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15 Western Language Ideologies and Small-Language Prospects (1998)

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Chapter Summary

The power of the social forces involved is evidently considerable, since under better circumstances attachment to an ancestral language is usually strong. The phenomenon of ancestral-language abandonment is worth looking at, because a good many people, especially those who speak unthreatened languages, are likely to have trouble imagining that they themselves could ever be brought to the point of giving up on their own an ancestral language and encouraging their children to use some other language instead. The case of the Arizona Tewa, still in possession of their ancestral language even though enclaved among the Hopi, suggests a different sort of counterpoise to the negative effects of European-derived linguistic ideologies. Recent concerns about loss of linguistic and cultural diversity, together with recognition of the possibilities of multiple socio political allegiances and of the legitimacy of ethnic languages and of multilingualism, come very late in the day for most small languages.

Keywords: ancestral language; Arizona Tewa; cultural diversity; ethnic languages; European-derived linguistic ideologies; multilingualism; small-language prospects; western language ideologies



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