Diacritical marks and the Samoan Language

Article


Tualaulelei, Eseta Magaui, Mayer, Fepuleai Lasei John and Hunkin, Galumalemana A.. 2015. "Diacritical marks and the Samoan Language." The Contemporary Pacific. 27 (1), pp. 183-207. https://doi.org/10.1353/cp.2015.0007
Article Title

Diacritical marks and the Samoan Language

ERA Journal ID21301
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsTualaulelei, Eseta Magaui (Author), Mayer, Fepuleai Lasei John (Author) and Hunkin, Galumalemana A. (Author)
Journal TitleThe Contemporary Pacific
Contemporary Pacific
Journal Citation27 (1), pp. 183-207
Number of Pages25
Year2015
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN1043-898X
1527-9464
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1353/cp.2015.0007
Web Address (URL)https://muse.jhu.edu/article/583352
Abstract

The issue of diacritical marks in the Samoan orthography has long been a contentious one, and it is almost four decades now since the last serious attempt was made to review and reconcile the competing guidelines for their use. This article is aimed at promoting a better understanding of the function and use of diacritical marks (the glottal stop and the macron) in written Samoan, as the use of diacritics has important educational implications for students in introductory Samoan-language classes and in early reading programs in bilingual classes. It presents the historical context of the use of these symbols, their treatment in educational materials, and the contemporary situation in which inconsistency prevails. Using historical and linguistic analysis, it investigates how the use of diacritics became so variable and why some Samoan-language users do not consider them to be significant symbols. The article argues that diacritics should be used in the Samoan language, particularly for academic settings, and offers recommendations for teachers to assist with the Samoan language–learning classroom. Our key motivation is that the future of the Samoan language relies heavily on its transmission to younger generations, and for this we need an unambiguous, consistent orthography.

KeywordsSamoan language, diacritics, glottal stop, Pacific linguistics, Samoan history, orthography
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020451499. Pacific Peoples education not elsewhere classified
390401. Comparative and cross-cultural education
470401. Applied linguistics and educational linguistics
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsSchool of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
University of Hawaii, United States
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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