Revitalization in a scattered language community: problems and methods from the perspective of Mutsun language revitalization

Natasha Warner 1 , Quirina Luna 1 , Lynnika Butler 1 , and Heather van Volkinburg 1
  • 1 Department of Linguistics, University of Arizona/Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen Amah Mutsun Tribal Band

Abstract

This article addresses revitalization of a dormant language whose prospective speakers live in scattered geographical areas. In comparison to increasing the usage of an endangered language, revitalizing a dormant language (one with no living speakers) requires different methods to gain knowledge of the language. Language teaching for a dormant language with a scattered community presents different problems from other teaching situations. In this article, we discuss the types of tasks that must be accomplished for dormant-language revitalization, with particular focus on development of teaching materials. We also address the role of computer technologies, arguing that each use of technology should be evaluated for how effectively it increases fluency. We discuss methods for achieving semi-fluency for the first new speakers of a dormant language, and for spreading the language through the community.

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