LINGUIST List 15.1265

Tue Apr 20 2004

Diss: Anthropological Ling: Pine: 'Lahu...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. jmsp, Lahu writing and writing Lahu...

Message 1: Lahu writing and writing Lahu...

Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2004 18:04:58 -0400 (EDT)
From: jmsp <>
Subject: Lahu writing and writing Lahu...

Institution: University of Washington at Seattle
Program: Anthropology
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Judith M.S. Pine

Dissertation Title: Lahu writing and writing Lahu: An inquiry into the
value of literacy

Linguistic Field: Anthropological Linguistics

Subject Language: Lahu(code: LAH)

Dissertation Director 1: Charles F. Keyes
Dissertation Director 2: Edgar Winans
Dissertation Director 3: Gail Stygall
Dissertation Director 4: Carol Eastman

Dissertation Abstract:

Informed by fieldwork among Baptist Lahu in northern Thailand, this
dissertation explores the concept of 'literacy' as it is constructed
in discourses within Thailand, in international contexts, and in
anthropological theory, illustrating the impact of this construction
on those who are perceived as "without-writing" In order to understand
the value that written language and the ability to read and write have
in a Lahu context, and perhaps in other contexts as well, I consider
two very different modes within which human beings relate to written
language. On the one hand, written language is a medium of
communication, a technology for inscribing and deciphering meaningful
messages. At the same time, but separate from its action as a tool,
written language is a possession belonging to a group, marking them as
people with writing, in opposition to those without writing. The
ability to read and write a language does not lead, as it logically
might, to the status of possessing writing. The example of this
particular case illustrates the indelibility of the "without-writing"
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