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ERIC Number: ED462246
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Use of Multimedia and the Arts in Language Revitalization, Maintenance, and Development: The Case of the Balsas Nahuas of Guerrero, Mexico.
Farfan, Jose Antonio Flores
Even though Nahuatl is the most widely spoken indigenous language in Mexico, it is endangered. Threats include poor support for Nahuatl-speaking communities, migration of Nahuatl speakers to cities where English and Spanish are spoken, prejudicial attitudes toward indigenous languages, lack of contact between small communities of different dialects, and decreasing intergenerational transmission. Schools are not the best places for language revitalization because the Mexican state's policies promote Spanish and perpetuate a degrading stereotypical view of indigenous people. An innovative program organizes workshops during key moments in local ceremonial life, such as patron saint festivities. Workshops are conducted in Nahuatl, and videos narrated in Nahuatl are shown. Audience participation is encouraged by giving books or tapes on which the videos are based to those who can understand or retell the story. Riddle contests and tales, which are highly valued by these communities, are used to introduce alphabetic writing without over-emphasizing literacy. The videos recreate "old" traditions with new technologies and are especially attractive to children. Making language materials available for everyday household use stimulates intergenerational transmission. Interacting with participants enables researchers to determine the current status of Nahuatl and to identify speakers who can help produce materials and conduct workshops. Outcomes have been very positive, and the program is expanding and sharing information with the Nahuatl language seminar in Mexico City. (Contains 16 references.) (TD)
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Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Mexico