Maya Ethnolinguistic Identity
Publication Year: 2010
French shows, with useful examples, how constructions of language and collective identity are in fact strategies undertaken to serve the goals of institutions (including the government, the military, the educational system, and the church) and social actors (including linguists, scholars, and activists). But by incorporating in-depth fieldwork with groups that speak Kaqchikel and K’iche’ along with analyses of Spanish-language discourses, Maya Ethnolinguistic Identity also shows how some individuals in urban, bilingual Indian communities have disrupted the essentializing projects of multiculturalism. And by focusing on ideologies of language, the author is able to explicitly link linguistic forms and functions with larger issues of consciousness, gender politics, social positions, and the forging of hegemonic power relations.
Published by: University of Arizona Press
List of Figures
Download PDF (409.3 KB)
Download PDF (82.4 KB)
As I will examine several strands of scholarly and quotidian ideologies of language in this book, it is important that I make my own ideologies of language visible. After all, this inquiry, like all anthropological projects, is situated in the experiences and preoccupations of its author. I ﬁrst came to questions about language, politics, and identity through a keen personal ...
Download PDF (76.4 KB)
Ideas, like the language we use to give them shape, are products of multiple, overlapping, and conﬂicting discursive exchanges. Throughout the process of researching and writing this book, I have been fortunate to have several remarkable interlocutors. The linguists of Oxlajuuj Keej Maya’ Ajtz’iib’ (OKMA), Lolmay, Nikte’, Ajpub’, Waykan, B’alam, and Aj’bee, ...
Download PDF (42.2 KB)
Download PDF (109.3 KB)
On May 5, 2003, in an historically unprecedented move, the Guatemalan Congress passed the Ley de Idiomas Nacionales, or National Languages Law. The law formally recognized that ‘‘the right of the peoples and indigenous communities to their cultural identity in accordance with their values, their language, and their customs, should be fundamentally ...
1: The Paradox of Ethnolinguistic Identity: Essentialisms, State-Sponsored Violence, and Cultural Rights
Download PDF (153.3 KB)
The former is a commonplace conception of ‘‘Indian’’ identity articulated by a ﬁfty-nine-year-old elite Ladina; the latter is a visionary book dedication to future guardians of Maya culture written by two Kaqchikel linguists. Taken together as emblematic, they underscore the importance of Maya culture in Guatemalan national discourse and highlight its ...
2: Political Linguistics: Expert Linguists and Modernist Epistemologies in the Guatemalan Nation
Download PDF (120.7 KB)
As I outlined in the last chapter through a discussion of Kaqchikel neologisms, linguistic analysis can be mobilized for political ends. In the twentieth-century Guatemalan context, even phonemes became politically charged representations. Despite these links to the political, a good deal of anthropological and linguistic scholarship commonly deﬁnes a ...
3: Traditional Histories, Local Selves, and Challenges to Linguistic Unification
Download PDF (442.2 KB)
Max Weinreich’s famous adage that ‘‘a language is a dialect with an army’’ underscores the role of power in deﬁning some linguistic varieties and not others as legitimate and authentic languages.1 He may have put it better were he to have said, ‘‘A language is a dialect with an army of linguists.’’ Indeed, the last day of the linguistics sessions at the Third Congress of ...
4: Modernity and Local Linguistic Ideologies in Chimaltenango
Download PDF (362.0 KB)
While Pan-Maya K’iche’ linguists and local communities like the Achis negotiate ‘‘traditional’’ and modernist epistemologies and their relationships to competing versions of collective Maya identity, neighboring Kaqchikel linguists have similar, yet distinct, struggles. Of all Maya ethnolinguistic groups in Guatemala, Kaqchikel linguists have particular ...
5: Traditional Maya Women and Linguistic Reproduction
Download PDF (350.1 KB)
Perhaps the most visible negotiation of modernity, language ideology, and collective identity in the bilingual Western highlands of Guatemala is refracted through the lens of gender, in particular, through representations of the ‘‘traditional’’ Maya woman. Representations of the ‘‘traditional’’ Maya woman, monolingual and brightly dressed, are ubiquitous ...
6: Conclusion: Vernacular Modernities and the Objectification of Tradition
Download PDF (92.2 KB)
Having traversed some ethnographic and social terrain of language ideologies circulating in the bilingual indigenous highlands of Guatemala, I want to return circuitously to Bauman and Briggs’s theoretical inquiry into modernity and inequality. Bauman and Briggs propose that the ‘‘traditional’’ and the ‘‘modern’’ are relationally constructed and mapped ...
Appendix: Transcription Conventions
Download PDF (56.7 KB)
Download PDF (89.7 KB)
Download PDF (98.4 KB)
Download PDF (213.9 KB)
Publication Year: 2010