Article published in:Social Lives in Language – Sociolinguistics and multilingual speech communities: Celebrating the work of Gillian Sankoff
Edited by Miriam Meyerhoff and Naomi Nagy
[IMPACT: Studies in Language, Culture and Society 24] 2008
► pp. 43–67
Language repertoires and the middle class in urban Solomon Islands
In Honiara, Solomon Islands, 64 vernacular languages coexist with Pijin, the lingua franca and linguistic cement of the town, and with English, the former colonial language. The chapter shows how the modalities of urban linguistic repertoires vary with different phases of Honiara’s transformation and with the life course of individuals. There is a reconfiguration of the linguistic repertoires of most urbanites and language shift for some, particularly the younger urban middle-class. The first section presents a background on multilingualism in the Solomon Islands and the typical linguistic repertoires prevalent before urbanization. An analysis of the development of the middle class in Honiara follows. Finally, it addresses the social forces shaping the language practices of the middle-class. The paper shows that, if societal language shift is the trend in Honiara, young members of the urban middle-class are at the forefront of this change.
Keywords: families, generational change, langgus (vernacular languages), real time change, social change, social class, Solomon Islands Pijin
Published online: 26 September 2008
Cited by 9 other publications
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