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Measuring and understanding ethnolinguistic vitality in Papapana

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Abstract

This paper presents a sociolinguistic profile of Papapana, spoken in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, and investigates why and to what extent Papapana is endangered. Language endangerment is the result of complex and interrelated sociolinguistic variables. The study of language contact and use in the Papapana speech community demonstrates the unique ways in which these variables interact and provides crucial insights into factors affecting linguistic vitality in general. The assessment of Papapana using some of the many ethnolinguistic vitality assessment frameworks challenges the assumptions and definitions of these frameworks, and suggests they need re-evaluating, particularly as they often fail to distinguish symptoms and causes of linguistic endangerment. It is vital to make this separation as predictive and diagnostic assessments may have different applications.

References

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