chapter  12
14 Pages

Preserving linguistic diversity: outlook and prospects

This book has addressed questions concerning the rapid decline of linguistic diversity in the Pacific area, and has brought together a rather amorphous body of evidence, much of it quite depressing. We have established that the principal reason for this mass loss of diversity was European colonization, whose agents set in motion a number of processes that have changed the region almost beyond recognition. We have tried to refrain from putting too much emphasis on motifs such as exploitation, selfishness, intolerance and ill will, though all of these were present. Much more importantly, in our opinion, is the sheer ignorance with which the newcomers approached the area and the numerous instances where good intention had unexpected and unwanted long-term effects.