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The Impact of church affiliation on language use in Kwara'ae (Solomon Islands) 1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2009

Karen Ann Watson-Gegeo
Affiliation:
Division of Education, University of California, Davis, CA 95616
David Welchman Gegeo
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

Abstract

Christian churches are central to modern social and political organization in the Pacific islands, yet little research has been conducted on their role in intrasocietal diversity in language attitudes and use. We examine church affiliation and its impact on language use, identity, and change among Kwara'ae speakers in the Solomon Islands, where intense competition for converts and the association of particular churches with modernization and development is having a significant impact on language choice and change. We show that members of different sects signal their separate identities not only through linguistic code but also through discourse patterns and nonverbal aspects of communication. The characteristics we identify are illustrated in transcripts from four speakers, and the social outcomes of these characteristics is discussed. (Ethnography of speaking, discourse analysis, nonverbal communication, language change, language attitudes, Melanesia, Solomon Islands)

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1991

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