ERIC Number: ED059808
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1971-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Navajo Language Maintenance III: Accessibility of School and Town as a Factor in Language Shift.
Two centers of diffusion of the English language are (1) schools on the Navajo Reservation and (2) off-Reservation towns; these diffusion centers were studied to examine factors involved in language shift, especially in terms of internal (on-Reservation) and external (off-Reservation) contacts with English. Teachers in schools with Navajo pupils on and near the Reservation filled out questionnaires rating language proficiency of Navajo 6-year-olds at the time school started in 1969 and 1970. The correlation of ease of access to a school with language maintenance was examined in terms of 2 types of schools: Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools and public schools. Findings revealed that 6-year-olds coming to BIA schools tend to be speakers of Navaho who know a small amount of English, while 6-year-olds coming to public schools are closer to being "balanced" bilinguals. A key factor in explaining this is the fact that public school children live much closer to school, the center of diffusion. To investigate how ease of access to an off-Reservation town influences a community's language maintenance, an accessibility index and an average language score for each school were calculated. It was found that the nearer a community is to an off-Reservation town, the more contact it has with English and the more likely parents are able to speak some English at home. The survey also looked at 2 specific communities (Rock Point and Lukachukai, Arizona) in terms of language diffusion. Related documents are ED 035 484, ED 043 004, ED 043 005, ED 043 413, and ED 048 584. (NQ)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Bureau of Indian Affairs (Dept. of Interior), Albuquerque, NM.; Ford Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: New Mexico Univ., Albuquerque.