Defining Māori language revitalisation: A project in folk linguistics

Nathan John Albury

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


In this way, a polity, in its social and cultural context, can be understood as much as the policies it operates. In the case of Indigenous languages undergoing revitalisation, this allows us to define language revitalisation, and the vitality it should deliver, not through western scholarship but for local purposes with local ideas by examining local knowledge and preferences. To do this, a folk linguistic approach was applied to language policy research. A quantitative and qualitative survey investigated how around 1,300 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in New Zealand define Māori language revitalisation from their own perspective and how they perceive the revitalisation processes and outcomes proposed in scholarship and local discourses. The paper shows that claimed linguistic knowledge not only exists parallel to language attitudes, but informs local policy ideas. The findings indicate that these youth define language revitalisation and vitality in terms contextualised by local ontology, knowledge, ideologies and values, therefore challenging the local applicability of universal theories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-311
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Sociolinguistics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Folk linguistics
  • language policy
  • language revitalisation
  • language vitality
  • Māori

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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