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Lahu writing & writing Lahu: Inquiry into the value of literacy

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  • Donald Z. Osborn
    Here s an interesting perspective on language, literacy, and perceptions of writing. I do not know if multilingual literacy is specifically mentioned, though
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 29, 2004
      Here's an interesting perspective on language, literacy, and perceptions of
      writing. I do not know if multilingual literacy is specifically mentioned,
      though by the context it is possible that many Lahu learn to read in Thai as
      well as their mother tongue.

      Don Osborn
      Bisharat.net


      Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2004 18:04:58 -0400 (EDT)
      From: jmsp <jmsp@...>
      Subject: Lahu writing and writing Lahu...


      Institution: University of Washington at Seattle
      Program: Anthropology
      Dissertation Status: Completed
      Degree Date: 2002

      Author: Judith M.S. Pine

      Dissertation Title: Lahu writing and writing Lahu: An inquiry into the value of
      literacy

      Linguistic Field: Anthropological Linguistics

      Subject Language: Lahu(code: LAH)

      Dissertation Director 1: Charles F. Keyes
      Dissertation Director 2: Edgar Winans
      Dissertation Director 3: Gail Stygall
      Dissertation Director 4: Carol Eastman

      Dissertation Abstract:

      Informed by fieldwork among Baptist Lahu in northern Thailand, this dissertation
      explores the concept of 'literacy' as it is constructed in discourses within
      Thailand, in international contexts, and in anthropological theory,
      illustrating the impact of this construction on those who are perceived as
      "without-writing" In order to understand the value that written language and
      the ability to read and write have in a Lahu context, and perhaps in other
      contexts as well, I consider two very different modes within which human beings
      relate to written language. On the one hand, written language is a medium of
      communication, a technology for inscribing and deciphering meaningful messages.
      At the same time, but separate from its action as a tool, written language is
      a possession belonging to a group, marking them as people with writing, in
      opposition to those without writing. The ability to read and write a language
      does not lead, as it logically might, to the status of possessing writing. The
      example of this particular case illustrates the indelibility of the
      "without-writing" label.
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