Distinguished linguist Professor Emeritus Bernard Spolsky hailed the Māori language regeneration as a model of language management at a public lecture hosted by AUT University’s Te Ipukarea and Te Whare o Rongomaurikura, the International Centre for Language Revitalisation.
Wellington-born, Professor Emeritus Spolsky wrote many articles focusing on Māori language revitalisation across his research career.
“The Māori language is a fine example of language management.”
At the open lecture, Professor Emeritus Spolsky paid tribute to esteemed language sociologist Joshua Fishman. Considered the “father of language revitalisation”, Fishman was a language activist and researcher committed to inspiring communities whose languages were endangered.
Professor Emeritus Spolsky recounted former happy memories with the late colleague, “It’s a great pleasure to be back here in this country. One of my most vivid memories of Joshua Fishman in New Zealand is watching him chat happily with a teenaged native speaker of Maori.”
“The death of Joshua A. Fishman on March 1 2015 marks the loss of one of the most distinguished sociologists and language activists that we have known.”
AUT University Professor in Māori Innovation and Development Tania Ka’ai praised Professor Emeritus Spolsky's lecture as providing deep insight into Fishman's life as a young Jew growing up in Philadelphia, a husband, a father, a sociologist of language, and a language activist committed to inspiring communities whose languages are endangered.
“The lecture was an inspiring reminder to never give up; to keep fighting for the survival and rejuvenation of endangered languages.”