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At what age do boys and girls become ready for marriage? Describe the method by which marriage arrangements are made. Are the arrangements made by the parents? If so, how much say do the boy and girl have in determining who their marriage partner will be?

What characteristics are looked for in a potential husband? in a potential wife? Ask about physical, educational, financial, religious, political aspects that need to be considered.

Is courting allowed? Do the boy and girl get to know each other at all before the wedding? What standards must they follow if this is allowed. How is courting initiated, and by whom? Are there different expectations if the prospective pair are from the same neighborhood or from another town? Is a chaperon needed?

Are there kinship restrictions as to whom a person can marry? Clan or tribal restrictions? Can two persons marry if they have nursed from the same woman even though they may not be related by blood line?

When marriage is considered, which side takes the initiative in making a formal proposal? Is there an engagement ritual? Who takes part in this? How long is the period between engagement and the wedding? What activities take part in each home (the groom and the bride) during this time? What preparations need to be made by the girl? by the boy? How binding is the engagement? What happens if the engagement is broken? Who takes the initiative in breaking the engagement?

Is a dowry expected? or a bride price paid? If so, what are the expectations? Who does the negotiations? Is the immediate family responsible for the payment (or preparation), or does the extended family also contribute?


Why do people hunt? What proportion of the food supply is obtained through hunting? How is the meat or bones divided? What is done with the hide?

What weapons and what methods (e.g., tracking, lying in ambush) are used in hunting? Are baits or decoys used? Traps? Is hunting an individual or group activity? Who participates in the hunt? Are there any restrictions (e.g., abstinence from sex or certain foods) on individuals before a hunt? Is there a particular territory within which a person or village may hunt?

Which animals are hunted? Is hunting a regular or intermittent activity? Is any type of game conservation practiced? Is this locally monitored or regulated by an outside agency?

Which birds are considered edible? How are they hunted? Are the eggs of any birds collected and eaten?

Do some make their livelihood by fishing? Are fish caught for home consumption alone or are some sold or bartered?

Describe all methods of fishing and sketch or photograph nets, traps, and other fishing equipment. Is fishing done from a boat or from the shoreline? What bait is used?

Is fishing done by both men and women? Are some methods used more by one than the other?

If possible, go fishing with some of your new friends. Have someone tell you about their fishing experience. Do they tell tall tales about the “one that got away?”


What is your reaction to local music? Is it similar, or very different from, music you are used to? Does it sound sad or happy (in a minor or major key)?

What role does musical expression play in the life of the people (from relaxation to religious)? Do you hear music played on the street? in buses? in homes? Are there stores where CDs, DVDs, cassettes of music can be bought? How prevalent is it for people to have players in their homes?

What kind of instruments are played? Do people prefer local instruments or western ones? Describe one or two musical instruments which you have never seen before, including how it is made, how it is played, when it is played, and if it has any specific significance in the culture. Do only certain people play these instruments? When?

Do people mostly listen to or sing local songs or do they prefer songs from the dominant culture or from the west? Is the singing done primarily in unison, or do they harmonize? What types of songs are there? Who writes them? When and by whom are they sung? Which singers, bands, or instrumentalists hold concerts and are famous enough to have a following? What made them famous? What topics are sung about?

Transcribe and translate the words of some song texts.

What tunes are used for hymns in worship services? Are the hymns translations of western ones, or are they written locally? Are new songs and hymns being written? How do new songs spread throughout congregations around the country?

Is dancing a part of the culture? When and where is it done? Who dances? Is this participatory or is it only watched by others? Is dancing accompanied by singing? Are musical instruments used? Are they used by the dancers themselves? What other special effects accompany dancing (e.g., trays, long fingernails, scarves)?

Do both men and women dance? Do they dance together? What social or religious significance is attached to dancing? Are special costumes worn? What emotional states are produced in the dancers?

Are there any dramatic performances? Where are they performed? Are they performed by professionals, amateur groups, religious groups, school children? Are religious events dramatized? Could drama be the vehicle for portraying Old and New Testament events?

Do local dramas relate to events of historical, mythical, or ritual significance, or both? Note the place, date, and occasion of the performance; the subject of the performance and the reasons given for its selection. Also take note of the performers: their age, gender, status in society, dress, etc. What meaning is conveyed by gestures? Does music or dancing accompany a performance? What is the effect of the performance upon the audience (e.g., enjoyment, affirmation of ethnic identity).

Describe an actual performance, the audience’s response, and your reactions to it.


Dictionary definition: Arts and Crafts: the creative design of everyday objects

What creative objects and decorations have you observed? How are they used? What value do they seem to have (are they in a place of honor? worn on special occasions)? Who makes them? Are they made at certain times of the year? Are certain crafts associated with ritual practices? Are any crafts gender specific? Do any crafters cross the gender expectation and what do local people think of these people.

What decorative (as opposed to utilitarian) features are used in crafts to make them more attractive? What standards of beauty are there and how does this affect the value of the article? What artistic expressions are found? Are there patterns which are followed or is there room for free expression? Do these appear in special objects or at special occasions (e.g. house decoration, pottery, carving)?

Are the materials for these crafts available locally? If not, how are they obtained?

How are children taught various crafts? At what ages?

Is the activity necessary in order to have the item? or can the item be bought commercially as well? Are formerly hand-made items no longer made because of their availability commercially? What motivates a person to make an item by hand? Which items are more valued– those made commercially, or those made by hand?

Which crafts bring in supplementary income? Is the income pooled with other family funds or does it remain personal property?


Does your village, town, or city have a “downtown” area, that is, a main shopping center? Or are there big shopping centers scattered throughout? How far is it from where you live to one of these centers?

Is going to the mall or to a downtown area a special occasion? Do people dress more formally when they go? Do they go here for special reasons, like business or events, or do they sometimes go just to have a good time?

Are the shops under one roof? Situated on a main plaza? Located on a jumble of interconnected streets?

What kinds of shops are located in the center you have chosen? Are the same types of shops found in other centers, or does each center have a “specialty?” Is there more variety found downtown than in local shops?

Are any of these connected to a Western franchise? If so, how familiar does it look to you, and how much has been added in deference to the culture? Are the products of these international shops considered more prestigious than local items?

Are larger shops more frequented than the smaller neighborhood shops? How has the local economy been affected by the arrival of megashops?

Are there special venues for events located downtown, like the opera, musical programs, or plays? Would businesses have special events for their staff at downtown sites rather than at a local venue?


During which times of the day do people have more leisure? During which times of the year? What do people do in their leisure time? Do they sing, carve, sew, visit, tell stories, travel, go to a movie, watch TV, gamble, etc.? How much time is taken up with these activities? Are they done individually or as a group?

What do people do when they go to town or to the main shopping or recreation areas? Do people eat out, and if so, how often would they do this? Are there places to just sit and talk? Are there parks and do many people enjoy them? What kind of facilities are available in public places (entertainment, rest rooms, eating)?

What games do children play? Are any similar to ones played in your own country? What toys do children have? Who makes the toys? Or are they bought commercially? Sketch and describe the production and use of one or more local toys.

Do adults play games? If so, what and when? What kind of clothing is worn? by men? by women? Is this only appropriate for games and sports? Are any sports gender specific? Is this changing?

Do any games have a ritualistic significance? Are any used in courting? during the wedding activities? What games do adults play with children? Are these just for amusement, or for teaching?

What sports are played? By whom? Are these played by people in the neighborhood or only by professionals? Are uniforms worn? Are certain sports played at particular times of the year? What is the general interest level for participation? for cheering?

What amusements have been introduced as a result of contact with outsiders? Do people enjoy learning a new game? Describe the rules for playing one or more games.

In which recreational activities would it be appropriate for you to participate? What linguistic or physical skills do you need to develop in order to participate acceptably? How do people try to teach you the rules for participating?

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