Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2452-1949
  • E-ISSN: 2452-2147
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Māori, the threatened language of the indigenous people of New Zealand, has been undergoing revitalisation since the 1970s. The MAONZE project (Māori and New Zealand English) has studied sound change in Māori by comparing the speech of historical elders, present-day elders and young speakers. Here we analyse the read speech from nine present-day elders and twelve young speakers and compare it with the results from our previous analysis of their conversational material to investigate whether style shift occurs in more careful Māori speech. Pronunciation change was restricted to the backing of long /u:/, a sound whose fronting had been stigmatised and of which older female speakers seemed to be particularly aware. We conclude that, although there is some indication of style-shift in the read material, ‘first wave’ (Eckert 2012) sociolinguistic methodology is not appropriate for Māori speakers whose notion of class and prestige differ from that of previously articulated sociolinguistic norms.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): indigenous language; Māori language; prestige norms; sound change; style; te reo Māori
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