Though "recitatif" refers to the French word for a recital delivered in a form between song and speech, I think it's interesting that the term can also be read as the phrase "recite a life" (spoken very fast) with the words breathlessly bumping into each other. The erroneous contraction of recite-a-life into recitatif is something that fits with the way language is used in Toni Morrison's short story "Recitatif" (1983), written to preserve the rhythms of spoken phrases.
For example, the mother of Roberta, one of the two chief characters of the story, is described by Twyla, the narrator, as having taken her daughter's hand and "stepped tout of line." The phrase, of course, is stepped out, but Morrison keeps the spelling as it may be when spoken out loud. Earlier, Twyla describes Roberta as being not good at:
anything except jacks, at which she was a killer: pow scoop pow scoop pow scoop.
Again, the onomatopoeic sound of the jacks—"pow scoop pow scoop"—respects the convention of...
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