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ERIC Number: ED459620
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-May
Pages: 24
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Prospects for the Survival of the Navajo Language: A Reconsideration.
Spolsky, Bernard
This paper aims to reassess conclusions drawn in 1975 about the prospects for survival of the Navajo language. A study done at that time uncovered evidence that there was increasing knowledge of English among Navajo children, although knowledge of English was highly, positively correlated to the level of isolation from Navajo speakers. As a result of a number of federal programs, most Navajo 6-year-olds now have very a limited knowledge of Navajo and a far better command of English. This paper tries to trace the language shift by reviewing data in published and unpublished studies. It then presents and weighs the various explanations proposed for the loss of this language. Efforts underway to reverse this language shift and preserve Navajo are also examined. It is concluded that prospects for the survival of Navajo are much bleaker than they were in 1975. In the interim, federal and state programs to promote English literacy have done much to spread and deepen its use among the Navajo. (Contains 58 references.) (KFT)
Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Box 757680, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7680 (papers not sold individually; proceedings, $10 plus $3.95 shipping). Tel: 907-474-7874; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Alaska Univ., Fairbanks. Alaska Native Language Center.