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Orally transmitted texts of the minorities in East and Southeast Asia: Suggestions for research across borders

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The rich body of orally transmitted texts kept alive by the people of the border country of Southwest China, both religious and secular provides a valuable source of information that has barely been tapped. The author believes that this time consuming task is well worth the effort. Even an exploratory review of selected parts of texts which focus on matters such as: how identity is constructed; what observations are made in the course of a journey to buy salt; general flora and fauna; and migration have more to tell us than is conveyed by the story. The possible rewards for those prepared to engage in textual analysis are likely to be considerable.
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Keywords: Akha; Southwest China; ethno-history; minorities; oral texts; ritual language

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Department of East Asian Languages, University of Lund, Lund, Sweden

Publication date: 1997-08-01

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