May 23, 2016
Mokopuna talk leads to doctorate
People like making a record of their mokopuna, but not everyone gets a doctorate for it.
Maraea Hunia was last week granted a doctorate for her work studying the language acquisition of two children.
Her mokopuna Puhi was in a Maori-speaking home in Otaki while a colleague’s child, Jessica-Lee in Wellington, was only hearing Maori from her mother.
She says the research initially tried to replicate similar studies that caught everything that came out of a pepi’s mouth, but she soon saw that was too limited.
"Language of course is much bigger than that so rather than concentrate on her I physically pulled the camera right back and started looking at everything going on around her, so the way people used their eyes with her, the way people talked to each other, what language was used with her, what language was used around her, these were all Maori-English bilinguals around her." Dr Hunia says.
Her research challenged existing Eurocentric notions that language acquisition was driven by universal cognitive development, as she found it was also influenced by culture.
Copyright © 2016, UMA Broadcasting Ltd: www.waateanews.com