The Raja’s Big Ears: The Journey of a Story across Cultures


Sneddon, Raymonde and Patel, Kanta 2003. The Raja’s Big Ears: The Journey of a Story across Cultures. Language and Education. 17 (5), pp. 371-384.
AuthorsSneddon, Raymonde and Patel, Kanta

The story of The Raja’s Big Ears, as we encountered it,has been on a long journey. In the course of a wider study of the language use and literacy practices of Gujerati-speaking Muslim children in a North London community, children were recorded retelling the tale both in English and Gujerati. The present study explores how the story travelled: from Gujerat, in India, where it is a well-known folk tale, via a skilled story-teller, to London, where it was transformed through contact with the multicultural world of London school children. The study is situated within the theoretical framework of language shift, social networks and the Cummins’ concept of the Common Underlying Proficiency. As the children in the study retold the tale, we looked more closely at how they – third generation Londoners and speakers of a dialect of Gujerati – came to terms with the very formal and unfamiliar standard Gujerati of the story, and how they made it their own.

Keywordsbilingual; education; mother tongue; language shift; Gujerati; third generation; multicultural; primary school children; dialect; Surti
JournalLanguage and Education
Journal citation17 (5), pp. 371-384
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Deposited06 Aug 2009
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Sneddon, R., Patel, K. (2003) 'The Raja’s Big Ears: The Journey of a Story across Cultures' Language and Education 17 (5) 371-384.

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