Kia Māori te reo Māori? An investigation of adult learner attitudes towards the impact of English on te reo Māori.
Tawhara, Te Ao Mārama
This study sought to answer the following questions: What impact does the English language have on te reo Māori (the Māori language)? What attitudes do adult language learners have towards the impact of English on te reo? And what implications do these attitudes have for the revitalisation of te reo Māori? Engaging in in-depth semi-structured interviews with eight former University of Otago Māori language students from Te Tumu School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous studies (Te Tumu) forms a necessary part of this research project. Following Braun and Clarke (2008), the data gathered from the interviews was examined using Thematic Data Analysis. The fundamental aim of this thesis is to explore and describe adult learner attitudes towards the impact of English on te reo Māori, so as to gain insight into how active language learners within Te Tumu perceive the influence of the English language. The thesis has two key foci, the first is parts of language, such as transliteration, code switching, pronunciation, grammar and idiom. The second is the impact of English within the context of teaching and learning. On the one hand, this study shows that the participants view the impact of English as a form of contamination that is having a negative effect on Māori cultural concepts because there is less use of authentic Māori words and phrases, which in turn dilutes and minimises the representation and understanding of a Māori epistemological world view. On the other hand, some participants identified specific times when English language usage could be helpful to their developing proficiency in te reo Māori. The findings yield that there are certain exceptions such as the use of transliterations and code switching as being a necessary tool for scaffolding learning of te reo Māori particularly during the early stages of learning. The use of transliteration as a form of humour was also seen as acceptable. However, the main concern among the cohort was the maintenance of the authentic use of te reo Māori, more specifically, Māori lexicon, grammar, pronunciation, and idiom. Furthermore, the participants felt strongly about certain aspects of teaching and learning within Te Tumu that privilege Pākehā teaching methods such as the grammar translation method and a lack of attention to tikanga Māori (Māori culture) and Māori centred pedagogies. The findings from this study show definitively that the participants feel that the language is in a state of contamination, on the other hand they are also concerned that there are times where transliteration and code switching can be necessary, even useful.
Advisor: Ratima, Matiu; Rewi, Poia
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Te Tumu School of Maori Pacific and Indigenous Studies
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: te reo Māori; the Māori language; adult learner attitudes; lexical borrowing; transliteration; phonological change; English language interferance; code switching; conceptual shift; semantic change; syntactic change; Pronunciation; grammar; te reo Māori and learning; the impact of English on te reo Māori
Research Type: Thesis