ERIC Number: ED175276
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Literacy as Interethnic Communication: An Athabaskan Case. Working Papers in Sociolinguistics, No. 59.
Scollon, Ron; Scollon, Suzanne B. K.
English essayist literacy shares many features with the discourse patterns of English speakers. Where these patterns are different from those of another ethnic group, literacy will be experienced as interethnic communication. Athabaskan discourse differs from that of English in (1) presentation of self (an Athabaskan is silent with new acquaintances); (2) dominance and display (in Athabaskan culture silence is submissive, talk dominant); (3) projection of self-image (Athabaskan courtesy prohibits speaking well of one's self); and (4) closing formulas (Athabaskan has none). These differences result in mutual ethnic stereotyping. To an Athabaskan, to acquire English essayist literacy is to become smug, boastful, talkative, and arrogant. It is suggested that non-Western forms of literacy may be useful in approaching the problem of Athabaskan literacy. For instance, the Kutchin Athabaskans once developed a native literacy on the model of some African peoples, by reading and memorizing scripture (an authoritatively presented text) and spontaneously adopting therefrom forms of writing for practical use. (JB)
Descriptors: Alaska Natives, Athapascan Languages, Cognitive Style, Contrastive Linguistics, Cross Cultural Studies, Cultural Differences, Cultural Influences, Culture Conflict, Discourse Analysis, Ethnic Stereotypes, Ethnicity, Language Skills, Literacy, Second Language Learning, Socialization, Writing (Composition), Written Language
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 211 East 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.
Identifiers: Athapascan (Tribe); Kutchin (Tribe)