Language Shift and Cultural Reproduction, first published in 1992, is a fascinating anthropological study of language and cultural change among the villagers of Gapun, in the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea. Despite their strong attachment to their own language as a source of identity and as a tie to their lands, people are abandoning their vernacular in favour of Tok Pisin, the most widely spoken language in Papua New Guinea. By examining village language socialization practices and drawing on Marshall Sahlins's ideas about structure and event, Don Kulick reveals how daily interactions, attitudes towards language, children, change, and personhood, all contribute to a shift in language and culture that is beyond the villagers' understanding and control. This is the first detailed documention of the process of language shift. It places linguistic change within an interpretive framework, and treats language as a symbolic system that affects, and is affected by, the thoughts and actions of everyday life.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 450 g
Dimensions: 226 x 150 x 23 mm
'... an extraordinary study ... Kulick displays formidable talents as both ethnographer and linguistic investigator ... This is one of those rare works, which, while highly sophisticated and nuanced, never fails to be accessible and lively.' Anthropological Linguistics