Social keywords in postcolonial Melanesian Discourse: Kastom 'traditional culture' and tumbuna 'ancestors'

Carol Priestley, Carsten Levisen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    In postcolonial Melanesia, cultural discourses are increasingly organised around creole words, i.e. keywords of Bislama (Vanuatu) and Tok Pisin (Papua New Guinea). These words constitute (or represent) important emerging ethnolinguistic worldviews, which are partly borne out of the colonial era, and partly out of postcolonial ethno-rhetoric. This chapter explores the word kastom �traditional culture� in Bislama and pasin bilong tumbuna �the ways of the ancestors� in Tok Pisin. Specific attention is paid to the shift from �negative � to �positive� semantics, following from the re-evaluation of ancestral practices in postcolonial discourse. Social keywords in postcolonial discourse form a fertile ground for understanding how speakers in Melanesia conceptualise the past as a vital part of the present.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCultural Keywords in Discourse
    Editors Carsten Levisen & Sophia Waters
    Place of PublicationOnline
    PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
    Pages83-106
    ISBN (Print)9789027256829
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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