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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton January 17, 2019

The dynamics of Hawaiian speakerhood in the family

Christina Higgins EMAIL logo


While the majority of studies on new speakers focuses on language use in educational and community contexts, the family is becoming an increasingly relevant site since new speakers are now incorporating their languages into their home life. This article reports on how people of Native Hawaiian ancestry express their speakerhood with regard to their use of ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, or the Hawaiian language, in the context of the family. It explores Hawaiians’ stances towards different ways of speaking Hawaiian with regard to authenticity, an issue which has been found to be central among new speakers of minority languages in other contexts. Drawing on interview data with six Hawaiians, this article investigates Hawaiian speakerhood by focusing on how the participants view linguistic authority and translanguaging in family settings. The article offers insights into the range of linguistic practices and sociolinguistic authenticities in families that may enhance continued language revitalization efforts.

Appendix: Transcription conventions

=latched speech
“text”reported speech
[…]transcription edited for length
?sentence-final rising intonation
((text))paralinguistic and non-verbal actions


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Published Online: 2019-01-17
Published in Print: 2019-01-26

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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