NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1155381
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Sep
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0167-8507
Great-Grandfather, Please Teach Me My Language!
Ka'ai, Tania M.
Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, v36 n5 p541-563 Sep 2017
Inspired by Joshua Fishman's lifetime dedication to the revitalisation of minority languages, especially Yiddish, this paper presents my personal story of the loss of the Maori language in my family in New Zealand/Aotearoa and our attempts to reverse this decline over several generations. The paper includes a description of several policy reforms and events in Aotearoa/New Zealand's history and the impact of colonisation on the Maori language, which, as seen in other colonised peoples around the world, has contributed to the decline of this indigenous language. The paper also presents the mobilisation of Maori families and communities, including my own family, to establish their own strategies and initiatives to arrest further language decline and to reverse language loss in Maori families in Aotearoa/New Zealand. This article, combining story and history, should be read as a historiography of the Maori language, based on the author's acknowledgement that other indigenous minority communities, globally, and their languages also have experienced the effects of colonisation and language loss. This article, much like a helix model, weaves together a narrative and history of Maori language loss, pain, resilience, and hope and seeks to establish that no language, because it contains the DNA of our cultural identity, should be allowed to die. A table of key landmarks of the history of the Maori language also is included.
De Gruyter Mouton. Available from: Walter de Gruyter, Inc. 121 High Street, Third Floor, Boston, MA 02110. Tel: 857-284-7073; Fax: 857-284-7358; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A