International Journal of the Sociology of Language
Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.
Ed. by Garcia Otheguy, Ofelia / Duchêne, Alexandre / Coulmas, Florian
6 Issues per year
CiteScore 2016: 0.53
SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.505
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.716
Keeping the fire alive: a decade of language revitalization in Mexico
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.
Keywords:: reversing language shift; documentation and revitalization methods; media and the arts in language revitalization; empowering speakers of Mexican indigenous languages: Nahuatl, Maya, Mixtec, Seri