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Attitudes toward Tetun Dili, A Language of East Timor.

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Title:Attitudes toward Tetun Dili, A Language of East Timor.
Authors:Ross, Melody A.
Contributors:Linguistics (department)
Keywords:language attitudes
East Timor
Tetun Dili
Date Issued:Dec 2017
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:This dissertation is the first documentation of the attitudes of East Timorese people
toward Tetun Dili. Despite having a large speaker population and co-official status within East
Timor, is not an extensively documented language. There are few dictionaries, even fewer
grammatical descriptions, and almost no sociolinguistic literature on the language. The aim of
this dissertation is to contribute to this literature by describing the attitudes held by Timorese
toward this language, and to situate those language attitudes within the larger framework of
language ideologies.
Language attitudes are the beliefs and stereotypes that individuals hold toward linguistic
varieties which are informed by (or reactions against) dominant societal language ideologies.
Language ideologies are the environment in which attitudes reside, and their relationship of
influence is bidirectional. The data used for these two attitude studies come from language
attitude surveys and sociolinguistic interviews. From this data emerged five general attitudinal
The most important and robust is the theme of Tetun as a social necessity in East Timor.
It is highly ranked in nearly every social setting, and is viewed as vital for daily life in Timor.
The second is the theme of Tetun as a marker of East Timorese identity. It is viewed as an
important part of Timorese-ness, and Timorese have an emotional attachment to it. The third
theme is that of Tetun as the target of critique. It is viewed as inappropriate in certain situations
or domains, and has some negative stereotypes associated with it. The fourth theme is that of
Tetun as “developing” or needing “development”. This was seen in the descriptive section
especially, but also in views of Tetun utility. The fifth theme is that of Tetun as the locus of
insecurity, either in personal use or more directly concerning the language itself. These five
trends will be explored in depth in both the interview and survey sections of this dissertation,
with a special emphasis on their relationship to dominant language ideologies in East Timor.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2017.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Linguistics

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