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Pohnpei Sohte Ehu: A Survey- and Interview-Based Approach to Language Attitudes on Pohnpei.

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Title:Pohnpei Sohte Ehu: A Survey- and Interview-Based Approach to Language Attitudes on Pohnpei.
Authors:Rentz, Bradley T.
Contributors:Linguistics (department)
Date Issued:May 2018
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:This dissertation provides an analysis of language attitudes of 1.3% of the adult population of the
island of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. It presents both quantitative survey and
qualitative interview data collected July–August 2016 and July–August 2017. The results are situated
within a poststructuralist, postcolonial theoretical framework that critically evaluates the colonial
history of the island and its ideological effects on language use, as well as highlighting the diversity
of opinions found on the island. Because of this framework, the dissertation does not aim to construct
a monolithic narrative of language attitudes on Pohnpei, but rather seeks diversity wherever possible.
To carry out these goals, the dissertation adapts quantitative methods (multidimensional scaling, cluster
analyses, correspondence analysis, and poststratified Bayesian generalized hierarchical modeling)
and combines them with critical theoretical tools such as sociolinguistic scale and translanguaging.
The results showed two main different ideological groups both in terms of language use and language
attitude patterns. Both groups highly value Pohnpeian, English, and other local languages
generally. However, the first group values English over Pohnpeian and other local languages. They
in general only use Pohnpeian to connect with Pohnpeians and in situations related to the soupeidi
system, but use English for most other situations including education, work, media, and government.
This group’s language use patterns with scale-based language ideologies, where local levels of scale
(such as family and kousapw) are highly multilingual, but become increasingly monolingual as scale
increases toward the translocal level. The other group, conversely, finds Pohnpeian to be the most
important language for them overall and tend to find Pohnpeian to be the most important language
in every domain.
The results of the dissertation indicate a disconnect between the current mostly monolingual
English-focused educational practices among both private and public schools on Pohnpei and the
desire of the research participants for greater use of Pohnpeian and other local languages. The current
educational system likewise devalues the symbolic resources of its students, which has perpetuated
negative ideologies about local languages. These ideologies adversely affect both the students and
the linguistic future of local languages including Pohnpeian.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2018.
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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