Date: Sun, 20 Nov 1994 02:00:00 LCL


Subject: afterthought on braids

when people say "braids" they usually mean braided pigtails (a la

pippi longstocking?) because that's the prototypical way (in u.s.

culture, at least) of wearing braids (plural). but i could say "bo

derek had her hair in braids" or "...wore braids" meaning cornrows as

well, if the context allowed it. i do think, though that "braids"

have to hang. so, if you had someone with a cornrowed style that

stayed close to the scalp, i'd say that their hair is "braided" not

that it's in "braids". (however, "braided" can be used for hanging

braids as well.)

i would not be at all surprised to learn that in addition to (or

instead of) regional differences, one would find gender differences

in the interpretation of these words. i know i've had arguments w/

men from the same region about their use of hairstyle names that i

didn't believe were accurate descriptions. (things like: him: if

you're hot, put your hair in pigtails. me: pigtails are for kids.

him: you always wear a pigtail. me: that's a ponytail, there's a




M. Lynne Murphy e-mail: 104lyn[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Lecturer, Dept. of Linguistics phone: 27(11)716-2340

University of the Witwatersrand fax: 27(11)716-8030

Johannesburg 2050 South Africa