Value addition and attitude change in language revitalization: the case of Kitharaka
Many studies, including Anchimbe (2007), Whiteley (1974) and UNESCO (1953) have sought to establish that language loyalty or the lack of it does relate to the presence or death of linguistic identity. Further, it has been claimed that it is within the context of language contact that people become aware of the status of their language against another’s language. People may also observe a greater degree of loyalty to the language of an ethnic group to which they do not belong, because of value they may attach to it compared to their own language and the benefits they may deem to accrue by this allegiance. If this state of affairs is left unchecked, the resultant language shift may lead to the death of the less prestigious of the languages in question. A purposeful value addition and attitude change according to Paulston (1994:16-17) will regenerate and reverse the loss and “give new life to a dead language” especially if there is increased use of the language, as a result of change of attitude and increased functions for general communication, literacy and education. In this chapter I will highlight factors that led to the marginalization of Kitharaka. Further, I will give examples of other currently or formally marginalized languages of Kenya. I will then narrow down to specifically examine and illustrate the role played by literacy and on-going mother tongue education programme in the revitalization of Kitharaka.