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Title: How documentation needs to change as language revitalization progresses 
Author: Keegan, Peter; King, Jeanette
Date: 2009-03-14
Description: Maori, the indigenous language of Aotearoa/New Zealand, has been subject to intensive revitalization efforts since the 1970s. These efforts have largely focused on the education sector and include well known examples such as kohanga reo ‘Maori early childhood immersion centres’ and kura kaupapa Maori ‘Maori schools’. Maori is fortunate that stories, oral traditions and narratives have been recorded since the 1800s and this information is readily available. A key area where further documentation is required centers on the Maori language of speakers who are products of Maori language revitalization efforts. Aspects of Maori requiring ongoing documentation include speech and written language, which allow examination of changes in pronunciation, phonology, the lexicon, word formation and syntax. Maori is reported to be changing. This is a result of a number of related factors. Revitalization efforts require creation of new language and terminology for the modern world which means that some of the lexicon of younger speakers will be different from that of their elders. In addition, virtually all of the current younger generation of speakers speak English as a first language and this interferes with their Maori syntax and pronunciation. Many younger speakers have also been taught by teachers who are second language learners themselves. One project attempting to analyse changes in Maori speech over time is the MAOZNE (Maori New Zealand English) project which has been examining changes in Maori and New Zealand English over time. Changes in Maori pronunciation remains a key issue amongst Maori speakers as older native speakers are often critical of the Maori spoken by younger speakers, particularly those involved in Maori-medium programmes. This suggests an urgent need for ongoing documentation of current speakers of all age groups in order to attempt to understand existing changes and to disseminate this information as widely as possible, as these changes have major implications for teachers of Maori who need to be aware that the Maori being pronounced by different age groups is different. It is clear from the example of Maori that once a language has undergone revitalization efforts for a reasonable period of time the documentation and conservation needs change, especially as the language itself changes. Indeed it may be argued that the need for ongoing documentation of current language use increases especially as those involved in language revitalization efforts to look to researchers for guidance and advice on future language requirements.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/5002
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

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