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

Authors:
Date:
2003
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.
Extent:
409 pages
Table of Contents:
Preface ; Chapter 1 Background and Focus of Study; 1.1 Introduction 1; 1.2 The Problem and its Setting ; 1.3 Historical Overview ; 1.4 Terminology ; 1.5 The Bara ; 1.6 Outline of study ; 1.7 Summary ; Chapter 2 Survey of the Literature ; 2.1 Introduction ; 2.2 Perspectives on language and society ; 2.3 Specific issues in Sociolinguistics; 2.4 Language Intervention ; 2.5 Sociolinguistic Research in Madagascar; 2.6 Summary ; Chapter 3 Methodology ; 3.1 Introduction ; 3.2 Scientific enquiry; 3.3 Quantitative Methods; 3.4 Qualitative Methods ; 3.5 Case Study ; 3.6 Summary ; Chapter 4 Presentation of Results; 4.1 Introduction ; 4.2 Quantitative Research Methods ; 4.3 Qualitative Methods; 4.4 Summary ; Chapter 5 Discussion of Results ; 5.1 Introduction ; 5.2 Chronology of Research ; 5.3 Quantitative Research Methods ; 5.4 Qualitative Methods ; 5.5 Summary ; Chapter 6 Conclusion ; 6.1 Review of study; 6.2 Major findings ; 6.3 Contributions of this study ; 6.4 Limitations of the study ; 6.5 Suggestions for further research ; 6.6 Conclusion ; 6.7 Summary ; Appendix A Word lists Appendix B Recorded Text Tests Appendix C Sentence Repetition Test Appendix D Questionnaires Appendix E Case Study: The Mikoboke ; Bibliography
Subject:
language viability
language ecology
Country:
Madagascar
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