Natqgu Literacy: Capturing Three Domains for Written Language Use

Boerger, Brenda H.
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University of Hawai'i Press
This article is a field report on the results of the Santa Cruz, Solomon Islands, Natqgu Language Project that encourages the Natqgu-speaking community to begin using the written vernacular in three domains where English and/or Solomon Islands Pijin were already well established: church, school, and home, and where written Natqgu had rarely been used. Ten factors contributed to recovering significant portions of these domains for written Natqgu over a twenty year period: a new orthography, literacy courses led by a national, sufficient vernacular literacy materials, vernacular literacy classes in two primary schools, a desire to learn song lyrics, later island-wide involvement of teachers and the distribution of literacy materials to their schools, the addressing of perceived language inferiority, promoters of written Natqgu in spheres of influence, computer technology, and friendly competition to gain reading fluency. A model incorporating analogous factors could contribute to language conservation efforts elsewhere in the world. The use of written Natqgu can be expected to continue on the island, since the domains that have been established for its use represent three major arenas of Santa Cruz society. It is also expected that increased use of written Natqgu will undergird spoken Natqgu and contribute to its long-term stability and vitality.
Natqgu Language Project, Solomon Islands, Santa Cruz, Solomon Islands Pijin, orthography, literacy
Boerger, Brenda H. 2007. Natqgu literacy: Capturing three domains for written language use. Language Documentation & Conservation 1(2): 126–153.
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