ERIC Number: ED043004
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1970-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Navajo Language Maintenance: Six-Year-Olds in 1969. Navajo Reading Study, Progress Report No. 5.
One of the central questions in the study of bilingualism is the degree to which it is possible for a group to maintain their language even when accepting other cultural values. There are numbers of cases of peoples who have managed to develop a modern industrial society without giving up their national language; this is difficult, but possible. A necessary concomitant of such a result is a highly developed sense of national identity, and a movement supporting the national language as a symbol of that identity. Whether this will develop with the Navajos remains to be seen. The present survey was carried out in order to provide a picture of the present status of the Navajo language, to serve as a baseline for later studies of any change, and to permit some degree of prediction of the direction and speed of language loss. Results of data gathered on the language of six-year-old children permitted the following generalizations: (1) Overall, 73% of the children in the study come to school not speaking enough English to do first grade work; (2) the farther a school is from an off-reservation town, the more likely its pupils are to speak Navajo; (3) the farther children live away from a school, the more likely they are to speak Navajo at home; and (4) language is maintained for some time even when other traditional features of life are given up. (Author/AMM)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Bureau of Indian Affairs (Dept. of Interior), Window Rock, AZ.
Authoring Institution: New Mexico Univ., Albuquerque.