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Teaching Oregon Native Languages

Joan Gross

Publication Year: 2007

In a world where over half of the remaining six thousand languages will most likely disappear by the end of the century, attention has finally begun to focus on the struggles of indigenous people to save their languages.

Lack of knowledge concerning the vast linguistic diversity of Oregon's languages has been a major obstacle to language revitalization in this state. Native peoples were subjected to disease, displacement, and forced linguistic assimilation, leaving many languages with only a few speakers. Some languages died out, but others prevailed in the privacy of homes and longhouses.

This book tells the story of perseverance and survival against unbelievable odds, using the words of today's speakers and learners of Oregon's languages. Interviews with fifty-two native speakers provide valuable insights into how languages are lost and how a linguistic heritage can be brought to life.

Teaching Oregon Native Languages discusses the role of state and federal language policies, explores how archival collections can be used in language revitalization, and describes strategies for creating a successful teaching environment. A timely and necessary resource, it will educate all readers about the important efforts underway to revitalize Oregon's first languages.

Contributors: Joan Gross, Erin Haynes, Deanna Kingston, David Lewis, and Juan Trujillo

Published by: Oregon State University Press


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pp. v

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pp. vi-vii

This book grew out of an interest group at Oregon State University that came together out of a common concern with Native languages in the state of Oregon. Joseph Krause and Armelle Hofer were important members of this group, along with Joan Gross, Deanna Kingston...

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Language Notes

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pp. viii

As with all unstandardized languages, the spelling of the names of Oregon Native languages varies. In addition, the same language is often referred to by different names and the names in English do...

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pp. 1-6

The United States of America began as a multilingual settler colony, but before European conquest multiple languages had interacted with each other within what are now the borders of the United States. A concerted effort to make the United States into a monolingual...

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Chapter One: Forging a Monolingual Country

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pp. 7-34

What became the state of Oregon, an area stretching south from the Columbia Gorge to the Siskiyous, and east from the Pacific over the Coastal Range and Cascades to the High Desert, was a land of many languages, each one encoding information about the land and how...

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Chapter Two: Resistance to Monolingualism: Reviving our Languages

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pp. 35-68

When the first Europeans arrived in Oregon, it appears that the most common Native response was curiosity and an interest in the new trade goods that the Europeans brought with them. As the numbers of newcomers increased, however, and they began imposing their way...

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Chapter Three: The Present Climate for Native Language Education

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pp. 69-93

Though often inconspicuous, language plays an exceedingly important role in every educational program and strategy, from the federal policies that shape curricula to the individual classroom interactions between teachers and students, and every step in between...

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Chapter Four: The History and Context of Oregon Tribal Language Archival Collections

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pp. 94-116

In this chapter, we focus on the archival collections of Oregon Native American language materials and the historical context of their creation. It is due to this history that many of these collections are not located in the state of Oregon, and it is only through the efforts...

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Chapter Five: Best Practices in Language Teaching

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pp. 117-146

This chapter approaches language-revitalization efforts from an applied-linguistics perspective. Applied linguistics is an academic field of study in which researchers explore ways that linguistic theory can help address real-world concerns. Among the issues...


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pp. 147-149

Appendix: Primary Repositories for Oregon Native American Language Materials

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pp. 150-153


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pp. 155-158


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pp. 159-165


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pp. 166-168

E-ISBN-13: 9780870716409
E-ISBN-10: 0870716409
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870711930
Print-ISBN-10: 0870711938

Page Count: 176
Illustrations: B&W photos, map
Publication Year: 2007