Changing language hierarchies and ideologies in New Zealand dual language picturebooks: 1973-2020


  • Nicola Daly



Aotearoa New Zealand is a multilingual country with three official languages, Te Reo Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, and English. The presence of Māori and English in picturebooks published in New Zealand between 1973 and 2020 offers a method of exploring and documenting the changing language hierarchies and ideologies across a 47-year period. This is of particular importance because of the contribution of children’s literature to developing language attitudes in child and adult readers. In this article, a sociolinguistic lens called Linguistic Landscape is used to analyse a sample of seven picturebooks, showing how picturebooks reflect language beliefs and attitudes to official yet minority languages in an English-dominant society. The picturebooks are analysed in terms of the relative space and dominance afforded each language. Links to language status in law and education are examined exploring the potential of picturebooks as a source for the study of changing language hierarchies and ideologies.


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