Diacritical marks and the Samoan Language

Tualaulelei, Eseta Magaui and Mayer, Fepuleai Lasei John and Hunkin, Galumalemana A. (2015) Diacritical marks and the Samoan Language. The Contemporary Pacific, 27 (1). pp. 183-207. ISSN 1043-898X

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The issue of diacritical marks in the Samoan orthography has long been a contentious one, and it is almost four decades now since the last serious attempt was made to review and reconcile the competing guidelines for their use. This article is aimed at promoting a better understanding of the function and use of diacritical marks (the glottal stop and the macron) in written Samoan, as the use of diacritics has important educational implications for students in introductory Samoan-language classes and in early reading programs in bilingual classes. It presents the historical context of the use of these symbols, their treatment in educational materials, and the contemporary situation in which inconsistency prevails. Using historical and linguistic analysis, it investigates how the use of diacritics became so variable and why some Samoan-language users do not consider them to be significant symbols. The article argues that diacritics should be used in the Samoan language, particularly for academic settings, and offers recommendations for teachers to assist with the Samoan language–learning classroom. Our key motivation is that the future of the Samoan language relies heavily on its transmission to younger generations, and for this we need an unambiguous, consistent orthography.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Authors retain copyright.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2018 23:48
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2018 05:00
Uncontrolled Keywords: Samoan language, diacritics, glottal stop, Pacific linguistics, Samoan history, orthography
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130311 Pacific Peoples Education
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130302 Comparative and Cross-Cultural Education
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2004 Linguistics > 200401 Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9503 Heritage > 950306 Conserving Pacific Peoples Heritage
C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939906 Pacific Peoples Education
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9502 Communication > 950202 Languages and Literacy
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1353/cp.2015.0007
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/35063

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