martes, 24 de febrero de 2009

Can a Native Language Survive the Arrival of a New Language?

How English Language Changed the Maori Language
October 06, 2006 by


Can a Native Language Survive the Arrival of a New Language?



When European settlers first arrived in New Zealand, the Maori slowly decided to learn their foreign language: English. However, this choice caused the native language to be pushed into the minority category. The introduction of English to New Zealand can be seen as an example how any
The type of English in an established country can forever cause the native language to have to fight to survive. This paper will examine how the introduction of the English language forced a once prominent language to either adapt or slowly disappear.English Arrival in New ZealandBefore discussing the role of English in New Zealand and the Maori language, it is important to give the history of how English got into New Zealand in the first place. Despite Captain James Cook introducing English to New Zealand in 1769, the language left as soon as he did. In fact, in regards to many of the different varieties of World English (British, Australian, American), New Zealand English is new, not even 200 years old.In the early 1800s, primarily European missionaries, sailors, and traders who had settled in the country spoke English. By the 1830s, English use was increasing in public office use, but Maori was still the major language. In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi signed between the Maori chiefs and the British Government, lead to English being further spread in the country. By the 1860s, English was the majority language and the once predominant Maori became the minority. The Maori Language New Zealand HistoryThe history of the Maori language in New Zealand is a bit lesser known. What is known is that the Polynesian ancestors of Maori arrived centuries ahead of the first European settlers. It is also known that that Maori is, naturally, related to other Polynesian languages such as Tahitian, Samoan, and Hawaiian. An example of the relationship comes in the form of the Maori word aroha to the Hawaiian aloha.

The Language Shift


The story of what happened to cause the language shift in English favor begins with the signing of the treaty. The early missionaries did not want to displace Maori people. In fact, did feel like intruders on an unspoiled part of nature. The Maoris and their language were held in high
regard. Many of the settlers though that if the Maoris were to learn English, then their language would become a dead one. However, it wasn't long before their opinion change to one of English as a means to preserve the language. They felt that unless the Maori learned English, their language would "become inundated by English borrowings and calques."(Turner, 166) Thus, the loan words were introduced to the New Zealand English.Despite the loan words, the language shift greatly effected the place of the Maori language and it has since never recovered. The first blow came during the late 1800s, when the English school system was introduced for everyone. Instead of promoting bilingualism, the use of Maori was forbidden in the school system. This caused a great population of Maoris to learn English because it was required. Soon, even more joined in learning the new language because it opened up more opportunities and carried prestige due to the gold rush and government positions. Though, the language was still used in the home, those who once wanted to preserve their language had no choice but to learn English because they would be at a disadvantage not to. During this time many loan words continued to enter New Zealand English (NZE) and retained it reverence, but English was just the language to know.By the early 20th century, the flow of loan words had stopped and English was the major language. In the 1980s, more than 80 percent of Maori spoke English better than their once native language. It was during this time that the Maori leaders realized that their language was in danger of being lost. This lead to the development of Maori-language revitalization programs. For instance, many school systems created Te reo (Maori) schools so that children ages 5 to 17 could learn Maori and English together. It wasn't too long before NZE began to incorporate Maori words into the language again. Twenty years later, the immersion techniques have increased in size. While colleges and universities offer courses on the language, there has also finally been a Maori-English dictionary compiled and published by Oxford.


New Zealand English and Maori Language
Although Maori was replaced as the predominant language in New Zealand, there is no doubt that the language influenced the development of New Zealand English in some form. There are many words in NZE that have been copied in Maori as well as hundreds of words in Maori influenced by English. Place names, many trees and birds have all been named in Maori. Also, basic Maori greeting and cultural terms have been known to be used in NZE, albeit sometimes anglicized. According to G.W. Turner, the relationship between English and Maori in New Zealand is "rather like that between the Germanic and Celtic languages in fifth-century Britain" in that "[l]oans from the conquered to the conquering language are few and especially in place-names and otherwise mainly in words for the natural environment and for unpretentious things." (166-67) This observation is quite true as evidenced in the NZE vocabulary. Indigenous birds such as kiwi, tui, and kea and the trees such as kauri and totara are all Maori words. In addition to these loan words, the language shift has also impacted pronunciation. The following, taken from the Oxford Dictionary of New Zealand English, describes the "Anglicization" of the Maori loan words: "NZE speakers have traditionally found it difficult to distinguish length of vowel in Maori and tend to apply a variety of English rules (e.g. Maori mana /mana/ can become NZE /man?/ or /mΛn?/).... noticeable Anglicization [include] the Maori /O: / (NZE /Λu/)." Another change that also occurred with the final vowel being reduced to a schwa.In the 1980s, though, the Anglicization held back and pronunciation became a somewhat confusing mix as some natives continued the practice, while others changed. Examples of this are in
Paraparaumu – para-pram
Pauatahanui – part-a-noo-ee
Oakura – okra
Hawera – hara


In terms of English language influence on Maori, there is a research that current young Maori speakers have been influenced in terms of pronunciation, sentence structure/ grammar, and vocabulary. As a result, the English and Maori relationship has also transformed into a type dialect.
This is called "Maori Accented English." This recently developed form of NZE has reflects the Maori influence on the language despite Maori not having an influence on NZE. Some of the characteristics include "syllable-timed instead of stressed-timed rhythm; much use of the particle eh?" It is also said that there is a softer voice quality all together.Another type of Maori English is called Maori Vernacular English (MVE). MVE is defined as "a non-standard variety of New Zealand English" and may be closely related to other vernacular dialects (AAVE). However, there has been research to say that there was barely time for a Pidgin English to develop during the language shift from Maori to English unlike the pidgin which AAVE is related to. One hypothesis is that "the large scale shift from Maori to English would increase the likelihood of transfer of Maori language features into English spoken by Maori people." It is also hypothesize that it may have been derived from the 1980s revitalization for a "greater interest in Maori language and identity." (Bell, 222-48)New Zealand English and Maori In 2005According to the recent article, “Kiwi Tongues at War,” New Zealand English is both helping and harming the language and culture. The language is “by its sheer boisterous vitality [is] knocking the wind out of Maori” despite “[giving] oxygen to a few hundred Maori words. The article goes on to suggest that the reason that NZE has failed to completely preserve Maori stems from the new to Anglicize the indigenous language. While it does use loan words from Maori, the English changes them to reflect the English grammar rules. All the English- Maori words use –ed, -ing, and –s (for plural) endings. The Language Commission in New Zealand, which helped the Maori promote their language, again has attempted to protect the language again. The Maori language has an updated vocabulary, important documents are being translated and they have continued their push of bilingual programs in school.


For all their efforts, though, it is the young people in New Zealand that have helped to shape the relationship between English and Maori. They have learned English first and Maori second and have adjusted their writing and oral communications reflect the change. In fact, the younger
generation has changed the grammar of Maori to mimic English. The grammar structures are just like English grammar structures as they have swapped the Maori to match English. Also, they trade Maori words for English ones everyday. And as the te reo learners’ increases to the thousands, it is expected that this trend will continue.ConclusionThe original intent of this paper was to examine how English preserved a native language. However, it is obvious that it may be doing barely that. There is no doubt that Maori will continue to be known in New Zealand, but the question is will it continue to be a spoken language in its pure form or a language that is used in hybrid words or to name everything in the country’s nature? The prediction of the early settlers has not came true yet, but if New Zealand English continues to evolve using borrowed words from Maori, then it could spell the end for the original language. Despite the addition of thousands of Maori-language immersion programs, the fact remains that English is a powerful language in every part of the world and that may never change. The best Maori could hope for in terms of it preservation is if the English speakers embraced the language in a respectful manner. Instead of changing the words to fit the English rules, it could keep them more in their original form. However, the fact that the New Zealanders love to incorporate Maori words into their vocabulary at all is a sign of a good start. Most of the English vocabulary derives from some type of foreign language. The knowledge that barely 200 years ago, New Zealanders didn’t care about English, should serve as an example for all of the recent new World Englishes. While it may seem impossible for centuries old languages such as Spanish, Russian, and any Asian language to be replaced by English completely, it could happen. After all, the Polynesians had settled in New Zealand centuries before Europeans sailed down.

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