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Communication and the Oral-Aural Traditions of an East-Anatolian Ethnicity: What us Stories tell!

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Chapter Summary

The Zaza people of East Anatolia have recently been moving from an oral-aural (the relationship of a speaker to a hearer) society to a writing or literate society. In this way they are striving to stimulate the use of their language, so as to escape their language becoming endangered, to adapt to a world based on writing (globalization), to enhance the education of children and the training of adults (the process of cultural identification), and lastly to investigate their own oral-aural history. Century-old traditions that are passed on from one generation to the other, from father to son, from mother to daughter, from the grandparents to their grandchildren and from one social class (religious or political) to the other (class-crossing) all representing the heritage of the ethnicity. In addition to that, due to language endangerment, the preservation and the publication of those traditions are essential to the cultural and linguistic survival of the Zaza ethnos. The stories and traditions carry the knowledge and wisdom of the people, and reflect their recent and historical environment as well as their anthropological-linguistic configuration. History, it seems, becomes the key to the future. Key elements in handing down traditions, and cultural-linguistical reflections of anecdotes, stories, songs and rituals published in mother-tongue newspapers, books and other publications are under investigation here. The main reference is from “Mahmeşa”, a book which I had the pleasure of taking part in publishing. The topic fits well with the excellent research that Prof. Dr. Asatrian brought into the discussion about the Zaza ethnos through the magazine Iran and the Caucasus.



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