Case Study On Voice And Identity In Aboriginal Writing

Published: 2021-06-22 00:12:55
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Category: Theory, Literature, World, Communication, Writing, Canada, Linguistics

Type of paper: Essay

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“Aboriginal” has since time immemorial been used to describe the indigenous inhabitants of places that were discovered and colonized by European nations. However, the word has of late found widespread use of the term aboriginal in the description of the Australian populace. Before the spread of western civilization most aboriginal languages were entirely spoken languages which did not have any writing system. Before the spread of western civilization, recording of information on written material was not common. This explains why most written aboriginal languages lack voice and identity. However non –aboriginal writers have made large strides in the transcription of most aboriginal languages. One of the major challenges facing the transcription of the aboriginal languages is lack of a universal paradigm or model of transcription. Details of how sounds or voices are represented have varied from one writer to another, leading to great variant spellings of the same name or word. This has consequently resulted into lack of identity and voice for aboriginal languages.
Majority of the Australian aboriginal terms used in English tag along the early convections which involved the use of symbols such as (¯) (macrons) or (^) (circumflexes) for long vowels and (˘) (breves) for short vowels. However, contemporary transcription has been made easy and unambiguous by the use of detailed phonological breakdown and keen orthography. The current practical orthography has been very useful in removing the ambiguousness that was characteristic to the old orthographic models.
Similarly in the transcription of Canadian aboriginals, indigenous words lost their original spelling and pronunciation as different writers rewrote the original words differently. As said earlier, this was occasioned by lack of a universal paradigm of transcription. Every writer was entitled to his or her own interpretation of words within the aboriginal language. This led to a lot of confusion and inconsistence. In any aboriginal Canadian literature it is very easy to find one word with different spelling for one meaning. Transcription of Canadian aboriginals has been enhanced by the use of basic Roman letters.
The narrative theory, with the support of textual analysis has been very resourceful in creating voice and identity for aboriginal languages. Moreover, this has further assisted in removing the ambiguity and confusion usually witnessed when an indigenous language is converted into a second language. As Walter Fisher-the father of the narrative theory puts it; human beings comprehend and experience life as a chain of unending narratives. Therefore since narratives and storytelling are the pillars of this theory, good and analytical listening is paramount. The process of transcription and hence creating identity and voice for native languages calls for keen listening, that is followed by textual analysis in order to place every word in the indigenous language into its correct meaning within the translated version. A good listener can easily grasp meaning of words within the aboriginal language and come up with a correct translation in English or French or any other non-aboriginal language .One unique aspect of applying textual analysis is that identity and voice is created without necessarily losing the original meaning and pronunciation of words within the aboriginal language. Textual analysis pays less attention to the structure of communication, either written or narrated but the content of the communication. Therefore textual analysis provides writers with a very vital tool for transcription. Understanding the content of a written or narrated communication is the first step towards transcription.
References
Van, T. P. (2006). Writing never arrives naked: Early Aboriginal cultures of writing in Australia. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press.
Reed-Gilbert, K. (2002). Message stick: Contemporary Aboriginal writing. Alice Springs, NT: Jukurrpa Books.
Brewster, A., Van, . B. R., & O'Neill, A. (2000). Those who remain will always remember: An anthology of Aboriginal writing. Fremantle, W.A: Fremantle Arts Centre Press.
Fife, C. (2003). The colour of resistance: A contemporary collection of writing by aboriginal women. Toronto: Sister Vision.

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