1 THE CHANGING LINGUISTIC ECOLOGY OF THE PACIFIC REGION
An early example of applying an ecological perspective to language decline is C.H. Williams’s (1979) study of Welsh.
The metaphor of ‘shop steward’ is better known in contemporary discourse on environmental issues, i.e. in Lovelock’s remark (1992:121): ‘We are not managers or masters of the earth, we are just shop stewards, workers chosen, because of our intelligence, as representatives for the others, the rest of the life forms of our planet’.
This has been done, for instance, by Grace (1975).
Exoteric languages are used for wider communication between groups whilst esoteric languages are owned and cultivated by groups who tend to guard them jealously against outsiders.
Toffler (1975:107) has characterized the outcome of this type of imperialism, as the work of ‘hard-headed realists’ rather thant ‘utopians or impractical idealists’, thus emphasizing the unintended nature of our current economic predicament.
2 LANGUAGE ECOLOGY IN PRE-EUROPEAN DAYS
This creation of dependency has been documented, in much detail, for Australia, for instance by Fesl (1993).
Prevailing methodology does not appear to be suited to questions such as the linguistic relationship between Australian and Papuan languages or whether Aboriginal languages reflect different waves of immigration to Australia.
3 Consider the contrasting practices of European and Papuan observers, as described by Laycock and Voorhoeve (1971):
A word must be said on nomenclature. Names of languages are cited in the form considered by the authors to be most appropriate, or—in some cases—in the form used in the literature cited; but it must not be assumed that these names have any more validity than as convenient labelling devices. It is rare for speakers of Papuan languages to have a name for themselves, in their own language, as a linguistic unit; rather, they will use a word which simply means ‘the people’, in an ethnocentric
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Book title: Linguistic Ecology:Language Change and Linguistic Imperialism in the Pacific Region.
Contributors: Peter Mühlhäusler - Author.
Place of publication: London.
Publication year: 1996.
Page number: 340.
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