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History of the Maori language - Research Paper Example

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According to Flittner (2001), the history of Maori language records some inconsistent trends of popularity and unpopularity in the 18th and 19th Centuries historical epochs. At the start of the 19th Century, Maori was the most popular language in New Zealand spoken by the…
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History of the Maori Language History of the Maori Language According to Flittner (2001), the history of Maori language records some inconsistent trends of popularity and unpopularity in the 18th and 19th Centuries historical epochs. At the start of the 19th Century, Maori was the most popular language in New Zealand spoken by the majority of New Zealand natives. However, the arrival of English language, which came with settlers and missionaries, resulted to a decrease in the Maori language use. The decline worsened as time passed and settlers continued to occupy many parts of New Zealand.
The decline in the use of Maori language raised concern to many people, and they feared that the language might disappear if measures were not taken to save it. In the 1980s, there were vigorous initiatives that were aimed at reviving the Maori language (NZ History, 2012). These initiatives yielded admirable results as more than a hundred thousand people could speak and understand the language without any difficulties. The Maori language evolved over time, and it changed as people separated in to villages and occupied different geographical locations.
The regional variations came up due to the differences in regional climates and modes of subsistence of the regional constituents. It is imperative to note that the modern Maori language is different from the native language, as it has borrowed many terminologies from other languages like English. The high number of settlers increased the need for communication in New Zealand, and the Maori language did not meet the entire demands for communication (NZ History, 2012). The missionaries imitated the documentation of the Maori language to preserve and protect it from disappearing. Later, in the 1820s, a professor from Cambridge University systematized the Maori language.
In the 1870s, the Maori language was the official language of communication with the missionaries, their children and the government officials during official New Zealand national functions (Flittner, 2001). Later on, the Maori language started loosing its popularity to English language. The native speakers of the Maori language questioned the language and its representation of their cultural identity. The Maori native speakers lost pride in their language since they deserved a language that could represent their true identity as a distinct culture. Further, many schools scrapped off the Maori language from the school syllabus, and any student who was caught speaking the Maori language was severely punished (NZ History, 2012).
The Second World War gave the Maori language a final blow; it lured many people in the cities where the Maori language was not common. Teachers in the rural schools demanded that their students should learn to speak the English language so that they could secure jobs in the city (NZ History, 2012). English became the business language and the language of communication at the job place. As a result of the Second World War, the cities witnessed an ardent emergence of many jobs. Flittner (2001) asserts that the overall effect of these jobs on the Maori language was devastating because even native speakers native speakers parents discouraged their children from speaking their native language. They focussed on jobs in towns. Eventually, almost everyone wanted to learn and speak English language. Today, the number of people who speak the pure Maori language in New Zealand is negligible.
References
Flittner J. (2001). The Influence of Maori Vocabulary on New Zealand English. London: GRIN Verlag.
NZ History. (2012). History of the Maori Language-Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori.Retrieved from
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/tereo-introduction Read More
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