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Academic Paper

Title: Being Rapa Nui, Speaking Spanish: Children's Voices on Easter Island
Author: Miki Makihara
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Queens College (CUNY)
Linguistic Field: Anthropological Linguistics
Subject Language: Rapanui
Abstract: In recent years, increased attention has been drawn to the situation of endangered minority languages and the complexity of sociolinguistic processes surrounding their evolution and future prospects. The Rapa Nui (Polynesian)-Spanish bilingual community of Easter Island, Chile has been experiencing language shift toward Spanish over the last four decades. At the same time, however, political struggles over land, political decision-making rights, and control over the heritage tourism economy have been converging to lead the Rapa Nui community to publicly and intensively assert and reconstruct their cultural identity. Although the majority of Rapa Nui children today are dominant native speakers of Spanish, their positive ethnic identification and participation in public cultural activities and in bilingual and syncretic conversational interactions are providing opportunities for community re-valuation and maintenance of their ancestral language. Using ethnographic and linguistic analysis of face-to-face verbal interaction, this paper examines the role of children in the dynamics of sociolinguistic changes and the construction of the ethnolinguistic community.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: 2005, Anthropological Theory 5(2):117–134

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