tossa - STORYTELLING, A MEANS TO REVITALIZE A DISAPPEARING...

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Unformatted text preview: STORYTELLING, A MEANS TO REVITALIZE A DISAPPEARING LANGUAGE AND CULTURE IN NORTHEAST THAILAND (ISAN) Wajuppa Tossa, Western Languages and Linguistics Department, Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty, Mahasarakham University, Thailand, wajuppa@yahoo.com Theme: Social Transformation Research Domains: Cultural Diversity and Resilience Other SubjectsRevitalization of Local Dialects and Folktales ABSTRACT Throughout much of northeast Thailand (lsan), Lao is the dominant local language. In areas near the Cambodian border Khmer is dominant. Suay is spoken in certain areas. There are pockets of Phutai speakers in the region. And various other dialects are dominant in places (Khorat) for instance. In the entire area of Isan, at least fifty dialects still exist. [1] Today, however, central and official Thai is rapidly becoming the dominant language throughout Isan. Villagers are embarrassed to speak their own language in front of more urbanized Thai. Children are taught not to speak in their own local dialects and are sometimes even punished for doing so in the schools. If this attitude exists among people of all levels, we are in danger of losing our diversity in languages and cultures. Thailand may become mono-cultured (language included) and whenever this culture is threatened, we may not have any culture that is considered our own at all. Our one language, central Thai, could easily be threatened as we adopt more technological advancement. This paper discusses a three-year research project, using storytelling to revitalize the local dialects and folktales. The successes, failures, and suggestions for future cultural challenges will be discussed. INTRODUCTION Throughout much of northeast Thailand (lsan), Lao is the dominant local language. In areas near the Cambodian border Khmer is dominant. Suay is spoken in certain areas. There are pockets of Phutai speakers in the region. And various other dialects are dominant in places (Khorat) for instance. In the entire area of Isan, at least fifty dialects still exist. [2] Today, however, central and official Thai is rapidly becoming the dominant language throughout Isan. Villagers are embarrassed to speak their own language in front of more urbanized Thai. Children are taught not to speak in their own local dialects and are sometimes even punished for doing so in the schools. If this attitude exists among people of all levels, we are in danger of losing our diversity in languages and cultures. Thailand may become mono-cultured (language included) and whenever this culture is threatened, we may not have any culture that is considered our own at all. Our one language, central Thai, could easily be threatened as we adopt more technological advancement. We can even notice among many Thai educators who speak Thai with 50% English terms in their discourse. However, the history of the threat went back to 1991....
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This note was uploaded on 10/24/2011 for the course UNIV 2201 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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tossa - STORYTELLING, A MEANS TO REVITALIZE A DISAPPEARING...

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