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This study reports on a broad-based study examining “how” and “how
much” literacy is used in different cultural contexts. An underlying assumption
is that any expression of literacy occurs within a cultural context
and is shaped by the structures of that culture. Literacy use, the
“how” of literacy, is explored in an analysis of interviews with 36 field linguists
working with SIL International in ethnolinguistic minority communities.
Community social environment is shown to be a strong factor in
determining literacy use. Literacy incorporation, the “how much” of literacy,
is explored in an analysis of data from survey questionnaires returned
by 143 SIL field linguists working in 25 countries. Economic level
and available education, along with the social environments of the community
and the church, are shown to be strong factors in determining
This book is a revised version of the author’s 1995 Ph.D. Dissertation
presented to the Faculty of the School of Intercultural Studies, Biola University.
The data are from the early 1990s.