Orality and Language  book cover
1st Edition

Orality and Language

ISBN 9780367609375
Published October 30, 2020 by Routledge India
180 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Part of the series Key Concepts in Indigenous Studies, this book focuses on the concepts that recur in any discussion of the society, culture and literature among indigenous peoples.

This book, the fourth in a five-volume series, deals with the two key concepts of language and orality of indigenous peoples from Asia, Australia, North America and South America. With contributions from renowned scholars, activists and experts from across the globe, it looks at the intricacies of oral transmission of memory and culture, literary production and transmission, and the nature of creativity among indigenous communities. It also discusses the risk of a complete decline of the languages of indigenous peoples, as well as the attempts being made to conserve these languages.

Bringing together academic insights and experiences from the ground, this unique book, with its wide coverage, will serve as a comprehensive guide for students, teachers and scholars of indigenous studies. It will be essential reading for those in social and cultural anthropology, tribal studies, sociology and social exclusion studies, politics, religion and theology, cultural studies, literary and postcolonial studies, and Third World and Global South studies, as well as activists working with indigenous communities.

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables

List of maps

Notes on contributors




G. N. Devy

1 Orality in Southeast Asia

Aone Van Engelenhoven

2 The languages in India and a movement in retrospect

G. N. Devy

3 Indigenous languages of Arnhem Land

Dany Adone, Bentley James and Elaine L. Maypilama

4 Orality and writing in Spanish America: a translation perspective

Roberto Viereck Salinas

5 “How to write an oral culture”: indigenous tradition in contemporary Canadian native writing

Geoffrey V. Davis

6 Indigenous languages in Canada

Darin Flynn


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G. N. Devy is Honorary Professor, Centre for Multidisciplinary Development Research, Dharwad, India, and Chairman, People’s Linguistic Survey of India. An award-winning writer and cultural activist, he is known for his 50-volume language survey. He is Founder Director of the Adivasi Academy at Tejgadh in Gujarat, India, and was formerly Professor of English at M. S. University of Baroda. He is the recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award, Linguapax Prize, Prince Claus Award and Padma Shri. With several books in English, Marathi and Gujarati, he has co-edited (with Geoffrey V. Davis and K. K. Chakravarty) Narrating Nomadism: Tales of Recovery and Resistance (2012); Knowing Differently: The Challenge of the Indigenous (2013); Performing Identities: Celebrating Indigeneity in the Arts (2014); and The Language Loss of the Indigenous (2016), published by Routledge.

Geoffrey V. Davis was Professor of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Aachen, Germany. He was international chair of the Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (ACLALS) and chair of the European branch (EACLALS). He co-edited Cross/Cultures: Readings in the Post/Colonial Literatures and Cultures in English and the African studies series Matatu. His publications include Staging New Britain: Aspects of Black and South Asian British Theatre Practice (2006) and African Literatures, Postcolonial Literatures in English: Sources and Resources (2013).