Your language or ours? Inclusion and exclusion of non-indigenous majorities in Māori and Sámi language revitalization policy

Nathan John Albury

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Since the second half of the twentieth century, post-colonial governments have commonly sought to revitalize the indigenous languages their imperialist predecessors hoped to eradicate. Although the impetus to revitalize is shared, the question of excluding or including the non-indigenous majority in the revitalization process, and encouraging them to become new speakers of the language, is a matter of politics and ideology. This paper draws on neotraditionalism and biculturalism as ideological premises in language revitalization policy to compare and contrast the nature and experiences of government policy in New Zealand and Norway as two such examples. In doing so, the paper sees neotraditionalism and biculturalism as ends of an ideological continuum that can plot policy frameworks and their changes. It finds, however, that neither has resulted in greater language revitalization and that both countries, and especially New Zealand, have flirted with a shift on the ideological continuum. Nonetheless, it appears that New Zealand's biculturalist approach has normalized the indigenous language to the extent its revitalization enjoys more support from the non-indigenous polity than in neotraditionalist Norway, where Sámi languages and policy are territorialized and invisible to most Norwegians.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-334
Number of pages20
JournalCurrent Issues in Language Planning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • biculturalist policy
  • Māori
  • neotraditionalist policy
  • new speakers
  • Sámi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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