Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/24850

Interpreting language use in Ozelonacaxtla, Puebla, Mexico

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Title:Interpreting language use in Ozelonacaxtla, Puebla, Mexico
Authors:McGraw, Rachel
Keywords:language use
language sustainability
language shift
language ideologies
Totonac language
show 1 morelinguistic anthropology
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Date Issued:Mar 2019
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:McGraw, Rachel. 2019. Interpreting language use in Ozelonacaxtla, Puebla, Mexico. Language Documentation & Conservation 13: 112-154.
Abstract:Despite sharing many cultural, historical, and socioeconomic characteristics, Totonac communities have markedly distinct language use patterns and practices. Some communities have adopted the mainstream hegemonic discourse in Mexico that denigrates indigeneity and subsequently abandoned Totonac (Lam 2009). In other communities, such as Ozelonacaxtla, an alternate discourse dominates that values multilingualism, and Totonac is widely spoken by the vast majority of the community. This variation across Totonac communities facing the same broad pressures to shift to Spanish demonstrates that current sociodemographic models of language shift lack significant predictive power. By examining not only sociodemographic factors, but also language ideology, this study seeks to determine whether and how language use in Ozeloancaxtla is qualitatively different in nature from other Totonac communities. Interpreting language use in Ozelonacaxtla is undertaken in the methodology of qualitative linguistic ethnography (Copland & Creese 2015). Results show that Ozelonacaxtla Totonac is currently used in almost all community and home domains; however some threats to continued sustainability are recognized. Three main language ideologies in Ozelonacaxtla are identified: (i) language is an index of identity, (ii) language is important/useful, and (iii) Totonac should not be lost. These main discourses are used by speakers to explain, justify, and contest language use patterns and practices, and significant differences in ideology are found across Totonac communities with contrasting language use. This demonstrates the importance of examining ideology in order to accurately interpret language use and best position potential efforts to support language sustainability, documentation, and revitalization.
Pages/Duration:43 pages
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/24850
ISSN:1934-5275
Rights:Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/
Volume:13
Appears in Collections: Volume 13 : Language Documentation & Conservation


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