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The Impact of Church Affiliation on Language Use in Kwara'ae (Solomon Islands)

Karen Ann Watson-Gegeo and David Welchman Gegeo
Language in Society
Vol. 20, No. 4 (Dec., 1991), pp. 533-555
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4168281
Page Count: 23
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Impact of Church Affiliation on Language Use in Kwara'ae (Solomon Islands)
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Abstract

Christian churches are central to modern social and political organization in the Pacific islands, yet little research has been conducted on their role in intrasocietal diversity in language attitudes and use. We examine church affiliation and its impact on language use, identity, and change among Kwara'ae speakers in the Solomon Islands, where intense competition for converts and the association of particular churches with modernization and development is having a significant impact on language choice and change. We show that members of different sects signal their separate identities not only through linguistic code but also through discourse patterns and nonverbal aspects of communication. The characteristics we identify are illustrated in transcripts from four speakers, and the social outcomes of these characteristics is discussed.

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