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Taking a discursive approach to the tellings of legends on a Hawaiian language radio program

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Title:Taking a discursive approach to the tellings of legends on a Hawaiian language radio program
Authors:Furukawa, Toshiaki
Contributors:Furukawa, Toshiaki (speaker)
Date Issued:04 Mar 2017
Description:The field of language documentation has begun to place new importance on collecting discourse data from indigenous language speakers. Studies have shown that a discourse-based approach has an advantage over other approaches, especially in recording the prosody of a language (Caldecott and Koch 2014) and in preserving local knowledge (Odango 2016). In order to expand this methodological development further, I take another type of discourse-based approach informed by interactional sociolinguistics (Gumperz 1982) and related fields such as conversation analysis, which investigates the mechanisms (e.g., turn-taking, adjacency pairs, etc.) of various kinds of talk in everyday and institutional settings (Drew and Heritage 1992).
Taking a discursive approach to the indigenous language of the islands of Hawaiʻi, I report an ongoing research project on talk on a Hawaiian language radio program, Ka Leo Hawai‘i (The Voice of Hawaiʻi). The program, which was hosted by Larry Kauanoe Kimura, broadcast over four hundred shows in the 1970s and 1980s. Ka Leo Hawai‘i aimed at documenting, primarily, Native Hawaiian elders’ talk, and made a significant contribution to creating resources for future generations and to the revitalization of the language. This project has so far roughly transcribed twenty-five shows, or approximately twenty-seven hours of audio recording. Based on these rough transcripts, I have produced detailed transcripts for further analysis according to the conventions of conversation analysis (Drew and Heritage 1992).
While past linguistic studies using discourse data have focused on narrative structure, this study discusses the mechanisms of interaction between host, guests, and other participants such as call-in guests using Hawaiian on the radio, a non-traditional domain for storytelling in Hawaiian. A close analysis of the tellings of several legends such as Falls of ʻAkaka shows the dynamism of storytelling in Hawaiian on the show, as the participants deliver a story collaboratively through narrating the story, animating the characters, and making evaluative comments that relate the story to the narrating event. The study demonstrates that conversation analysis, which has been used mainly in research on major languages such as English, can serve as a powerful analytical tool for less-studied languages such as Hawaiian. Furthermore, the findings of this project could inform the development of Hawaiian language teaching and learning materials.
Caldecott, Marion and Karsten Koch. (2014). Using mixed media tools for eliciting discourse in indigenous languages. Language Documentation & Conservation, 8, 209–240.
Drew, Paul and John Heritage (Eds.). (1992). Talk at work: Interaction in institutional settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gumperz, John J. (1982). Discourse strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Odango, Emerson Lopez. (2016). A discourse-based approach to the language documentation of local ecological knowledge. Language Documentation & Conservation, 10, 107–154.
Appears in Collections: 5th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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