Literacy and Educational Materials
Useful Phrases and Comparative Word Lists for Indigenous Language Speakers
The production of post-primer or advanced literacy materials may include useful phrases booklets or comparative word lists. These items normally use the local language along with an official national language or some other language of wider communication. In some cases the content may focus on linguistic or geographically neighboring languages depending on the desires of the local language community.
The topics of the phrase booklets ought to reflect the needs of the local community. The following are sample topics:
- Anatomy Vocabulary and Useful Phrases for Receiving Medical Attention
- Useful Phrases for Learning the National Language
- Useful Phrases for Financial Transactions
The content of such post-literacy materials can be used for a number of outcomes such as:
- instructional purposes,
- developing reading fluency,
- distributing information to the community,
- second language acquisition,
- language analysis,
Similarly chronological listings of community events and history may also be multi-purposed. In any case, these practical items can become a resource for the language speakers as they interface with speakers of other languages and as they enter into creative discussions and reflections about their own language and culture.
A compilation of terms for flora and fauna is one example of a thematic comparative word list. Vocabulary and text gathering should begin early in a language development program. These provide valuable and useful content for the production of other instructional and post-literacy materials such a dictionaries. It is important to record the source speakers for the terms since there may be significant differences or similarities between dialects. Also it is important to begin early in the program to gather appropriate illustrations/drawings and photographs. When drawings are done by local artists, permission should be obtained from them (preferably in writing) if the items are to be used in publications and their wishes respected as to whether they want to be an anonymous contributor or receive recognition. Early draft drawings, even if not totally accurate, can be further critiqued, corrected and improved as they become an acceptable record of the local flora and fauna for the region.
In addition to their value for use in potential literacy materials, the content of phrase booklets, comparative word lists and drawings become important historical documentation of the language and culture.
Samples and Resources
- LinguaLinks Library software resource: Postliteracy Materials module
- Bibliography of samples:
- Sample Comparative Word List with draft drawings
- Treinta Mamíferos del Territorio Waodani, Región Amazónica del Ecuador (Wordlist of Mammals in Waodani Territory, Amazon Region of Ecuador, South America)