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Vanishing Languages in Context

Ideological, Attitudinal and Social Identity Perspectives

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Edited By Martin Pütz and Neele Mundt

This volume grew out of the 36 th International LAUD Symposium, which was held in March 2014 at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Landau, Germany. There is general consensus among language experts that slightly more than half of today’s 7,000 languages are under severe threat of extinction even within fifty to one hundred years. The 13 papers contained in this volume explore the dramatic loss of linguistic diversity, why this matters, and what can be done and achieved to document and support endangered languages especially in the context of an ever increasing globalized world. The issue of vanishing languages is discussed from a variety of methodologies and perspectives: sociolinguistics, language ecology, language contact, language policy/planning, attitudes and linguistic inequalities.
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Eileen Lee - Linguistic diversity and endangerment in Malaysia: The case of Papia Kristang

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Eileen Lee

Department of Communication & Liberal Arts, Faculty of Arts Sunway University, Malaysia

Linguistic diversity and endangerment in Malaysia: The case of Papia Kristang

Abstract Papia(h) Kristang (PK) is the heritage language spoken at the Portuguese Settlement, Malacca, Malaysia, by the Kristang speech community. However, by 1984 the creole is considered endangered and is listed on the UNESCO Red Book of Endangered Languages. In 2005 this community language is reported to be seriously endangered. This paper reports on how the ecology of languages surrounding and influencing the use of the creole at the Portuguese Settlement impacts on its maintenance thus contributing to the endangerment of PK. Attention is drawn to how the interaction of macro factors such as the Malaysian bilingual education system and micro factors such as the daily bilingual patterns of communication of the different races in the country, namely the Malays, Chinese, Indians and the minority communities, provide a rich platform for linguistic diversity and multilingualism to thrive in the country. Data of recorded talk in the neighbourhood of the Portuguese Settlement provide evidence of a multilingual use of languages among the interlocutors including the phenomenon of a mixed code as a popular means of communication. Analysis of the mixed codes reveal a polyglossic language behaviour as a result of long term and intense language contacts between the different languages in the country.

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