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10 Dec 2009
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4 times per year
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English
access type Open Access

Dissecting the Word: The Use of the Lexeme Shit in Selected Performances of Comedian Dave Chappelle’s Stand-Up Routine

Published Online: 04 Jun 2021
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Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
10 Dec 2009
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

The paper explores the use of the lexeme shit in the corpus of Dave Chappelle’s stand-up specials released between 2000 and 2019. It consists of two parts: theoretical and analytical. The first one presents theoretical and pragmatic considerations connected with stand-up routines, touches upon slang semantics, and depicts the links between Dave Chappelle’s stage persona and the hip hop community. Lastly, it presents the reader with the past and present-day status of the lexeme at issue. In the analytical section of the paper the use of shit in the aforesaid corpus is scrutinized from the semantic angle. The discussion is supplemented with the results culled from the corpus of rap lyrics compiled at the Faculty of English at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. The paper argues that (i) shit has lost its taboo status and is mainly used in both corpora as a less formal equivalent of stuff, anything and something and (ii) Chappelle’s stage use of shit, even though present in a different context and serving context-specific purposes, corresponds to the use of African American rappers in their song lyrics (assuming that rap lyrics depict African American English, this conclusion can be extended to the sociolect of African Americans).

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