INDEPENDENT NEWS

Explosive” book on Māori language released by academic

Published: Mon 15 Jan 2018 10:58 AM
Historian Professor Paul Moon, from Auckland University of Technology, has released a short book on the present state of the Māori language, titled Killing Te Reo Māori: An Indigenous Language Facing Extinction (Campus Press, 2018, ISBN 978-0-9941192-6-1)
Among the main points of the book are:
· The Māori language is facing extinction as a living language
· Compulsory Māori language in schools will contribute to the language’s demise instead of saving it
· Many of the initiatives aimed to save the language are having the opposite effect
· The insistence on the correct pronunciation of Māori is damaging the language
Professor Moon has drawn on hundreds of reports and studies to show why the current approach to preserving the Māori language is having the opposite effect, and focuses on what he calls the propaganda of recovery: “Every year, we see a new campaign, and new method, or a new idea which its backers promise will revitalise Te Reo Māori. Some show a lack of rudimentary understanding of how languages survive or die, most are ill-conceived, and all ultimately fail.”
Although the book is likely to be controversial, Professor Moon is unrepentant about it: “Te Reo Māori is reaching the point where it may disappear as a living language in just one generation. A completely new approach is needed if there is to be any chance of saving it. If we continue on the current course, however, Te Reo Māori will cease as a living language.
Oxford academic and Te Reo Māori broadcaster, Dr Peter Cleave, has described Killing Te Reo Māori as “Possibly one of the most explosive books on an indigenous language ever published. This book shifts the terms of reference for the field of Māori language studies. Highly controversial but crucial to read.”
Killing Te Reo Māori is available exclusively through Unity Books:
http://www.unitybooksonline.co.nz/nz-non-fiction/maori-tikanga/killing-te-reo-maori-an-indigenous-language-facing-extinction

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