Language, authenticity and identity: Indigenous fijian students and language use in schools

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Abstract

Many indigenous minorities are in the process of revitalising their languages lost through such colonial policies as the use of colonial languages for instruction in schools. In these revitalisation movements, the indigenous language becomes a symbol of group authenticity. The literature suggests that indigenous populations define group authenticity as part of an oppositional identity relative to that of a dominant, or former colonising group and their language. This paper focuses on the case of Fiji, where English is the language of instruction in secondary schools but where the indigenous Fijian language has a strong presence, ironically, due in part to the historical use of the vernacular for academic instruction in mission schools. The paper explores the attitudes of indigenous Fijian secondary school students on English-language usage among peers and suggests that an indigenous group can define group authenticity independently of an oppositional identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-29
Number of pages14
JournalLanguage, Culture and Curriculum
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

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