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No explanation required: Entrenchment and perception of Māori loanwords in a diachronic newspaper corpus of New Zealand English

Māori loanwords are uncontestably the most notable feature of New Zealand English (Gordon, 2005; Macalister, 2006b). Although frequencies of Māori loanwords are reported to be increasing in recent years (Macalister, 2006b), and analyses strongly indicate a skew in loanwords across certain topics (Davies & Maclagan, 2006; de Bres, 2006), no studies have yet addressed whether Māori loanword behaviour differs in a corpus restricted to a single topic (with the exception of Calude, Miller, Harper, & Whaanga, Forthcoming). Nor has a thorough diachronic analysis been made on the subject since Davies and Maclagan (2006) and Macalister (2006b). This thesis is concerned with frequency of use and perception of Māori loanwords in a diachronic corpus restricted to a singular theme: te Wiki o te Reo Māori, Māori Language Week. Using a quantitative methodology in a corpus constructed from New Zealand regional and national newspaper articles spanning 2008-2017, average Māori loanword frequencies are found to be almost 5 times that of the most recent comparable diachronic study (Macalister, 2006b), and demonstrate a statistically significant diachronic increase in use. In contrast, the markedness (or translation) of Māori loanwords shows a statistically significant decreasing diachronic trend over the 10-year period. However, practice of marking appears to be affected by user perceptions and intention to educate, and therefore cannot be relied upon as a gauge of loanword entrenchment. Other conventional measures of loanword entrenchment such as frequency, listedness and morphological assimilation are also shown to be unreliable when considered independently from one another, and in cases such as that of New Zealand English where a change from above influenced by social and cultural factors (Māori loanwords functioning as an expression of political attitude and stance) appears to be interfering in loanword use. Measurement of Māori loanword entrenchment cannot be made using the same criteria as loanwords from non-threatened languages, and suggestions are made for the revised criteria for studying loanword entrenchment which takes into account the sociolinguistic context in which the loanwords are used.
Type of thesis
Levendis, K. J. (2018). No explanation required: Entrenchment and perception of Māori loanwords in a diachronic newspaper corpus of New Zealand English (Thesis, Master of Arts (Applied) (MA(Applied))). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12312
The University of Waikato
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