Category: Storytelling Items (Page 2 of 3)

Small PNG Languages and Storytelling

Small Languages and Storytelling


Thanks for your comments on storytelling. I too have been wondering if and how the storytelling workshops could have some continuing impact in the country. In fact, I have been wondering how the workshops could have any impact at all.

Recently I read a quote that said, “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” The quote is attributed to Lee Iacocca, former chairman of the Chrysler Corporation. While I don’t particularly like the philosophy and habits of Iacocca, what he says is relevant to my foray into storytelling.

I have tried to get my ideas across about storytelling for the small languages of PNG and the Pacific, but feel that I have only been partially successful. This seems evident from your response, as well as from the earlier talk I had with you and Brian.  It may be that my ideas about storytelling for small language groups (I always specify “small”) are too marginal for current Branch strategy.

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Storytelling Research: Verbal Arts


In this session, we will look at stories to find out what is prototypical about them and discuss research methods that deal with them. Because they are narratives, they have linguistic structure (phonemes, lexemes, morphemes, syntax, and semantics) and occur within cultural settings (pragmatics) and scenes. A storyteller draws on these features and more (e.g. non-verbal ones) to present and perform his/her story. As cultural outsiders we have an etic understanding of story features that allow us to examine and analyze them. Cultural insiders will have an emic view of the story based on their experiences in the world around them. When they tell a story they use the shared background knowledge of the audience.  If the audience is not a part of the cultural setting, it will have an etic, i.e. an outsider’s arrangement and interpretation of the story. Etic and emic are cultural perspectives that we need in order to understand a story.[1]

We will discuss research methods as they apply to story structure, noting initially that story research methodology is simply good ethnology (in particular, participant observation[2]). Part of the process of story gathering in an oral community involves recording genealogies and family histories so that we can know the storytellers and their relationships in the cultural scene.  We examine story performance by spending time with storytellers as part of their audience. In so doing there are a number of assumptions that hold.

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Beginning Storytelling Glossary

Storytelling—A Beginning Glossary



During the past few years, as I have read and written about storytelling, I have indexed a number of words or phrases that are important and definitive for the subject.  This collection is a starting point that organizes some of those terms.  In most cases I have applied them to storytelling, but I do not claim that my attempt is more than a beginning reference guide.

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Some Storytelling Links and References

GIAL 5357 (2008)

Karl J. Franklin

Storytelling Syllabus

Loosen Your Tongue

PP: An alternative strategy

Alternative strategy Part I

Alternative strategy Part II

Contents and Orientation


Why Stories?


Activities: What cultural tradition does your story depict? Outline your own cultural tradition of storytelling (or lack thereof)

Questions and quotations

The Nature of Storytelling.

Definition of storytelling (Wikipedia)

Schank—Tell me a story

Frequently Asked Questions about storytelling

Etic& Emic stories

Note websites:;

The “Big Idea” in a story


PP: Medical Humor

Questions about laughter and humor

Activity: Share a funny moment from your childhood

Questions and quotations

Imagination and humor in storytelling.

Mellon — Habit of imagining

The grammar of fantasy–Rodari

See also Once Upon a More Enlightened Time

Comics [A workshop on line]

Silly Missionary Jokes

The habit of imagining — Moffett

Telling Stories


John Walsh, The art of storytelling

Process and performance in storytelling

The way of the storyteller–Sawyer

MacDonald’s storyteller’s start-up book

Lipman improving your storytelling

How the Kewa tell stories (illustrations from LeRoy and McDonald);

Storytelling in organizations–Springboard


Plot Motifs (Dictionary of Biblical Imagery)

Activity: Make up a story based on Kewa pictures

Questions and quotations

Memory and Storytelling Stories to remember: Companions to the Bible

Children’s Bible stories

Activity: Practice telling the sequence of stories on the scarf.

Questions and quotations

Mnemonic representations

Cloth and Scarf: See: a Bible Storying Manual by J.O. Terry for Mnemonic devices for Scripture memory

Story Audiences


Activities: Take a well-known children’s story and retell it to a group of adults; Do the same with an adult story for children. Attempt to identify Bible stories for the various age groups

Questions and quotations


Story selection and audience; Planning and implementing an event. The risks of storytelling.

Creating enough information for the background.

Children books

Mary Hamilton—Telling stories for different ages at

Power of storytelling–Mellon


Socializing and Cultural Aspects

Oral traditions


Socialization and storytelling; Management

Worldview jargon at (See also Colson and Buckley)

The Story Factor—Simmons

Murphy on Fairy Tales

Franklin on Melanesian Worldview

African Money Matters – D. Maranz

Skim Pratt and Fiese (2004)to understand some dynamics of how children learn in other cultures;

Activity: Tell a story of a lesson learned from your parents or a sibling.

Questions and quotations

Recording Stories

Foxfire series and Oral History

Using Stories

See also: Chanting

Activity: Outline a set of questions for eliciting a family story.

Questions and quotations

Recording Stories.

Recording, editing and presenting a family history;

Greene and Fulford questions to on various topics

Timelessness of stories–Spaeth

Story themes (PNG)

Social dynamics–Lawrence

Follow the options at the following URL for Fieldworks:

Kinds of Stories History and Values in Stories


Urban legends at

Truth or Fiction at

Story Genres.

Pete Unseth on Proverbs in Africa

adventure, history, allegories, holiday, ballads, jokes, beast, legends, Bible, literary, episodic, myths, fables, fairy, parables, poems, family, tall tales, ghost, true; See also for oral lore of various types: animal tale, calls, chants, urban legends, curses, fable, jingles & rhymes, jokes, laments, merry tale, myth, oral history, prayers, proverbs, riddles, etc.

McKenna on parables

Osborne on parables

Activity: Pick two genres and tell the same story using each of them.

Questions and quotations

Bible Stories


Rick Brown – Muslim worldviews I

Article II


Activity: Develop and practice a Bible story.

Questions and quotations

Bible Stories and Worldview

Storyteller’s Companion to the Bible, edited by Michael E. Williams;

JOBS at and ABS at on their new Academy on Storytelling

African Friends and Money Matters by Maranz

Bible storytelling workshop at

Making disciples of oral learners (Lausanne Occasional Paper No. 54, p.26 for chart that includes story and WV)

orality at




Activity: Prepare a chronological sequence of Bible stories.

Questions and quotations

Chronological Bible Storying

See various subsites at:

Links and resources:

Story and ministry–Steffen

See worldview by Slack at

Wright on worldview, stories, etc.

Lovejoy on CBS

Oral Bible and International Orality Network

Songs and Drama

Lord on Songs

Activity: Take a Bible story and convert it into a song or play.

Questions and quotations

Songs and Drama

Brian Schrag on songs and music in storytelling; Schrag on resources in ethnomusicology

From one medium to another, edited by Hodgson and Soukup;

Chanted scripture at; Song/Chant at

Finnegan on Poetry

Short Presentations See:

Evaluation process

Presentation rubric and checklists

Oral Lore

Newsweek on:

Oral History (website)

and Oral History notes

Folklore analysis

Definition of folklore and related categories:

Skim Indonesian Handbook

Oral Narrative Bibliography

Story dynamics–Lipman

Example narratives: slaves

Questions and quotations

Linguistics and Stories

Constructing Stories
Word & scenario

Semantics and storytelling; Story structures

Constructing Stories

Cf. Effective Storytelling: A manual for beginners by Barry McWilliams

Foregrounding by David S. Miall

Quasthoff on Aspects of oral communication

Cognition and narrative –Richard van Oort

Blended Spaces and Cognitive Linguistics

Women and Fire (Lakoff) notes on Cognitive Linguistics

Questions and quotations

Reading aloud

Using Stories

Mike Trainum at:

Questions and quotations

Storytelling and literacy

The oral and the written in SIL fieldwork

Children’s Literature

Enhancing literacy through storytelling—Teresa Cherry-Cruz

Review by Jim and Janet Stahl

Examining Stories

PNG workshops on storytelling (Sundaun & Sepik areas)

Questions and quotations

To our children’s children (To help you on your short presentation)

Storytelling and translation

Freddy Boswell DVD drama on John Wycliffe

Fidelity and translation, edited by Soukup et al.

Translating and Storytelling – Franklin

Answers to a translator by Franklin

Short Presentations Something on “Family History”
Long Presentations Suggestions for presentations
Long Presentations Public
 Evaluate and Review

Major paper is due at the beginning  of the class


SM: Concluding remarks and implications for training (The Oral and the Written)

Mentoring by Franklin

  Student contributions: Major papers, book reviews and book or web annotations


Some web resources to note*: [… a non-profit member driven organization dedicated to advancing the art of storytelling – as performing art, teaching aid, and cultural transformation process….”] [“The International Storytelling Center is dedicated to improving the lives of people around the world through the power of storytelling.

The InternationalStorytellingCenter inspires and empowers people around the world to capture and tell their stories, listen to the stories of others, and use storytelling to produce positive change. For, through the power of storytelling, we can build a better world—healthier communities, more effective workplaces and schools of learning, and enriched human life.”] [“Our purpose is to explore and promote the use of storytelling in healing. Our goal for this special interest group is to share our experience and our skills, to increase our knowledge of stories and our knowledge of the best ways to use stories to inform, inspire, nurture and heal. We also wish to reach beyond our storytelling community to share with those in other service professions; therapists, clergy, health care practitioners of all kinds, anyone who can see the benefit of story as a tool for healing.”] [“The Time Slips Project has generated hundreds of stories, produced plays and art exhibits, and rekindled the hope for human connection among people struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementia.”] [“a pilot project that brings attention, compassion, support in parenting, and dignity to mothers who have breast cancer by helping them record their life stories and personal legacies.”] [“As poetry therapists, we use all forms of literature and the language arts, and we are united by our love of the word, and our passion for enhancing the lives of others and ourselves.”] [“The Center for Narrative Studies (CNS) Washington DC is a multi-disciplinary team dedicated to applying narrative theory to the practical renewal of leadership in culture and communities.”] [“the website for business and organizational storytelling.”] (Two articles mentioned in the Wall Street Journal on organizational storytelling.) [“Here are free resources for storytelling (or story telling)—including the acclaimed series Gifts of Story—all from children’s author Aaron Shepard. (For additional stories, see Aaron’s Storybook.) Enjoy the magic of story!”]


[Karl Franklin, 2008]

* Websites change.  These were valid and active as of August, 2008.

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