Found in Translating
Reflexive Language across Time and Texts in Bosavi, Papua New Guinea
This chapter explores Christian missionization as a form of cultural contact, which, among other things, transforms vernacular speech practices. Closely analyzing literacy and translation activities as they developed during missionization in Bosavi (1975–95), the focus is on church services in which local pastors read from the Tok Pisin Bible—orally translated verses into the Bosavi language—creating hybridized, translocated, and dislocated forms of oral vernacular speech. These activities are critical sites for studying the linguistic and cultural processes that reshape a language. In particular, the chapter examines the metapragmatic domain of reflexive language—specifically reported speech and thought—to illustrate what happens when language ideologies associated with fundamentalist missionaries, biblical scripture, and Bosavi pastors come into contact. What is found in translating reveals that reflexive language and the ideas that underlie its use are culturally and sociohistorically specific and, as such, do not travel easily across texts and time.
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