The Application of Critical Discourse Theory: A Criterion-Referenced Analysis of Reports Relating to Language Revitalisation in Australia and New Zealand
Lewis, R. B. (2014). The Application of Critical Discourse Theory: A Criterion-Referenced Analysis of Reports Relating to Language Revitalisation in Australia and New Zealand (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/8585
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/8585
The discipline of language policy and planning (LPP) is often proposed as a viable tool for language revitalisation. However, the conventional paradigm upon which LPP is based is inadequate for such an inherently political, contentious and problematic area of social policy, and does not address the hegemonic and counter-hegemonic discourse that is at the very core of language revitalisation efforts. It is therefore argued here that LPP needs to be explicitly underpinned by critical discourse theory (CDT) if it is to be of genuine use to those involved in language revitalisation efforts, particularly to grass roots language activists. Following an introductory chapter which provides a background to the research and a rationale for it (Chapter 1), there is a critical review of selected literature on LPP and CDT, a review which ends by proposing a list of criteria which, it is argued, can be used to determine the extent to which discourse that is intended to be counter-hegemonic adheres to the principles of effective counter-hegemonic discourse as outlined in the literature on CDT (Chapter 2). In the following three chapters (Chapters 3, 4 & 5), these criteria are applied to the analysis of three recent reports that have a direct bearing on indigenous language revitalisation in Australia (Our Land Our Languages) and New Zealand (Ko Aotearoa Tēnei and Te Reo Mauriora). The first of these reports is found to adhere very closely to the criteria; the second less so; the third almost not at all. The different ways in which each of these reports has been received would tend to support the hypothesis that, other things being equal, the more closely a text of this type conforms to the criteria - that is, the more closely it is aligned to the fundamental principles of effective counter-hegemonic discourse as outlined in CDT - the more likely it is to be positively received and, therefore, to represent an effective challenge to the existing hegemony. The overall conclusion is that CDT can not only assist language activists by providing a basis for determining how successful counter-hegemonic discourse is likely to be in achieving its aims but has the potential to provide LPP with a secure theoretical foundation (Chapter 6).
University of Waikato
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