LD&C Special Publication No. 13: Documenting Variation in Endangered Languages

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    Whole volume
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2017-06-01)
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    cover
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2017-06-01)
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    Front matter
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2017-06-01)
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    Areal analysis of language attitudes and practices: A case study from Nepal
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2017-06-01) Hildebrandt, Kristine A. ; Hu, Shunfu
    This paper has two aims. One aim is to consider non-structural (language attitude and use) variables as valid in the field of dialect and linguistic geography in an inner Himalayan valley of Nepal, where four languages have traditionally co-existed asymmetrically and which demonstrate different degrees of vitality vs. endangerment. The other aim is an application of modified spatiality as it aligns with speaker attitudes and practices amidst recent and ongoing socio-economic and population changes. We demonstrate that variation in self-reported attitudes and practices across languages in this region can be explained as much with adjusted spatial factors (labeled ‘social space’) as with traditional social factors (e.g. gender, age, formal education, occupation, etc.). As such, our study contributes to a discourse on the role and potential of spatiality in sociolinguistic analyses of smaller language communities.
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    Language shift and linguistic insecurity
    (University of Hawai'i Press, 2017-06-01) Abtahian, Maya Ravindranath ; Quinn, Conor McDonough
    Variation in language is constant and inevitable. In a vital speech community some variation disappears as speakers age, and some results in long-term change, but all change will be preceded by a period of variation. Speakers of endangered languages may perceive variation in an especially negative light when it is thought to be due to contact with the dominant language. This contributes to negative evaluations of young people’s speech by older speakers, and in turn contributes to the linguistic insecurity of young speakers, which may result in even further shift toward the dominant language. In this paper we discuss language variation in the context of shift with respect to the notion of linguistic insecurity and what we identify as three distinct types of linguistic insecurity, particularly in cases of indigenous language loss in the Americas. We conclude with some observations on the positive results of directly addressing linguistic insecurity in language maintenance/revitalization programs.