New technologies and language shifting in Vanuatu

Leslie Vandeputte-Tavo


During the last few years, mobile phones and social networks have deeply changed relationships and, insidiously, the use and representations of languages in Vanuatu. In spite of being very recent, it seems that new ways of communication imply changes regarding the various ways of using and adapting languages, amongst which are code-switching and language-shifting. Bislama, the national local lingua franca, is becoming more and more used in phone conversations. Internet and especially social networks (such as Facebook) are revealing new language strategies in social intercourses. This article examines interactions of languages that are mediated through social networks and mobile phone exchanges. More specifically, this paper discusses different language ideologies that are manifest in and deployed over forms of telecommunication.

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