Chinese Ethnic Minorities and their Oral Poetry: A Perspective from Ethnopoetics

Cai Qin, Cheng Ta Seah

Abstract


Ethnopoetics involves in the conducting of translation experiments on oral poems of native ethnic groups, converting its relevant oral texts into written forms. The theory of ethnographic poetry begins in the 1970s and was translated and introduced to China in the early 21st century. However, most ethnic minorities in China do not have textual writings. Their oral creations from primitive society to modern society such as epics, long poems, narrative poems, ballads, and folk songs are mostly in form of oral poetry. The collection and translation of oral poems of ethnic minorities in China began in the late 1950s, that demarcated the beginning of ethnopoetics in China. In this article, the reasons behind the collection and translation of Chinese ethnic minority oral poems will be analysed. The restoration process of ethnopoetics and the connections between the collections and the translations, and the issues on whether translation is consistent to Chinese ethnic minority oral poems will also be further elaborated. The history of Chinese ethnic minorities oral poetry traces back to a long history and consists of a variety of themes and contents. Therefore, the restoration process of ethnopoetic research on the relationship between oral culture and written culture not only have gained the attention from the Chinese academic community, but also shown strong interests by the Western academic research community and worldwide.

Keywords


Ethno-poetics, Chinese Ethnic Minorities, Oral Poetry, Literary Anthropology, Multiculturalism, Native

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.12n.5.p.6

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