The Discursive Construction of Language Ownership and Responsibility for Indigenous Language Revitalisation

Ting, Chienju
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Unpacking the possible ramification of how ownership of language and the responsibility of language revitalisation is perceived and how this may impact language revitalisation, this study uses a critical discourse studies approach to examine how the speakers negotiate their language ownership, which eventually leads to the question ‘who is responsible for language revitalisation’. The data of this study comes from semi-structured interviews with 11 Indigenous participants in Taiwan. The findings suggest that, when deciding who can ‘do’ language revitalisation, only those who are deemed legitimate by the speakers have the power to act. However, the speakers view the non-Indigenous speakers as potential speakers and, thus, were also assigned language revitalisation responsibility. Thus, by encouraging non-Indigenous speakers to become speakers of an Indigenous language via language acquisition, language ownership is shared. This study shows the complexity of how the speakers negotiate language ownership and how this has an impact on language revitalisation efforts.

47 Language, Communication and Culture , 4703 Language Studies , 4704 Linguistics , 2003 Language Studies , 2004 Linguistics , Languages & Linguistics , 4703 Language studies , 4704 Linguistics
Journal of Sociolinguistics, ISSN: 1360-6441 (Print); 1467-9841 (Online), Wiley, 28(1), 46-64. doi: 10.1111/josl.12630
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© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Sociolinguistics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.