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Making a Case for Tongan as an Endangered Language

Making a Case for Tongan as an Endangered Language <p>This paper examines the sociolinguistic situation in Tonga and discusses its relevance to language maintenance in Polynesia. The environment surrounding Tongan is not visibly ominous: it is an official language of an independent state and is spoken by a sizable population in a predominantly monolingual community. Tongan represents an instance of language shift as a result of globalization, wherein a speech community voluntarily gives up its indigenous language(s) for another, more socioeconomically beneficial language, in this case, English. The paper proposes that language endangerment should be understood in terms of a unit larger than the nation-state. This is particularly relevant in the Polynesian context, in which international borders are obscured by transnational migrants. The paper also discusses some positive roles the diasporic communities may potentially play in language maintenance.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Contemporary Pacific University of Hawai'I Press

Making a Case for Tongan as an Endangered Language

The Contemporary Pacific , Volume 19 (2) – Aug 13, 2007

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9464

Abstract

<p>This paper examines the sociolinguistic situation in Tonga and discusses its relevance to language maintenance in Polynesia. The environment surrounding Tongan is not visibly ominous: it is an official language of an independent state and is spoken by a sizable population in a predominantly monolingual community. Tongan represents an instance of language shift as a result of globalization, wherein a speech community voluntarily gives up its indigenous language(s) for another, more socioeconomically beneficial language, in this case, English. The paper proposes that language endangerment should be understood in terms of a unit larger than the nation-state. This is particularly relevant in the Polynesian context, in which international borders are obscured by transnational migrants. The paper also discusses some positive roles the diasporic communities may potentially play in language maintenance.</p>

Journal

The Contemporary PacificUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Aug 13, 2007

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