31 August 2011

Arabic speakers boo at names too!

"An imam leading the dawn prayer urged all Libyans to stand united and hailed the ousting of 'the tyrant Gaddafi', prompting jeers from the crowd at the mention of the former leader's name" - report about Libyans celebrating Eid on AlJazera's website earlier today (paragraph 4).

I was struck by this sentence because it represents the opposite of a technique for triggering applause that's described in my books as 'clap on the name'.

A prompt for boos & jeers too
I've noticed in other contexts, as when a crowd gathers on the pitch for the speeches and awards at the end of international cricket test matches, that naming one of the players (or umpires) quite often prompts booing and jeering.

So the fact that a name can prompt an identical response from an audience of Arabic speakers is something I'll be adding to my collection of evidence that there's something very general (i.e. cross-cultural) about the way in which audiences respond to different rhetorical techniques.

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