Literacy and the vernacular : a case study based on the post-colonial history of Mauritius, with particular reference to Mauritian Creole
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This thesis examines the process of the literization of the vernacular, and seeks to establish the island of Mauritius as a case study of this process. The concept of literization equates standardization of the vernacular with its use as a written language. Four issues are established as central to this process: ideological, educational, sociocultural and technical. The thesis investigates the particular sociolinguistic situation of Mauritius, and examines each of these issues in relation to Mauritian Creole. It demonstrates the role that Mauritian Creole plays in Mauritian society, and how, since independence, issues relating to ideology, education, and the cultural and technical aspects of standardization, have been involved in the promotion of the language. The interaction between these issues is apparent throughout the thesis, and manifested in the work of Ledikasyon pu Travayer (LPT), the only organization in Mauritius to provide literacy tuition in Mauritian Creole. The thesis seeks to show that their unified approach to literacy, standardization, and the promotion of Mauritian Creole exemplifies the issues involved, and provides the best basis for the establishment of Mauritian Creole as a standard language. The analysis of the situation in Mauritius within the framework of wider issues of the literization of the vernacular permits a comparison to other former colonies facing problems of language choice, and places these issues within the wider sociolinguistic context of standardization.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy