Kenyan Language Ideologies, Language Endangerment, and Gikuyu (Kikuyu): How Discourses of Nationalism, Education, and Development Have Placed a Large, Indigenous Language at Risk
AuthorOrcutt-Gachiri, Heidi Ann
Indigenous language endangerment
Kenyan language ideologies
Language and tribalism
Multilingualism in Kenya
AdvisorHill, Jane H.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation, based on pilot research in the U.S. and Kenya in 2002 and fieldwork in two secondary schools in Kenya in 2004, has a twofold focus. First, it examines language ideologies of English, Kiswahili, and Kenya's 53 indigenous languages, in particular Gikuyu [Kikuyu], in the context of Kenyan discourses of nationalism, education, and development. Second, it shows how these language ideologies are contributing to the language endangerment of Kenya's indigenous languages.The stable trilingualism enjoyed by the parents of today's young Kenyans is not shared by their children. The research question that drove this dissertation was, Why are trilingual parents raising bilingual children? This dissertation seeks to answer that question by drawing on ethnographic observations, consultant interviews, and newspaper data from Kenya's largest newspapers, the Nation and the Standard. Rapid language shift, occurring in just the past 20 years in Kenya, has put even large languages like Gikuyu into an endangered status. A historically contextualized understanding of the reasons behind the shift is necessary in order for the trend to be reversed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Anthropology & Linguistics
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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