The impression is that speakers give up their heritage language at their will.
Most speakers are faced with the dilemma of choosing the right one for the right occasion.
Do I use my vernacular as I am surrounded by English speakers?
Will I offend someone or my friends if I talk to Fiji-Hindi speakers in our own language?
Less and less young learners are using Fiji-Hindi; not even at home, at Indian weddings and functions. Most do not understand the language well (especially teenagers) and seldom take responsibility or try to learn/use it.
Most commonly when a community of speakers (learners) of one language become bilingual in another language and gradually shift allegiance to the second language until they cease to use their original language.
This is a common situation as Fiji-Hindi speaking learners are constantly found communicating in English, even at Fiji-Hindi speaking functions and occasions.
Why do the young prefer English? What is the reason?
Its convenient-no need to switch codes!
They speak in English in school, use it whole day!
There does not seem to be a problem (not for them at least)
As said, young learners do not see any difference or problem with talking in English than in Fiji-Hindi. To them, it’s easier and has become part of life and lifestyle.
Elders can sense the danger the “ foreign language ” has on their own. Leading to:
Loss of identity
Culture and language shock
May no longer be their native language
Thus a need for language revitalisation
Is there a need to neglect the first language? Or are the speakers forced by the POWER of the L2 language?
Do Fiji-Hindi speakers need to neglect their own language in the midst of learning a more recognised global language?
Why hasten to adopt?
Is English really powerful that even minor languages such as Fiji-Hindi get drastically affected?
The POWER of the language, its DOMINANCE over other languages and its STATUS as THE language will end up many minor languages in the bin! Dead! Non-existing!
Should the right question be: Why is English replacing Fiji-Hindi or in that case, any other language? Can this aspect of language evolution be a result of globalisation? The agents of language shift need to be identified so that minor languages do not fear language death.
English being the global and most recognised language in itself is powerful. Its power and importance is incomparable but cannot be ignored. Minor languages such as Fiji-Hindi also have their own rights and advantages. They are a mirror to their associated cultures. This also can not be ignored.
Crystal, D. (1997). English as a global language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 5-20.
Crystal, D. (2000). Language Death. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.
Reid, J. (1987). The learning styles and preferences of ESL students. TESOL Quarterly 21, 87-111.
Tomlinson, B. (2005). English as a foreign language: Matching procedures to the context of learning. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning (pp. 137-153). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.