Date of Graduation

Fall 2014


Master of Science in Applied Anthropology


Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Margaret Buckner


Students in Caio, Guinea-Bissau cannot read. This is due largely to the mismatch between the language at home and the language of instruction in schools. Students in Caio speak Manjako, but classes are taught in Portuguese, the official language, which students do not understand. This makes it more difficult for students to develop literacy skills and succeed in school. Literature shows that literacy is achieved best when it is taught to students in their mother tongue. This project involved creating and testing Manjako literacy materials and concludes with recommendations for implementing a Manjako literacy program. The materials included flashcards, sample words and sentences, short stories, and an interactive Manjako literacy computer program. These were developed during fieldwork and were tested in experimental classes with children from the village of Caio. The orthography, developed by Dr. Margaret Buckner, and the materials proved successful in representing and teaching Manjako literacy. This thesis recommends that Manjako should be used in schools before introducing Portuguese and that a new pedagogy should be introduced in schools which focuses on class participation instead of lecturing and rote memorization. This thesis can also serve as a model to aid in the literacy development of other languages in the area.


Manjako, Manjaku, literacy, mother tongue, L1, native language, Caio, Guinea-Bissau, education, orthography

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