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ERIC Number: ED471317
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 31
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Development of "New" Languages in Native American Communities.
Goodfellow, Anne
This paper examines the belief that as English rapidly infiltrates Native American cultures, school programs for teaching and maintaining native languages are not working. It suggests that Native American children who learn English first and their heritage languages second have difficulty learning the structures of their ancestral languages because of their differences from English. However, because they learn vocabulary well, they develop a pidginized form, often with English grammatical and phonological structures and native language vocabulary. Many people do not consider this pidgin language the real language and assert that the language programs are not producing fluent speakers. This paper recommends that people accept the languages as they are spoken today as new forms of Native American languages. It summarizes research on the relationship between culture contact and linguistic change among British Columbia's Kwakwaka'wakw, who are experiencing a similar situation with their language, Kwak'wala. It asserts that although Kwak'wala appears to be a dying language, it is being maintained as a marker of cultural identity in certain contexts. After discussing dying languages and new languages (pidgins, creoles, and mixed languages) and suggesting that mixed languages are acceptable forms of language, the paper recommends focusing on language change rather than language death. (SM)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A