THE VIABILITY OF OFFICIAL MALAGASY IN THE LANGUAGE ECOLOGY OF SOUTHERN MADAGASCAR WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO THE BARA SPEECH COMMUNITY

Authors:
Date:
2003
Degree:
D. Lit., , University of South Africa
Extent:
409 pages
Abstract:
It is traditionally believed that one language is spoken by all the people of Madagascar. This implies that the standardised form of the Merina variety of Malagasy, also referred to as Official Malagasy, can adequately be used and understood by all Malagasy speakers in every social situation – including educational, health, cultural, domestic, economic, political and religious contexts. The thesis presents empirical research that challenges this belief, confronts the assumption of Malagasy monolingualism as a prerequisite for national unity, and demonstrates that the question of Malagasy linguistic diversity remains unresolved. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were implemented to investigate the viability of Official Malagasy in the language ecology of Southern Madagascar, and to explore the vitality of Southern Malagasy speech varieties, with particular focus on the Bara speech community. A language ecological view is taken of the region under study, firstly of the general sociolinguistic situation of Southern Madagascar, then of Ibara, an area within Southern Madagascar, and finally of the Mikoboke, a secluded area in Western Ibara. The study argues that significant linguistic diversity exists in Southern Madagascar and that Southern Malagasy speakers are not adequately served by the official language due to language variation, ethnolinguistic vitality, insufficient intelligibility, poor proficiency in Official Malagasy, and language attitudes. If all regions of Madagascar are to have equal opportunity for educational and economic development, regional speech forms need to be given a recognized place at the local level. As far as could be established, no similar research has previously been undertaken in Southern Madagascar, nor anywhere else in Madagascar, and this study therefore takes on an initiatory and exploratory role as to its focus of study.
Publication Status:
Preprint
Table of Contents:
Preface x Chapter 1 Background and Focus of Study 1 1.1 Introduction 1 1.2 The Problem and its Setting 2 1.2.1 Background to the Research Problem 2 1.2.2 Statement of the Problem 5 1.2.3 Purpose of study 6 1.2.4 Aims, Assumptions 6 1.2.5 Research Goals 7 1.2.6 Limitations 8 1.2.7 Hypotheses 8 1.2.8 Methodology and Procedures 9 1.3 Historical Overview 11 1.3.1 Chronology of Language Policies in Madagascar 12 1.3.1.1 Before 1820 12 1.3.1.2 Merina expansion (1800s) 13 1.3.1.3 French colonisation (1896-1960): 14 1.3.1.4 Independence: 1960-1972 15 1.3.1.5 Socialist Revolution: 1972-1980/2 15 1.3.1.6 1981/2-present 16 1.4 Terminology 17 1.5 The Bara 21 1.5.1 Bara society 21 1.5.2 Bara language 24 1.5.3 The Mikoboke 26 1.6 Outline of study 26 1.7 Summary 27 Chapter 2 Survey of the Literature 28 2.1 Introduction 28 2.2 Perspectives on language and society 28 2.2.1 Language Models for studying sociolinguistic factors 29 2.2.2 The Ecology of Language 31 2.3 Specific issues in Sociolinguistics 45 2.3.1 The Problem of Language and Dialect 46 2.3.2 Intelligibility 52 2.3.3 Lexical similarity 57 2.3.4 Ethnolinguistic vitality 59 2.3.5 Language Attitudes 64 2.3.6 Multilingualism 66 2.3.7 Speech communities 69 2.3.8 Language Use 71 i 2.3.9 Ethnicity, Ethnic Identity 71 2.3.10 Nationalism 77 2.4 Language Intervention 80 2.5 Sociolinguistic Research in Madagascar 86 2.5.1 Popular Views of Malagasy Language 88 2.5.2 A Sociolinguistic Profile of Malagasy 91 2.5.3 Description 98 2.5.4 Genetic category 99 2.5.5 The issue of unity, one language 100 2.5.6 Malagasy varieties 102 2.5.6.1 Literature on the Bara 105 2.5.6.2 Diglossia in Madagascar 107 2.5.7 The language environment of Southern Madagascar 108 2.5.8 Orality vs. literacy 109 2.5.9 Language, culture and identity in Madagascar 114 2.6 Summary 121 Chapter 3 Methodology 122 3.1 Introduction 122 3.2 Scientific enquiry 123 3.2.1 Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research 123 3.2.2 Selection of Research Procedures 124 3.2.3 Area of Research 128 3.2.4 Sampling 128 3.3 Quantitative Methods 130 3.3.1 Word list studies: Identifying language variation 130 3.3.1.1 Description of the tool 130 3.3.1.2 Rationale 131 3.3.1.3 Design 133 3.3.1.4 Administration 133 3.3.1.5 Problems 134 3.3.1.6 Evaluation and analysis 135 3.3.2 Recorded Text Tests: Measuring inter-dialectal comprehension 137 3.3.2.1 Description 137 3.3.2.2 Rationale 138 3.3.2.3 Design 140 3.3.2.4 Administration 141 3.3.2.5 Problems 143 3.3.2.6 Evaluation and analysis 144 3.3.3 Sentence Repetition Tests: Measuring bilingualism 145 3.3.3.1 Description 145 3.3.3.2 Rationale 145 3.3.3.3 Design 146 3.3.3.4 Sampling Procedure 150 3.3.3.5 Administration 151 3.3.3.6 Problems 151 ii 3.3.3.7 Evaluation and analysis 151 3.4 Qualitative Methods 153 3.4.1 Group Recorded Text Tests: Investigating comprehension 153 3.4.1.1 Description 153 3.4.1.2 Rationale 154 3.4.1.3 Design 154 3.4.1.4 Administration 154 3.4.1.5 Problems 155 3.4.1.6 Evaluation and analysis 155 3.4.2 Questionnaires and Interviews: Investigating language attitudes and societal patterns 155 3.4.2.1 Description 155 3.4.2.2 Rationale 157 3.4.2.3 Design 158 3.4.2.4 Administration 160 3.4.2.5 Problems 162 3.4.2.6 Evaluation and analysis 163 3.4.3 Participant Observation 163 3.4.3.1 Description 163 3.4.3.2 Rationale 164 3.4.3.3 Design 165 3.4.3.4 Administration 165 3.4.3.5 Problems 165 3.4.3.6 Evaluation and Analysis 166 3.4.4 Ethnographic Research 167 3.4.4.1 Description 167 3.4.4.2 Rationale 168 3.4.4.3 Design 168 3.4.4.4 Administration 168 3.4.4.5 Problems 168 3.4.4.6 Evaluation and Analysis 168 3.5 Case Study 169 3.6 Summary 171 Chapter 4 Presentation of Results 172 4.1 Introduction 172 4.2 Quantitative Research Methods 172 4.2.1 Word lists: Identifying language variation 172 4.2.2 Different Southern Varieties 173 4.2.3 Recorded Text Tests (RTT) Measuring inter-dialectal comprehension 178 4.2.4 Sentence Repetition Tests (SRT) 180 4.2.5 Summary 182 4.3 Qualitative Methods 182 4.3.1 Group Recorded Text Tests 182 4.3.2 Responses to Interview Schedules and Questionnaires 184 4.3.2.1 Dialectology: Dialectal situation and relation to close varieties 184 iii 4.3.2.2 Bilingualism and viability 187 4.3.2.3 Social Factors 193 4.3.2.4 Informal questions for informants and participants in RTT and SRT 194 4.3.2.5 Comment 195 4.3.3 Reported Second Language Proficiency 195 4.3.4 Participant Observation, Ethnography and Case Study 196 4.3.4.1 Daily Life 196 4.3.4.2 Exposure to the outside world 197 4.3.4.3 Religion 197 4.3.4.4 Language use 197 4.3.4.5 Schooling 198 4.3.4.6 Identity and Attitudes 198 4.3.4.7 Health and development 199 4.3.4.8 Research results 199 4.4 Summary 199 Chapter 5 Discussion of Results 200 5.1 Introduction 200 5.2 Chronology of Research 200 5.3 Quantitative Research Methods 203 5.3.1 Word lists 203 5.3.1.1 Identifying language variation 203 5.3.1.2 Different Southern Varieties 204 5.3.1.3 Comparison with the Vérin et al. study 213 5.3.1.4 Problems with lexicostatistic method 216 5.3.2 Recorded Text Tests (RTT) 219 5.3.2.1 Measuring intra-dialectal comprehension 219 5.3.2.2 Problems with RTT testing 221 5.3.3 Sentence Repetition Tests (SRT) 222 5.3.3.1 Measuring proficiency in OM 222 5.3.3.2 Problems with SRT Testing 224 5.4 Qualitative Methods 225 5.4.1 Group Recorded Text Tests 225 5.4.1.1 Assessing Intelligibility 225 5.4.1.2 Problems with Group RTT's 226 5.4.2 Interview Schedules and Questionnaires: 227 5.4.2.1 Language attitudes and ethnolinguistic vitality 227 5.4.2.2 Problems with questionnaires and interviews 233 5.4.3 Reported Second Language Proficiency 234 5.4.3.1 Reported Evaluation 234 5.4.3.2 Problems with the RPE 235 5.4.4 Participant Observation, Ethnography and Case Study 235 5.4.4.1 A Sociolinguistic environment in Southern Madagascar: a case study of the Mikoboke 236 5.4.4.2 Problems with Participant Observation 239 5.5 Summary 239 iv Chapter 6 Conclusion 240 6.1 Review of study 240 6.2 Major findings 241 6.3 Contributions of this study 247 6.3.1 General contributions 247 6.3.2 Sociolinguistics 248 6.3.3 Lexicostatistics 249 6.3.4 Language and identity 249 6.3.5 Language endangerment 250 6.3.6 Ethnicity 251 6.3.7 Language planning 253 6.4 Limitations of the study 253 6.4.1 Variables 254 6.4.2 Unanswered Questions 254 6.4.3 Limited analysis 254 6.4.4 Language of research 255 6.4.5 Time constraints 255 6.5 Suggestions for further research 256 6.5.1 Comparative studies 256 6.5.2 Historical studies 257 6.5.3 Intelligibility Studies 258 6.5.4 Ethnographic studies 259 6.5.5 Research Methodology 261 6.5.6 Attitude studies 262 6.5.7 Multilingualism studies 262 6.5.8 Language ecology 264 6.6 Conclusion 265 6.7 Summary 268 Appendix A Word lists 269 A.1 Complete word list 269 A.2 Swadesh 100 word lists elicited 274 A.2.1 Word-forms 274 Appendix B Recorded Text Tests 283 B.1 Recorded introduction 283 B.1.1 French 283 B.1.2 Tandroy 283 B.2 Recorded text: "Rainipatsa and the guavas" 283 B.2.1 French 283 B.2.2 Official Malagasy 284 B.2.3 Questions on the text 286 B.2.3.1 French 286 B.2.3.2 Official Malagasy 287 B.2.3.3 Tandroy 287 B.3 Recorded text: "Bema" 288 v B.3.1 Official Malagasy 288 B.4 Questions on the text 288 B.4.1.1 Official Malagasy 288 Appendix C Sentence Repetition Test 289 C.1 Official Malagasy SRT 289 C.1.1 Personal information recorded 289 C.1.2 Practice sentences 289 C.1.3 Test sentences 289 C.2 Reported Proficiency Evaluation 290 C.2.1 Proficiency descriptions 290 C.2.1.1 Accent proficiency descriptions 290 C.2.1.2 Grammar proficiency descriptions 291 C.2.1.3 Vocabulary proficiency descriptions 292 C.2.1.4 Fluency proficiency descriptions 293 C.2.1.5 Comprehension proficiency descriptions 294 C.2.2 Weighting table for converting letter ratings to number equivalents (Radloff 1991:144) 296 C.2.3 Conversion table for converting number scores to RPE proficiency levels (Radloff 1991:144) 296 C.2.4 Brief RPE level descriptions (Radloff 1991:152) 296 C.2.5 Mother-Tongue Raters' Personal Questionnaire 296 C.2.6 Mother-Tongue Ratees' Personal Questionnaire 297 C.3 Results 298 Appendix D Questionnaires 301 D.0 Questionnaire d'Identification 301 D.1 Questionnaire de Groupe 304 D.2 Questionnaire individuel 311 D.3 Questionnaire pour les dirigeants d'églises 315 D.4 Questionnaire pour les maîtres d'école 317 D.5 Questionnaire Supplémentaire 318 Appendix E Case Study: The Mikoboke 320 Bibliography 322
Country:
Madagascar
Content Language:
Work Type:
Work Type:
Subject:
language viability
language ecology
Nature of Work:
Entry Number:
40447