The Journeys of Besieged Languages
This volume allows 13 besieged languages to tell their own stories by way of their consummate battles with languages that dominate their traditional spaces and ways of thinking. It tells of the value of these languages through linkages with the past and present and where continuation of this might further share those values with wider audiences beyond the current language users. As such, the book captures a discourse on the existence of minority languages in countries and states where they are under threat by the ‘Governing’ language.
After receiving an MA in New Zealand History, Dr Delyn Day began learning the Māori language at the University of Otago, New Zealand. For the past two years, she has worked as a policy analyst for Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission).
Dr Poia Rewi is Dean of Te Tumu (the School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies) at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. He has been lecturing in the area of Māori and Indigenous studies since 1992, and holds a BSocSci and an MA in Māori from Waikato University, New Zealand, and a PhD in Māori Studies from the University of Otago. His areas of interest include the Māori language, Māori customary practices, and Māori performing arts.
Dr Rawinia Higgins is Pro-Vice Chancellor of Māori at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She has been an academic since 1994, and her interests cover Māori language; policy, status, acquisition, maintenance, identity and rights; Māori customary practices; performing arts and moko; and Māori tribal histories and politics. As a corollary of her academic career experience and research, she has published and presented on a range of topics, as well as being contracted to undertake research projects for the Kōhanga Reo National Trust (a national pre-school Māori language immersion initiative) and Te Ataarangi (a national adult Māori language learning programme). Beyond the academic context, she has engaged with Māori stakeholders throughout the country, assisting with local tribal research on asset management and lending advice on academic and social development. She is also a Board member of Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission) and Te Māngai Pāho (the Māori Broadcasting Commission).
"Written in a variety of styles, from the recounting of personal experiences through to highly technical analyses, the overall result is a fascinating picture of the major concerns surrounding threatened languages, and includes compelling arguments for continuing and expanding the efforts to rejuvenate them, ways of assessing the dangers they face, and suggestions and illustrations of what has succeeded and what hasn’t. [...] [T]his book is an accessible and absorbing contribution to a very topical issue, and it should be of considerable interest to both the general reader and the specialist."
Tony Chapelle FlaxFlower Reviews, 27.06.2017
“One of the strengths of The Journeys of Besieged Languages lies in the diversity and depth of the reflections of the contributors to the book. […] The book presents, sometimes with sadness, sometimes with optimism, the complexity of the challenges and issues related to the maintenance and survival of these languages, and these perspectives give the whole work a deeply human character, something which is accentuated by the fact that most of them are testimonies and lived experiences lived of the authors. The reader can hardly remain indifferent to it. It is this character that connects all these languages together and, beyond their differences and the distance between them, it is indeed the common thread of this trip.”
Linguistic Minorities and Society 9 (2018)
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