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Hamai Log Ke Boli Our Language : Language Shift in an Immigrant Community: the Wellington Indo-Fijians

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dc.contributor.author Shameem, Nikhat
dc.date.accessioned 2008-08-11T05:20:20Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-10-31T19:40:20Z
dc.date.available 2008-08-11T05:20:20Z
dc.date.available 2022-10-31T19:40:20Z
dc.date.copyright 1995
dc.date.issued 1995
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/26867
dc.description.abstract First language maintenance in immigrant speech communities has been the focus of several sociolinguistic studies in recent years. This study looked at how well Fiji Hindi was being maintained among Indo-Fijian immigrants in Wellington, New Zealand. The Indo-Fijians are recent immigrants who moved to New Zealand after the 1987 Fiji military coups. Their first language, Fiji Hindi, is an Overseas Hindi, a pre-literate language that originated from plantation contact during indenture 1879 - 1916. Fiji Hindi has low status amongst its speakers who prefer to use Shudh Hindi and English on formal occasions. This study also investigated the proficiency and use of Shudh Hindi, Urdu, Fijian and English in this multilingual community. Fifty-three teenage Indo-Fijians were the main respondents, with their mothers as secondary respondents. The teenagers also reported on the Fiji Hindi proficiency of their siblings. Data was gathered with the use of self-report questionnaires (in 1991 and 1993), administered through a structured interview. A Fiji Hindi performance test was developed and administered in 1993. Results showed the respondents had maintained high levels of Fiji Hindi proficiency in New Zealand. In 1991, when the data from 121 subjects (teenagers, mothers and siblings) was used for analysis, Fiji Hindi proficiency was related to the respondents' age, their age at the time of immigration and their length of residence in New Zealand. In 1993, when a sub-group of 35 respondents participated in the survey, their length of residence was the only factor significantly related to Fiji Hindi proficiency. Despite the high Fiji Hindi proficiency, a comparison with retrospective data on language use in Fiji showed a significant decrease even in the use of Fiji Hindi at home in NZ. This decrease may lead to language loss over time. And although respondents had positive attitudes towards Fiji Hindi, when they ranked the relative importance of each language in their repertoire they almost always singled out English as the most important. The results from the Fiji Hindi performance test validated the self-report data although at the higher proficiency levels many respondents who had reported their proficiency at the highest native speaker level were rated at one level below. Given the nature of Fiji Hindi, its declining use in New Zealand and the comparatively higher status and perceived usefulness of English, the study concludes that Fiji Hindi will almost certainly be lost among the New Zealand-born Indo Fijians in Wellington. If this Overseas Hindi is to survive then the Indo-Fijians themselves, with support from the host community, must make a concerted effort to value and use Fiji Hindi even in the home, if not outside, in New Zealand. Only then, perhaps, will this language be maintained amongst the Indo-Fijian immigrants in New Zealand. en_NZ
dc.language en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.title Hamai Log Ke Boli Our Language : Language Shift in an Immigrant Community: the Wellington Indo-Fijians en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Doctoral Thesis en_NZ
thesis.degree.discipline Applied Linguistics en_NZ
thesis.degree.grantor Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en_NZ
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy en_NZ

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