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How far can the language ecology metaphor take us?: A Pacific perspective on language vitality (Response to Mufwene)

How far can the language ecology metaphor take us?: A Pacific perspective on language vitality... <p>Abstract:</p><p> In this response to Mufwene’s (2017) target article we discuss the benefits and disadvantages of extending the ecology metaphor into studies of language vitality, focusing on contexts from the South Pacific. We show that an ecological perspective allows us to focus on the local and particular and can help us to avoid a simplistic reliance on broad phenomena such as ‘globalization’ to account for language endangerment and loss (LEL). However, we contend that this endeavor runs the risk of abstracting away from the human experience of LEL into a ‘survival of the fittest’ or ‘balance sheet’ approach. We conclude that, while it has benefits, the ecology metaphor does not ultimately offer a compelling basis for an overarching theory of language vitality. </p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Language Linguistic Society of America

How far can the language ecology metaphor take us?: A Pacific perspective on language vitality (Response to Mufwene)

Language , Volume 93 (4) – Dec 21, 2017

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Publisher
Linguistic Society of America
Copyright
Copyright © Linguistic Society of America.
ISSN
1535-0665

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p> In this response to Mufwene’s (2017) target article we discuss the benefits and disadvantages of extending the ecology metaphor into studies of language vitality, focusing on contexts from the South Pacific. We show that an ecological perspective allows us to focus on the local and particular and can help us to avoid a simplistic reliance on broad phenomena such as ‘globalization’ to account for language endangerment and loss (LEL). However, we contend that this endeavor runs the risk of abstracting away from the human experience of LEL into a ‘survival of the fittest’ or ‘balance sheet’ approach. We conclude that, while it has benefits, the ecology metaphor does not ultimately offer a compelling basis for an overarching theory of language vitality. </p>

Journal

LanguageLinguistic Society of America

Published: Dec 21, 2017

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