embedded ways of speaking, materials and forms of using them, that belong to the sociolinguistic system of a group, and that have a particular place in a repertoire due to their specific form-function relationships’ (Blommaert 2009: 269). A focus on individual narrators pays not only attention to what is said explicitly, it also allows the analyst to discover relations between lines and verses in the narratives. These relations are often not noticed or consciously produced by narrators and may therefore be considered to be the ‘cultural dimension’ of narration (van der Aa 2013). For Hymes, ‘narrative inequality’ derives from the fact that certain ways of speaking, certain ways of telling a narrative, may be dismissed and marginalised (Webster and Kroskrity 2013). Reconstructing the functions of narratives is a politics of recognition which starts from a restoration of disempowered people as bearers and producers of valuable culture, over which they themselves have control: for Hymes recognising one's language means recognising one's specific ways of speaking – one's voice.

Blommaert (2006a: 181) argues that ethnopoetics could be used for the analysis not only of traditional folk narratives, but also of narratives in institutional contexts such as police interviews, courtroom hearings, and asylum interviews. He proposes that there is room for exploring ‘applied’ topics for ethnopoetic analysis – for taking it beyond the study of folkloric oral tradition and into other spaces where narrative matters: ‘It would be a great pity if a powerful analytic tool such as ethnopoetics would remain under-used because of it stereotypically being pinned on a small set of particular analytic objects’ (Blommaert 2006b: 268). Tannen (2007: 101) argues that Jakobson's observations of pervasive parallelism in poetry ‘apply as well to conversation’. She argues that repetition is a limitless resource for individual creativity and interpersonal involvement, and claims that it is ‘the central linguistic meaning-making strategy’ (2007: 101). Collins (2009: 335) goes further, saying a failure to treat narrative in this way is to treat everyday speech as ‘the country cousin to the citified sophistication of deliberately composed prose’.

By attending to implicit, indexical patterns in narratives, applied ethnopoetics creates different criteria for assessing the validity of stories, because it reconstructs a different voice (Blommaert 2006a). Ultimately, what ethnopoetics does is to visualise the particular ways – often different from norms – in which subjects produce meanings (Blommaert 2006b). Collins (2009: 334) points out that Hymes’ analysis offers evidence of a richness of everyday storytelling that calls into question received dichotomies between speaking and writing, as well as the common contrast between narrative as ‘mere anecdote’ and analytic thought. In Hymes’ analyses of both Amerindian and English narratives, he argues that to represent narrative as prose is to lose sight of its characteristic form, and to ignore this form is to misconstrue the nature of narrative and to lose sight of a common human potential. Ultimately, what ethnopoetics does is to ‘enhance respect for an appreciation of the voices of others’ (Hymes 1996: 219). Such an approach has the potential to re-articulate the voices of those whose speech in the language of the narrative may appear inarticulate, hesitant, or lacking confidence.

In summary, an ethnopoetic analysis of narrative was developed by Hymes as a means of investigating culturally specific relations of form and meaning in the structure of (oral) narrative. In order to make explicit the structure of narrative he developed a means of segmentation on the basis of parallelism, expressive phonology, syntax and lexicon. More recently, a relatively small number of scholars has appropriated Hymes’ approach as a means of ‘restoring’ otherwise silenced or disenfranchised voices. Blommaert proposes that Hymes's ethnopoetic work is one way of addressing the main issue in ethnography: to describe (and reconstruct) languages not in the sense of stable, closed, and internally homogeneous units characterising parts of mankind, but as ordered complexes of genres, styles, registers, and forms of use – languages as repertoires or sociolinguistic systems (Blommaert 2009: 269). Here lies a potential tension, however. Ethnopoetic analysis was developed largely in the assumption that ‘cultures’ were more-or-less homogenous, that members of a group were likely to tell stories in similar ways, and that narrative structures may be straightforwardly linked to the cultural practices of specific communities. However, in the short time since Hymes developed ethnopoetics as means of understanding culturally specific norms and practices, many global societies have become more mobile, and consequently more complex in terms of ‘cultural norms’ and ‘cultural practices’. In contexts of 21st-century mobility, ‘language’ and ‘culture’ are more complex, as people appear to take any linguistic and communicative resources available to them and blend them into complex linguistic and semiotic forms. In a globalising world we may consider narrative and culture as less stable and fixed than they once might have been, and as resources characterised by internal and external forces of perpetual change, operating simultaneously and in unpredictable mutual relationships (Blommaert 2014). This leads us to question whether Hymes’ ground-breaking scholarship is equipped to enhance our understanding of everyday narrative in situations of complex interrelationships. In the remainder of this paper we analyse an interaction between a Chinese butcher and his customer, audio-recorded in the course of four months of detailed ethnographic observation in Birmingham Bull Ring market, in the U.K. In doing so we consider whether ethnopoetic analysis, rooted in Jakobson's analysis of poetry and Hymes’ analysis of folk tales, has the potential to enhance our understanding of language in contemporary social life.

Ethnopoetics In A City Market

Markets are places where we encounter difference. More than any other city spaces, they define human engagement with difference, with different people, different clothes, different goods, and different ways of speaking (Pennycook and Otsuji 2015). Markets offer ‘an ideal setting to explore the relationship between economy and society, especially when we consider the ways that these markets reflect, but also shape, the nature and meaning of social and cultural diversity’ (Hiebert, Rath and Vertovec 2015: 16). They entail encounters between people, frequently across lines of social and cultural difference. Watson (2009a, 2009b) argues that markets represent a neglected site of social connections and interaction in cities, which have been subject to limited analysis to date. Watson (2006a, 2006b) proposes that the sociocultural context of markets warrants textured investigation to make sense of how encounters across difference occur productively or antagonistically. The example we present in this paper is an interaction between a customer and market traders on a butcher's stall, recorded in November 2014. The research was conducted as part of a four-year project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, ‘Translation and Translanguaging: Investigating Linguistic and Cultural Transformations in Superdiverse Wards in Four UK Cities’.1 The multi-site ethnographic project is directed by the second author, Angela Creese. Field researchers were the first and third authors, Adrian Blackledge and Rachel Hu. The overall aim of the project is to investigate how people communicate in superdiverse cities when they bring different histories, biographies, and trajectories to interaction. Over four years, linguistic ethnographic research was conducted in sixteen sites in four cities in the U.K.: Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, and London. The present paper is concerned only with material collected in the Bull Ring Indoor Market, in Birmingham. The specific focus of this paper is to consider whether Hymesian ethnopoetics is fit for purpose in analysing everyday narrative in the culturally diverse setting of the city market-place.

In the example presented here, Adrian Blackledge and bilingual researcher Rachel Hu were engaged in regular observation of communicative interactions at a butcher stall owned by a Chinese couple, Kang Chen and Meiyen Chew. Kang Chen was originally from Changle in Fujian, in the South of China. He had relatives in the U.K., and arrived in 2001. He opened the butcher stall in 2011. He told us he was able to get the business off the ground by selling to a niche market, stocking products such as fish balls, blood curd, and pig's intestine.

It was evident to the research team that a significant feature of the repertoires of both market traders and their customers was the deployment of gesture. Rymes (2014) adopts the term ‘communicative repertoire’ to refer to the collection of ways individuals use language and other means of communication to function effectively in the multiple communities in which they participate. Repertoire can include not only multiple languages, dialects, and registers in the institutionally defined sense, but also gesture, dress, and posture. Gesture, mime, and physical performance were part of the spatial repertoire (Pennycook and Otsuji 2015) of the market hall. However, this deployment of the corporeal voice, of gesture as repertoire, was not always equally available to all.

Structures Of Everyday Speech

The interaction we present here is one of the many hundreds we observed during the field work period. Kang Chen and Meiyen Chew collaborated with the researchers for four months. For much of this time they and their assistant butcher, Bradley, wore small microphones attached to digital voice recorders. They gave written consent to have their names identified, and for their speech and other means of communication to be represented in academic contexts. Large signs in Chinese and English informed customers that their voices may be recorded for research purposes, and that they may choose to have these recordings deleted.

A Chinese woman in her sixties arrived at Kang Chen's stall, asking him where she could buy lamb (he did not sell lamb himself). Kang Chen pointed her to a stall along the aisle. At the time of his encounter with the customer, Kang Chen (KC) was wearing a digital voice recorder, so we were later able to listen to his interaction with the customer (FC). The interaction, Excerpt 1, is first presented in Chinese script and Roman script. English translation is provided below, and indicated by < pointed brackets >.2

Excerpt 1

FC哎,老板儿; 哎,老板儿,你那个有羊肉卖? 不知道唉.
 他们几家都有羊肉卖,你看一下, 那个比较红的那些,跟牛肉很像的, 红
 的那些; 你直走,走到最 后面那一家,那种有中东人面孔那家, 到那家卖羊肉,那家会新鲜一点. 啊?就是这条路直着 走, 靠那边, 啊, 就是你看过去,我是中国人脸孔嘛”阿猹”人啊, 印度人啊, 不是这家,是最后那家,
FC就叫 Inder 啊,啊, 谢谢
FC< hi boss, boss, do you sell lamb? I don't know where to find it >
KC< no, we don't. there are quite a few shops sell it, you have a look, it looks quite red, like beef, go straight down to the end of the aisle you will see one, its owner has a mid-east Asian face, go and buy your lamb there, his is fresher, eh, just straight down the aisle, at the other side, eh, the other side, if you look, like I look Chinese, a Cha, or Indian, not that one, that one at the end >
FC< it's called Inder ay ay thanks >

The Chinese woman approached Kang Chen because she viewed him as a potential source of help and advice. Kang Chen was the only Mandarin-speaking butcher in the market, and the woman came to him because she was not familiar with the layout of the stalls. We saw on a number of occasions that Chinese customers would approach the butcher for help and advice about the market, and, on occasion, about other matters such as housing and welfare services. In this brief interaction Kang Chen was typically helpful, pointing to the meat stall along the aisle where the woman would be able to buy lamb. He recommended one stall, in particular, where the stall-holders were of Pakistani heritage. In pointing out the stall, Kang Chen refers to its owner with ‘a mid-east Asian face’, and nominates him as a ‘Cha’. This is a pejorative term used by some overseas Chinese to refer to people of Indian or Pakistani nationality/ethnicity. Wessendorf (2010, 2014) notes that differences of origin, language, religion, and so on may be acknowledged as a point of connection. Here, the reference to the stall-holder with ‘a mid-east Asian face’, and the nomination ‘Cha’ may do more than represent the mutton butcher negatively, perhaps also aligning Kang Chen with the Chinese woman, as Kang Chen positions them as sharing the same (albeit discriminatory) values.

Seven minutes later the woman returned to Kang Chen's stall, apparently in some consternation following her encounter with the mutton butcher (Excerpt 2). When the Chinese woman returned to the stall she was indicating something with her hand, tapping one of her thighs with the open palm of her hand. This seemed to be a source of amusement for Kang Chen.

The organisation of the transcript in Excerpt 2 pays attention to patterns of equivalence. Following Moore (2009), we arranged the interaction to highlight ethnopoetic principles of verse analysis. This required some initial decision-making. First, we introduced line breaks based on prosody. We organised the narrative according to these ‘intonation contours’ (Hymes 2003: 304) in Mandarin speech. We also represent the narrative by pursuing the principle of ‘equivalence’, developed by Hymes (2003), following Jakobson (1960). Hymes proposed that in addition to intonation contours, verses may be signalled by a grammatical feature, such as the quotative. That is, reported speech in a narrative may signal a new verse: ‘Turns at talk seem always to count as verses’ (Hymes 2003: 304). The principle of equivalence implies a text that is a sequence of units which give shape to action. We can see verses in Kang's narrative by attending not only to intonation contours, but also to reported speech. In Excerpt 2, we have transcribed this conversation paying attention to intonation contours, equivalence, and parallelism. Following Hymes, we included reference to ‘acts’ and ‘scenes’; stanzas are marked with capital letters (A); verses are indicated by spaces between groups of lines. Gestures are indicated in capital letters. The protagonists are the customer (FC), the butcher Kang Chen (KC), and the English assistant butcher Bradley (BJ). The interaction is represented in Chinese characters (to represent Mandarin speech) and Roman script (to represent English speech), and this is followed by an English translation. As before, translated speech is represented in pointed brackets.

Excerpt 2

1FC我费了好大的力气买的Act III, Scene 1A
5KC啊? 这个是羊肉来的 B
10FC这说不来呀 C
  我想要那个腿儿嘛 [TAPS LEG WITH HAND]  
 KC是羊肉来的,是羊肉,是羊肉来的 D
15 你是不是在最后一家买的?  
  我就要它身上那个肉 [TAPS LEG WITH HAND]  
20 我说  
  我要身上的那个肉 [TAPS LEG WITH HAND]  
25 哎呀,费了好大的劲儿,你知道  
  你这里没有羊肉卖嘛? E
30 不够位置  
 KC用身体语言Act III, Scene 2F
35 他以为你叫他  
 FC我说 G
40KC是嘛!人家不会听嘛 H
45 简单!直接帮你一指  
  人家以为 I
50 哈哈哈  
 [to BJ:]she see the lamb head over thereAct III, Scene 3J
55 being sold by the Asian men  
  you got, you got any, any, any  
  say Chinese yea language  
  and she go K
  lamb I want here, I want here! [TAPS LEG WITH HAND]
60 I say  
  is it somebody say like  
  I'm I'm any pretty?  
  like that  
 KCyeah? L
  if you know how to say it,  
  you just say any goat, lamb meat?  
70 that, that, that easy!  
1FC< it took me so much effort to buy this >Act III, Scene 1A
  < I'm still not sure if it's lamb >  
  < it took me so much effort to buy this >  
  < I'm still not sure if it's lamb >  
5KC< ah? this is lamb > B
  < this is it >  
  < what effort did it cost you? >  
  < you were just there shopping >  
  < what strength would you need to do that? >  
10FC< I don't know how to say it > C
  < and I don't understand them, right >  
  < I wanted to say >  
  < I just want to buy leg of lamb > [TAPS LEG WITH HAND]
 KC< yeah, it's lamb, lamb, it's lamb > D
15 < did you buy it from the one at the end of the aisle? >
 FC< yes yes, I said >  
  < I didn't want the sheep's head >  
  < I wanted the meat on its body > [TAPS LEG WITH HAND]
  < but he didn't understand it >  
20 < I said >  
  < I didn't want the sheep's head >  
  < I said >  
  < I wanted the meat from the sheep's body > [TAPS LEG WITH HAND]
  < the meat on its body >  
25 < oh my! what an effort, you know >  
  < don't you sell lamb here? >  E
 KC< ah? no my sign over there says so >  
  < but I don't sell it >  
  < look, not enough space >  
30 < not enough space >  
  < I don't have enough space to lay out the meat >
 FC< oh >  
 KC< using your body language >Act III, Scene 2F
  < using your body language >  
35 < he thought you were asking him >  
  < if you were pretty or not! >  
  < hahahaha >  
 FC< I said > G
  < it was the meat from its body that I wanted >  
40KC< exactly! he can't understand that, right? > H
  < you said >  
  < you wanted the meat from its body >  
  < I know you said >  
  < you want the meat from the body >  
45 < easy! and I would have just pointed at it for you >  
  < and you would know >  
  < you said >  
  < you wanted the meat from the body >  
  < he would have thought >  I
50 < hahaha >  
  < am I pretty pretty! >  
  < you are dead gorgeous! >  
  < hahahaha! >  
 [to BJ:]she see the lamb head over thereAct III, Scene 3J
55 being sold by the Asian men  
  you got, you got any, any, any  
  say Chinese yea language  
  and she go K
  lamb I want here, I want here! [TAPS LEG WITH HAND]
60 I say  
  is it somebody say, like,  
  I'm I'm any pretty?  
  like that  
 KCyeah? L
  if you know how to say it,  
  you just say any goat, lamb meat?  
70 that, that, that easy!  

Hymes (2003: 36), after Burke (1941), cites a motto he said summed up and informed his work: ‘Use all there is to use’. At times, Hymes had little to go on other than the transcripts of anthropologists from a former age. However, we have a rich account of communication in this market, constituted as a wealth of field notes, audio-recordings, video-recordings, photographs, interviews, and WeChat messages. Most of all, we have the invaluable experience of being there repeatedly and regularly for four months. In addition, each of the authors had experience of the markets as a commercial space before and after the field work period.

Hymes (2003: 98) pointed out that ‘as patterning emerges, it contributes to interpretation’. An ethnopoetic analysis enables us to view the unfolding action as a three-act play, in which the second act – the Chinese woman's encounter with the South Asian butcher – is played out ‘off stage’. In Act I, the Chinese woman approaches Kang Chen at his stall. In Act II, off stage, the Chinese woman attempts to purchase a leg of lamb at another butcher's stall. In Act III, the woman returns to Kang Chen's stall. In the analysis that follows we focus on Act III. Through segmentation of the transcript, we can view Act III in three scenes:

  • In Scene 1, the Chinese woman tells her story.

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