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. 179–194
How to predict the evolution of a bilingual community
Working for the Bureau of Statistics of Papua and New Guinea in 1967, I carried out a territory-wide population projection, based on a complete collection of village patrol reports and some birth records from a small sample of hospitals. Many years later, I drew on this experience to develop a demolinguistic model for projecting the evolution of a bilingual community, which has been applied to nine language revitalization movements in Spain and in the British Isles. In the light of this, I discuss current literacy rates in Tok Pisin and in English in Papua New Guinea and the social conditioning of the spread of these languages.
Keywords: acquisition model, bilingual community, census data, demolinguistic projection, language shift, Papua New Guinea, revitalization, Tok Pisin, transmission
Published online: 26 September 2008