ERIC Number: ED251264
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Schooling and Bilingualization in a Highland Guatemalan Community.
Richards, Julia Becker
To examine the process of language shift (bilingualization) in an area where there is a local dialect equivalent to a "language of solidarity" and a national language equivalent to a "language of power," language interactions in the impoverished village of San Marcos in the highlands of Guatemala were examined. Although Spanish is the national language, approximately one half of Guatemalans are Mayan Indians (like the inhabitants of San Marcos), who speak one of at least 20 indigenous languages. An examination of linguistic practices indicated that Spanish words have been fully integrated into the dialect and that hispanicisms are frequently used to invoke a perception of the power and prestige of the dominant Spanish-speaking society. Greater hispanization was noted among younger unmarried men with few ties to the community and among older, prominent community men of elevated social status. Although the compulsory primary education includes Spanish, few children have achieved proficiency. Thus, the local language remains the language of ethnic identification and solidarity, while the national language is a means of acquiring status, recognition, and advancement. At present in Guatemala, therefore, economic and cultural factors are more decisive in the incipient bilingualization process than is schooling. (MM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (82nd, Chicago, Il, November, 1983).