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Language, culture, and identity : social and cultural aspects of language change in two Kwak’wala-speaking communities Goodfellow, Anne Marie

Abstract

This dissertation is the product of research on the current usage of Kwalcwala, a language of the northern branch of the Wakashan language family spoken in British Columbia on the northern part of Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland. The focus of research is the context of indigenous language use and the importance of language as a marker of cultural identity. I also examine whether English has had any significant influence on the structure and vocabulary of Kwalcwala after prolonged contact between the two languages. I conclude that, although Kwalcwala is being replaced by English in most contexts of communication, it has been strategically maintained in certain contexts as a marker of cultural identity.

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