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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton November 4, 2011

Keeping the fire alive: a decade of language revitalization in Mexico

  • José Antonio Flores Farfán EMAIL logo


A decade ago innovative efforts were undertaken by a group of native and non-native professionals to safeguard and promote the cultural and linguistic heritage of a number of indigenous groups in Mexico. The initial focus was directed to the Nahua people, dwelling in the Balsas river basin in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. In this region roughly 40 thousand people still speak Mexicano as their native tongue. This article reviews the results and ongoing efforts of that decade-long initiative, in particular the effect of successful popular opposition to the construction of a long-planned hydroelectric dam in the indigenous speakers' region and the effect of developing and commercializing a series of indigenous crafts that reinforce the ethnolinguistic awareness of Balsas Nahuas. Other recent initiatives in different indigenous groups such as the Maya are also touched upon. More briefly discussed, from a critical perspective, are general theoretical, methodological, and political strategies for reversing language shift, especially although not exclusively in Mexico.

Published Online: 2011-11-04
Published in Print: 2011-November

© 2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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