Local ecological knowledge in Mortlockese narrative

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Members of speech communities in Oceania maintain close connections to their natural environment, connections that are often realized through narrative. Such narratives serve as means to co-construct and transmit local ecological knowledge (LEK) in a contextualized manner. I discuss how identities of being a “knower” of LEK emerge through narrative in the medium of Mortlockese. In taking an Interactional Sociolinguistics approach to Narrative Analysis, I analyze moment-by-moment identity work via the tool of epistemic stancetaking. The identity of someone being a possessor of certain kinds of LEK emerges at a local discursive level, which then serves as a foundation for the construction of macro-level cultural roles of being an expert in a certain set of knowledge and being a narrator/storyteller, both of which often overlap.


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