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How far can the language ecology metaphor take us? A Pacific perspective on language vitality (Response to Mufwene)

Willans, Fiona and Jukes, Anthony (2017) How far can the language ecology metaphor take us? A Pacific perspective on language vitality (Response to Mufwene). Language, 93 (4). pp. 263-274. ISSN 0097-8507

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Abstract

In this response to Mufwene’s (2017) target article we discuss the benefits and disadvantages of extending the ecology metaphor into studies of language vitality, focusing on contexts from the South Pacific. We show that an ecological perspective allows us to focus on the local and particular and can help us to avoid a simplistic reliance on broad phenomena such as ‘globalization’ to account for language endangerment and loss (LEL). However, we contend that this endeavor runs the risk of abstracting away from the human experience of LEL into a ‘survival of the fittest’ or ‘balance sheet’ approach. We conclude that, while it has benefits, the ecology metaphor does not ultimately offer a compelling basis for an overarching theory of language vitality.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Language, Arts and Media
Depositing User: Fiona Willans
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2018 12:17
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2018 12:17
URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/10431
UNSPECIFIED

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