ERIC Number: ED415075
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997
Tuning In to Navajo: The Role of Radio in Native Language Maintenance.
Peterson, Leighton C.
Since 1986, KTNN Radio (tribally owned) has broadcast Navajo-language programming to the entire Navajo Nation. Its large broadcast range and position as the "Voice of the Navajo Nation" gives KTNN the "symbolic" power to affect linguistic change, as well as the unenviable position of being held to a high language standard although no such "standard" exists. Navajo-language programming is aimed primarily at adults and consists of news, livestock reports, public service announcements, and country and western music. One of the biggest issues facing KTNN is trying to define the type of Navajo that should be spoken. The realities of radio broadcasting, mainly the need to be brief, have led to development of "Broadcast Navajo," which includes the use of English words or Navajo slang in place of more lengthy, descriptive "formal" Navajo. Listener complaints about Broadcast Navajo are frequent, although some complaints result from regional language differences and the unstandardized nature of Navajo. KTNN could address its responsibility to the language by broadcasting regular language-instruction programming, providing youth-oriented entertainment and music programming in Navajo (perhaps with Navajo youth as announcers), standardizing frequently encountered terminology in news and entertainment, requiring announcers to improve language skills as a condition of employment, using listener complaints in future language planning and standardization, and securing grant money for these efforts. (SV)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Teaching Indigenous Languages; see RC 021 328.