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Linguistic Ideologies: Teaching Oceanic Languages in French Polynesia and New Caledonia

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Title: Linguistic Ideologies: Teaching Oceanic Languages in French Polynesia and New Caledonia
Authors: Vernaudon, Jacques
Keywords: French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Oceanic languages, educational policy, bilingualismFrench Polynesia, New Caledonia, Oceanic languages, educational policy, bilingualism
LC Subject Headings: Oceania -- Periodicals
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: University of Hawai‘i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation: Vernaudon, J. 2015. Linguistic Ideologies: Teaching Oceanic Languages in French Polynesia and New Caledonia. The Contemporary Pacific 27 (2): 433-462.
Abstract: Though traditionally reluctant to teach languages other than French, the national idiom, schools in French Polynesia and New Caledonia have gradually made way for vernacular languages in response to the rise of indigenous identity claims, first articulated in the 1970s. The decentralization policy of France and especially the
transfer of jurisdiction over primary and secondary education to local administrations have contributed to this linguistic and cultural acknowledgment, at least at an institutional level. However, territorial education practice remains strongly homologous with the metropolitan teaching model and, because of demographic,
sociolinguistic, and political factors, the two French overseas collectivities display
contrasting situations with different conditions of resistance to the "all in French" ideology. Following a presentation of their contemporary sociolinguistic
contexts, this dialogue piece traces the main phases of education and language
policy implemented in these two countries from the missionary period to today
and identifies their ideological underpinnings. It details the current major differences
between the two territories in their promotion of local languages in schools. As institutional recognition of local languages is not enough, in itself, to revitalize their practice and transmission, it also uses quantitative indicators to consider the
role of families in language transmission. The essay concludes with a reflection on
the ultimate objectives of teaching indigenous languages.Though traditionally reluctant to teach languages other than French, the national idiom, schools in French Polynesia and New Caledonia have gradually made way for vernacular languages in response to the rise of indigenous identity claims, first articulated in the 1970s. The decentralization policy of France and especially the
transfer of jurisdiction over primary and secondary education to local administrations have contributed to this linguistic and cultural acknowledgment, at least at an institutional level. However, territorial education practice remains strongly homologous with the metropolitan teaching model and, because of demographic,
sociolinguistic, and political factors, the two French overseas collectivities display
contrasting situations with different conditions of resistance to the "all in French" ideology. Following a presentation of their contemporary sociolinguistic
contexts, this dialogue piece traces the main phases of education and language
policy implemented in these two countries from the missionary period to today
and identifies their ideological underpinnings. It details the current major differences
between the two territories in their promotion of local languages in schools. As institutional recognition of local languages is not enough, in itself, to revitalize their practice and transmission, it also uses quantitative indicators to consider the
role of families in language transmission. The essay concludes with a reflection on
the ultimate objectives of teaching indigenous languages.
Pages/Duration: 30 pages
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/42541
ISSN: 1043-898X
Appears in Collections:TCP [The Contemporary Pacific], 2015 - Volume 27, Number 2



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