Collective (white) memories of Māori language loss (or not)

Nathan John Albury

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Language policies have a better chance of succeeding if they align with the persuasions of the polity, and this is only more pronounced in the case of endangered languages, such as Te Reo (the Māori language) in New Zealand. There, a comprehensive suite of laws, policies, and programmes are in place to acknowledge and reverse the linguistic consequences of British colonisation and previous laws of linguistic assimilation. However, this history and benevolent rationale are generally hidden in policy documents and only implied in public discourse. Drawing on the findings of a large-scale qualitative online survey that obtained folk linguistic knowledge and beliefs about language revitalisation in New Zealand, this paper identifies whether non-indigenous youth claim Te Reo is or is not endangered, and analyses the diachronic and synchronic sociolinguistic reasoning these youth use to arrive at their claims. In doing so, the paper also draws on collective memory theory in sociology to especially consider whether, and to what extent, the folk linguistic commentary of these non-indigenous youth sustains a collective memory of Te Reo language loss at the hands of colonial Pākeha forefathers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-315
Number of pages13
JournalLanguage Awareness
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • folk linguistics
  • language attrition
  • language awareness
  • language ideology
  • Maori
  • New Zealand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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