Orality

Author: John D Wilson
Published by: PapuaWeb

"The occasion in Yali culture which became the natural opportunity for initial and continued transmission of Scripture — basically in the form of Bible stories — was in the evening hours which traditionally were given to nunung and dindil ale story telling. Here was a time when the community was used to gathering, and ready and eager to hear a new story."

This paper highlights some of the assumptions about Scripture that can limit or hinder its communication in an oral culture. The author examines orality (as opposed to non-literacy) with a view to demonstrating the capacity and capability of oral media (stories and songs) for the effective transmission of Scripture.  [more...]

The first foot forward in Scripture selection?
Author: Rick Brown
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (18.4 Winter 2001)

Most frontier Bible translators would agree that one of the major goals of their role in the total mission task is that the receptor language community would gain access to adequate Scriptures. Scriptures may be defined as being "adequate" when they include (1) a selection of portions from the Old and New Testaments sufficient to address the basic spiritual needs of that community; (2) in a language that serves them well; and (3) in usable, appropriate media such that motivated members of their community are able to use them for personal growth and church planting.

In this paper, Rick Brown seeks to answer the following questions regarding the adequacy and accessibility of translated Scriptures:  [more...]

Author: Gilbert Ansre
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (12.2 Apr-Jun 1995)

Oral-Scripture in Africa is the highest potential medium of outreach for the salvation message on the continent today and into the 21st century. This is because it is capable of reaching both the literate and the teeming millions of non-literate people.

Dr. Gilbert Ansre (who served for 15 years as a UBS translation consultant) examines the literacy rates in countries in Africa, observing that:

1. Not all people who claim they can read actually can do so.
2. Not all who can read actually do read.
3. Not all who actually read do read well.
4. Not all who read well do actually read Scripture.
5. Not all who read the Scripture do so regularly.

Faced with these realities, Ansre outlines some of the responses made by the Bible Societies in Africa in the 1990s, including:

9. They confess that they have hitherto failed to emphasize Scripture use and call on all concerned to promote it vigorously.
10. Aware of the great potential in audio-media, they prayerfully dedicate themselves to support its promotion.

  [more...]
Author: Richard Margetts

Help! Hardly anyone can read the translated Scriptures. What can we do?

This is a one-page poster or course handout. It reminds us that if a lack of literacy skills is cited as a barrier to Scripture use, then the solution can be found in both literacy and oral strategies. Good Scripture use promotion strategies will often need to move in both of these directions.

So, if people say "The New Testament is not being used because people can't read it!", the response is not only "OK, we'd better do some literacy so they can read it". It should also be: "OK, we need to explore ways of them getting to hear it as well."  [more...]

Published by: StoryRunners

Making Disciples of Oral Learners Audiobook is a 2-hour, 2-disc set that will play in any CD player. This professionally produced audio book is read by radio announcer Earl Schlabach, along with Lebo Pooe, the voice of Trans World Radio-Africa. Hear experts in Orality in their own voices and narratives read by an international cast of voice actors.

Produced by StoryRunners on behalf of the International Orality Network. Disc 2 contains special features that are accessible with a computer.

Author: Ellen Errington (2016)

The experience of going to church is largely an oral one in any culture. This is perfectly acceptable and appropriate, but there are ways that the experience of participating in church activities can be complementary to developing literacy skills and literate practice for daily life.

In this paper, Ellen Errington applies the concept of scaffolding to the task of teaching people from oral cultures the skills of reading and writing. By supporting the learner through these means, literate practice may seem less foreign and new avenues of communication may be opened up. Scaffolding techniques are really just good teaching practices, but for learners from oral cultures, literacy teachers need to use them more often and more intentionally to build success.

The church, though primarily an oral setting, can also be a setting for supporting literate practice, including Bible ‘literacy,’ for all church members. The inclusion of scaffolding techniques for oral literacy learners in the church setting can bring excitement and deeper understanding to all who participate.  [more...]

Published by: Scriptures in Use, 2004

A Scripture-based, narrative approach for grassroots church planters, this DVD provides a brief overview of how members of traditional oral cultures learn and communicate information. This resource introduces strategies that complement traditional communication methods such as storytelling, drama, music, recitation, and oratory. You will observe scripture storytellers and church planting teams in action and walk briefly through 10 bridges of communication to oral cultures that are taught in the BRIDGES training workshops.  [more...]