Importance of Orality

Vernacular media reaches oral cultures by the millions.  We desire that God’s word is accessible to all especially oral communicators. Media options are not intended to re­place printed Scripture, but are meant to encourage the ongoing use of Scriptures and literacy development. When we provide God’s word in a form people prefer the impact is greater.

Our goal is to help produce media that is relevant to the intended audience with local ownership that will grow and be sustained.  We want to present information particularly scriptural truth in the vernacular by means of media that is appropriate to the context in which it will be used; media that addresses the felt needs of the community; while keeping in mind ministry goals and yet develop a sense of ownership within the community that is sustainable over the long term.

Marilyn Malmstrom wrote, “Media floods us every day. TVs and radios are often heard in a language that people can’t understand. The literature just sits, because no one can read it, until it is used for starting a fire. Every culture has its own set of attitudes regarding the acceptance to media. SIL wants to use the media in a way that will help the people want to continue to use their mother tongue. Each language program needs to be able to determine what type of media is best for their situation.”

Dr Herb Klem wrote, “After 150 years of literacy based strategy, we will still miss half the world if people must learn to read in order to receive God’s Word.” More than a billion people either do not have reading skills or rarely use them. The Word must go beyond the printed page to other media, such as video, audio cassettes, radio, televi­sion, filmstrips, and drama to reach these oral learners.” 

Media doesn’t require waiting until an entire translation is published before people can hear the Word.  Vernacular Media Specialists can use portions of Scripture, freshly translated, to produce Scripture audio readings, stories, songs and drama.

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”  Romans 10:17




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