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Existing research concerning literacy in the Pacific indicates three key considerations: (1) Traditional print literacy levels are low (Toumu’a 2016), (2) the development of culturally and linguistically relevant quality print resources is a key approach to raising these levels (Toumu’a 2016); and (3) the development of such resources can also contribute to maintenance of local knowledge (Paviour-Smith 2005). Studies of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) have also indicated that their inclusion in formal school curricula is an important aspect of the maintenance of this knowledge (McCarter & Gavin 2011). Paviour-Smith (2005) has worked with a community in the Aulua locale of Malekula to standardise orthography and develop materials in local languages with 26 villagers. Along the way he and his colleagues discovered the importance of paying attention to local discourse models. Thus, understanding the forms of local storytelling and the literacy practices surrounding these stories is an important first step in creating effective print resources using vernacular languages and containing TEK which aim to raise the print literacy levels in Malekula communities.
Victoria University of Wellington
© Authors. Published in Linguistic travels in time and space: Festschrift for Liz Pearce (Wellington Working Papers in Linguistics, Volume 23, 2017).