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Southern Ute Grassroots Language Revitalization

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Title: Southern Ute Grassroots Language Revitalization
Authors: Oberly, Stacey
White, Dedra
Millich, Arlene
Cloud, Mary Inez
Seibel, Lillian
show 2 moreIvey, Crystal
Cloud, Lorelei

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Keywords: grassroots language revitalization
collaborative language activism
Endangered languages
endangered language pedagogy
show 2 moreUto-Aztecan languages
Southern Numic

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Issue Date: Dec 2015
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Citation: Oberly, Stacey, Dedra White, Arlene Millich, Mary Inez Cloud, Lillian Seibel, Crystal Ivey & Lorelei Cloud. 2015. Southern Ute Grassroots Language Revitalization. Language Documentation & Conservation 9. 324-343.
Abstract: Southern Ute is a severely endangered Uto-Aztecan language spoken in southwestern Colorado by forty speakers out of a tribe of around 1,400. In 2011, a small group of adult tribal members with a strong desire to learn Ute as a second language began a collaborative, community-based, grassroots language revitalization and repatriation project on the Southern Ute reservation. This case study provides insight into language endangerment and revitalization, language ideologies, linguistic identity, revitalization pedagogy, and language as power.
During this project the group encountered challenges typical of endangered language revitalization such as lack of teaching material, the contradictory role of writing in gaining fluency in an endangered language, the transition of a speaker to a teacher, and differing views of effective language learning methods. A total of eighty-nine community members ranging in age from two to eighty-seven years participated in this project. The diversity of students created a pedagogical situation in which the range of objectives, learning styles, and interest levels required adaptation and flexibility. We discuss possible solutions to these challenges. We also provide insight into the tenacity of heritage language learners who continue to fight for linguistic self-determination and justice, even when faced with opposition from their tribal government and community.
Sponsor: National Foreign Language Resource Center
Pages/Duration: 20 pages
ISSN: 1934-5275
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
Appears in Collections:Volume 09 : Language Documentation & Conservation

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