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Academic Paper

Title: Rapa Nui Ways of Speaking Spanish: Language Shift and Socialization on Easter Island
Author: Miki Makihara
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Queens College (CUNY)
Linguistic Field: Anthropological Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Spanish
Abstract: The paper examines evolving linguistic practices in the Spanish–Rapa Nui (Polynesian) bilingual community of Easter Island, Chile, and in particular the transformation of Rapa Nui Spanish speech styles. The island’s rapid integration into the national and world economy and a vibrant indigenous movement have profoundly influenced the everyday lives of island residents over the last few decades. Although a community-wide language shift toward Spanish has been evident over the last four decades, the Rapa Nui have in this period also expanded their speech style repertoire by creating Rapa Nui Spanish and syncretic Rapa Nui speech styles. Predominantly Spanish-speaking Rapa Nui children who have imperfect command over Rapa Nui are today adopting a new Rapa Nui Spanish style. Using ethnographic and linguistic analysis of recorded face-to-face verbal interactions I analyze the development, structure and social significance of Rapa Nui Spanish varieties and locate them within the complex process of language shift. (Keywords: language shift, language socialization, bilingualism, language variation, ethnic identity, communicative style, Polynesia)
Type: Individual Paper
Status: In Progress
Publication Info: forthcoming, Language in Society 34(5), November 2005

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