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Reexamining the classification of an endangered language: The vitality of Brunca

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Title:Reexamining the classification of an endangered language: The vitality of Brunca
Authors:Seibert Hanson, Aroline E.
Keywords:Boruca language
language vitality
language revitalization
Costa Rica
Date Issued:Aug 2019
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:Seibert Hanson, Aroline E. 2019. Reexamining the classification of an endangered language: The vitality of Brunca. Language Documentation & Conservation 13: 384-400.
Abstract:In 2010, linguists declared Boruca (Brúnkajk) or Brunca (brn), an Indigenous language originating in what is now Costa Rica, to be extinct, basing their assessment on the number of living fully fluent native speakers. Since 2010, there has been no written verification of the current state of the language. Brunca classes are offered in the elementary schools as the primary way the language is being maintained, but they have not been taken into account in prior analyses. According to published research from almost two decades ago, Brunca appears to be losing ground. This has led to its designation as “critically endangered” or “dormant” by most established scales. In order to determine the actual status of the language in the community, we conducted participant observations in the Brunca classes and a series of interviews with the Boruca Culture Council, community elders, and a linguist currently involved in revitalization efforts elsewhere in Costa Rica. Through the present analysis of local stakeholders’ responses, data emerged on truncated but existent efforts to bring back the language. Thus, the present study is at the cutting edge of trying to define what should be measured to determine language vitality and progress in revitalization.
Pages/Duration:17 pages
Rights:Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
Journal:Language Documentation & Conservation
Appears in Collections: Volume 13 : Language Documentation & Conservation

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