Local ecological knowledge in Mortlockese narrative
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.