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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Dynamics of Fiji English: A study of its use, users and features Add Dissertation
Author: Jan Tent Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Otago, Department of Anthropology
Completed in: 2001
Linguistic Subfield(s): Sociolinguistics;
Subject Language(s): English
Director(s): Donn Bayard
Jacqui Leckie

Abstract: The Dynamics of Fiji English: A Study of its Use, Users, and Features The linguistic situation in Fiji is unique and complex. Of the three major languages spoken in Fiji - Fijian, Fiji Hindi and English - English is the first language of only a tiny portion of the population (< 3%), yet its influence upon the lives of most Fiji Islanders is profound. Over the last 200 years, the role of English has evolved from being merely a source language for foreign loanwords to one of the three de facto official languages, the major language of government, administration, the judicial system, and commerce; the major, and sometimes the only, medium of instruction in the education system; and an important, though by no means the only, lingua franca among people with different first languages. English is also the main language of the media. It is somewhat surprising then that relatively little has been written about the use, users and features of this regional variety of English.

This dissertation first reports on a language attitude and use survey aimed at extending and updating existing knowledge of how, when, and who uses English in Fiji (particularly in relation to Fijian and Hindi). The results of the survey are statistically analysed in terms of speech community, age, education and gender. The most salient phonological, lexical, and grammatical features of Fiji English are then systematically described and analysed. A corpus of 689 distinct lexical items (including numerous examples citations of their use), eighty one-hour recordings of part-European speakers of Fiji English, and 120 recordings of Fijians and Indo-Fijians reading a short passage, as well as personal observations from conversations etc. comprise the data for this examination. Results of the Fijian/Indo-Fijian recordings are also statistically analysed.