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Using Twitter in an Indigenous language: An analysis of te reo Māori tweets

Language revitalization theory suggests that one way to improve the health of a language is to increase the number of domains where the language is used. Social network platforms provide a variety of domains where indigenous- language communities are able to communicate in their own languages. Although the capability exists, is social networking being used by indigenous- language communities? This paper reports on one particular social networking platform, Twitter, by using two separate methodologies. First, Twitter statistics collated from the Indigenous Tweets website are analysed. The data show that languages such as Basque, Haitian Creole, Welsh, Irish Gaelic, Frisian and Kapampangan do have a presence in the “Twittersphere”. Further analysis for te reo Māori (the Māori language) shows that tweets in te reo Māori are rising and peak when certain events occur. The second methodology involved gathering empirical data by tweeting in te reo Māori. This served two purposes: it allowed an ancillary check on the validity of the Indigenous Tweets data and it allowed the opportunity to determine if the number of indigenous- language tweets could be influenced by the actions of one tweeter.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Keegan, T. T. A. G., Mato, P. J., & Ruru, S. (2015). Using Twitter in an Indigenous language: An analysis of te reo Māori tweets. Alternative: An International Journal for Indigenous Peoples, 11(1), 59–75.
Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga
© 2015 Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga