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Talk, Text and Technology Literacy and Social Practice in a Remote Indigenous Community Author: Inge Kral

Paperback - 336 pages
26 Jul 2012
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148 (A5)


Talk, Text and Technology is an ethnography of language, learning and literacy in remote Indigenous Australia. This study traces one Indigenous group from the introduction of alphabetic literacy in the 1930s to the recent arrival of digital literacies and new media. This unique work examines changing social, cultural and linguistic practices across the generations and addresses the implications for language and literacy socialisation.


An absolutely rare study of how technologies have become integrated into the lifeways of youth. The stunning detail, rich history, and keenly etched personalities make this volume a thought-provoking read. This book should be at the top of the list of anyone interested in youth, literacy, and the blend of old and new in cultures around the world.
Shirley Brice Heath, Stanford University, USA

What is literacy for, if it does not bring better material conditions, more opportunities for meaningful work? From inscribing stories in sand to inscribing birthday cakes, from Bible translation to bilingual education, from early morning speeches in camp to formal open letters, a rich and immensely readable description of Ngaanyatjarra reading, writing and image-making practices emerges from this book. Kral shows how literacy has evolved in these remote Western Australian communities since the 1930s, based on a large corpus of interviews, letters, literacy assessments and school population data. She concludes with glimpses of young Ngaanyatjarra learning skills in informal settings, through filming, art and computer work. The book is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the ambivalence of Indigenous Australians towards formal education.
Jane Simpson, The Australian National University, Australia

Author Biography:

Inge Kral is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at The Australian National University. Her work as an educator and researcher in Indigenous Australia for nearly three decades has ranged across literacy, applied linguistics, anthropology and new media.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate

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