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Reassessing Māori regeneration

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 October 2003

BERNARD SPOLSKY
Affiliation:
Bar-Ilan University, 52900 Ramat-Gan, Israel, spolsb@mail.biu.ac.il

Abstract

After nearly two centuries of contact with Europeans, the Māori language of New Zealand was, by the 1960s, threatened with extinction. Accompanying a movement for ethnic revival, a series of grassroots regeneration efforts that established adult, preschool, and autonomous school immersion programs has over the past two decades increased substantially the number of Māori who know and use their language, but this has not yet led to the reestablishment of natural intergenerational transmission. More recently, responding to growing ethnic pressures, the New Zealand government has adopted a Māori language policy and is starting to implement it. Seen in its widest social, political, and economic context, this process can be understood not as colonial language loss followed by postcolonial reversing language shift activities, but as the continuation of a long process of negotiation of accommodation between autochthonous Māori and European settlers.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2003 Cambridge University Press

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