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Sallabank, Julia and King, Jeanette (2022) 'Language, identity and empowerment in endangered language contexts: Māori and Guernesiais.' In: Ayres-Bennett, Wendy and Fisher, Linda, (eds.), Multilingualism and Identity: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 341-364. (Cambridge Education Research)

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This chapter investigates the identities and motivations of learners of small, endangered and minoritized heritage languages, especially adults. Our case studies are from two contexts which have both similarities and contrasts: Guernesiais, a small, highly endangered language in Guernsey, Channel Islands; and Māori, a larger minoritized language spoken in New Zealand. We compare and contrast our findings with regard to salient factors that emerge as adults decide to learn these languages: motivation, identity construction and empowerment. Established frameworks of motivation and identity did not to match our contexts and emerging findings. Many interviewees reported being motivated by a desire to reconnect with roots, or to reclaim elements of their identity or culture which they feel have been denied to them. Our new speakers of minoritized languages actively seek revitalization through language as an enrichment of their individual or group identity, rather than profit- or prestige-related orientations, or lofty yet vague aspirations to ‘save the language’. The concept of muda, or ‘act of identity’ as a pivotal stage in learning a new language, is especially salient to our findings.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: Adult language learners, empowerment, endangered languages, Guernesiais, language revitalization, Māori, minoritization, muda, mudes (pl.), new speakers
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics > Department of Linguistics
ISBN: 9781108490207
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2023 09:47
Related URLs: ... tives?format=HB (Publisher URL)
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council

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