Genealogies of Language Loss and Recovery: A Closer Look at Language in the Lives of Native American Youth

Teresa L. McCarty, AW Snell Professor, School of Social Transformation, Arizona State University, and National Endowment for the Humanities Resident Scholar

Colloquium, SAR Boardroom

Wednesday, May 2, 2012, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

Teresa McCartyTeresa McCartyTeresa McCarty, 2011–2012 SAR National Endowment for the Humanities resident scholar, introduces the Māori delegation, “key architects of the Māori language revitalization movement.”Teresa McCartyTeresa McCarty, 2011–2012 SAR National Endowment for the Humanities resident scholar, introduces the Māori delegation, “key architects of the Māori language revitalization movement.”

Analysis of comparative ethnographic data on Native American youth language practices reveals those practices to be much more nuanced, rich, and varied than standard school-based assessments suggest, and to be rooted in complex histories of official and unofficial, tacit language policies. This presentation takes a closer look at the ways in which explicit and implicit policies about language are constructed intergenerationally in contexts of linguistic and cultural oppression, and how those policies take shape in indigenous young people’s lives. Finally, the presentation asks, “How can we use knowledge gained from youth language research to support youth and their communities in reclaiming endangered mother tongues?”

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