This article examines the recontextualization of traditional Mongolian verbal art khuuriin ülger ('fiddle story') by Mongolian folk singers in the context of the spread of COVID-19 in Inner Mongolia, China. Drawing on the concept of intertextuality, I analyze the verbal and visual signs in 94 videos of Mongolian fiddle stories. The article argues that the minority Mongols participate in the dominant global and national discourses while at the same time creating a sense of Mongolian-ness by marrying Mongolian verbal art with public health messages related to COVID-19. The article also finds that the multivocal COVID-19 Mongolian fiddle stories are a medium to articulate the very heteroglot sense of the world in which minority Mongols dwell and to construct and reaffirm their multi-layered identities. The study contributes to our understanding of how traditional genres and symbols evolve in response to the pandemic.
- cross-linguistic Chinese-Mongolian intertextuality
- Mongolian verbal art
- Mongols in China
- multilingual public health communication