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Native American Language Ideologies

By Paul V. Kroskrity and Margaret C. Field

Publication Year: 2009

NativeAmericans’ conscious language ideologies but also the often-revealing relationshipbetween these beliefs and other more implicit realizations of language useas embedded in community practice.

The chapters discuss the impact of contemporary language issues related to grammar, language use, the relation between language and social identity, andemergent language ideologies themselves in Native American speech communities.And although they portray obvious variation in attitudes toward languageacross communities, they also reveal commonalities—notably the emergentideological process of iconization between a language and various national,ethnic, and tribal identities.

As fewer Native Americans continue to speak their own language, thistimely volume provides valuable grounded studies of language ideologies inaction—those indigenous to Native communities as well as those imposed byoutside institutions or language researchers. It considers the emergent interactionof indigenous and imported ideologies and the resulting effect on languagebeliefs, practices, and struggles in today’s Indian Country as it demonstratesthe practical implications of recognizing a multiplicity of indigenous languageideologies and their impact on heritage language maintenance and renewal.

Published by: University of Arizona Press


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pp. vii-viii

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1. Introduction: Revealing Native American Language Ideologies

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pp. 3-28

All Native American communities have experienced significant changes as a consequence of their contact with European societies and their incorporation into the nation-states of the Americas. These transformations continue today as Native American communities affirm their persistence and attempt to renew their traditions as an expression of their cultural...

Part I: Language and Language Ideological Change

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2. Changing Navajo Language Ideologies and Changing Language Use

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pp. 31-47

This chapter presents an overview of observations on Navajo language use throughout the twentieth century and contrasts these with contemporary observations about Navajo language use and language ideology today, in the early years of the twenty-first century. Whereas earlier work in the twentieth century by linguists and anthropologists described a...

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3. Contradictions across Space-Time and Language Ideologies in Northern Arapaho Language Shift

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pp. 48-76

In 1878, when the federal government relocated the Northern Arapaho tribe to the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, all of the approximately eight hundred members were fluent in their indigenous language. Most were also fluent in Plains Indian sign language, some in one or more neighboring languages, and only several in English. By 2005 less than...

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4. ‘‘Language, Court, Constitution. It’s All Tied Up into One’’: The (Meta)pragmatics of Tradition in a Hopi Tribal Court Hearing

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pp. 77-98

This chapter explores how legal actors in Hopi tribal court employ a common Hopi ideology that their native language is a central feature ofHopi cultural identity and political sovereignty and do so for significant rhetorical advantage. By analyzing how, in the course of one exemplary trial proceeding, a Hopi tribal judge, lawyer, and advocate raise and chal-...

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5. English Is the Dead Language: Native Perspectives on Bilingualism

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pp. 99-122

Issues of identity, cultural authenticity, power, and social structure arecentral to language revitalization projects in Native American communities. Even in situations of significant language shift, language remains. All bilingual individuals have attitudes toward the two languages they speak. These attitudes reflect differing positions about the social catego-...

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6. Visibility, Authenticity, and Insiderness in Cherokee Language Ideologies

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pp. 123-147

Since the introduction of the term linguistic ideology into the scholarlydiscourse on language-culture relations (Silverstein 1979), a wide varietyof research has demonstrated the complex connections between beliefs about language and broader...

Part II: Language Revitalization as a Site for (Re)New(ing) Language Ideologies

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7. Language Ideology and Aboriginal Language Revitalization in the Yukon, Canada

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pp. 151-171

The past twenty years have witnessed a surge of interest among Yukon First Nations in bringing back their heritage languages as well as a significant increase in funding for such projects by the Canadian government. Many programs at the federal and territorial levels now exist to support..

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8. ‘‘You Keep Not Listening with Your Ears!’’ Language Ideologies, Language Socialization, and Paiute Identity

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pp. 172-189

Language shift and language loss are never simple processes. This chapter is about the changing conditions that can lead to language shift as well as to language revitalization. Specifically, I examine one such case where an essentialized or iconized link (Irvine and Gal 2000) between language...

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9. Embodying the Reversal of Language Shift: Agency,Incorporation, and Language Ideological Change in the WesternMono Community of Central California

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pp. 190-210

As Edward Sapir once observed, ‘‘Our natural interest in human behaviorseems always to vacillate between what is imputed to the culture of the group as a whole and what is imputed to the psychic organization of the individual himself’’ (1934:408). As a foundational figure for both the Americanist tradition in linguistics and for the field of linguistic anthro-...

Part III: Linguistic Description, Language Activism, and Reflexive Concerns

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10. Shaming the Shift Generation: Intersecting Ideologies of Family and Linguistic Revitalization in Guatemala

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pp. 213-237

During one late afternoon in August 1994 the teacher of an adult Kaqchikel literacy class sponsored by the Academia de Lenguas Mayas deprominent and autonomous Maya organization devoted to the standardization and modernization of Mayan languages, assigned the following parable to be read aloud and discussed for its cultural significance to...

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11. Language Revitalization and the Manipulation of Language Ideologies: A Shoshoni Case Study

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pp. 238-254

Within the last century the study of Native American languages has transformed from a descriptive and ‘‘salvage’’ phase to a more applied phase, in which maintenance and revitalization of the languages have become major focuses. In many revitalization programs an important factor in thesuccess of language revitalization efforts has been community members’...

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12. Contingencies of Emergence: Planning Maliseet Language Ideologies

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pp. 255-270

In this chapter I explore some contingencies that determine trajectories for Maliseet language ideologies, which I define in a very broad sense, following Williams as ‘‘representations, whether explicit or implicit, that construe the intersection of language and human beings in a social world’’ (cited in Woolard 1998:3). There are many possible con-...

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13. Which Way Is the Kiowa Way? Orthography Choices, Ideologies, and Language Renewal

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pp. 271-298

Ideological representations of community and self are central to orthogra-phy development for Native American language revitalization and education, but this has not always been the case. The purpose of orthography development for Native American languages has shifted through time. After first contact it was seen as a matter of importance for translating texts...


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pp. 299-312


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pp. 313-344

About the Contributors

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pp. 345-350


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pp. 351-353

E-ISBN-13: 9780816502219
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816529162

Publication Year: 2009