Language on the show circuit: A broadening appreciation of critical literacies

Year: 1996

Author: Moriarty, Beverley J, Danaher, Patrick A

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

A significant result of a longitudinal study into the educational experiences of travelling Australian show children has been the broadening of critical literacies as a concept. Critical literacies imply the versatility of language, an attribute that is clearly demonstrated in the show people's maintenance of their distinctive cultural traditions.

This paper examines the language used by the members of the show circuit, highlighting the ways in which their language is modified to suit particular purposes. These purposes include communication within their exclusive circle and negotiation and lobbying with outside bodies to obtain certain privileges for their group. The three-way communication has created a partnership between the Showmen's Guild, the providers of distance education for children on the show circuit in Queensland and the team of researchers conducting this study. This partnership has resulted in a greater appreciation of the value and legitimacy of language used on the show circuit. It also has implications for the language employed in the writing of both distance education materials for the show children and reports about the research project.