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ERIC Number: EJ824675
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 91
ISSN: ISSN-0790-8318
Native American Languages as Heritage Mother Tongues
McCarty, Teresa L.
Language, Culture and Curriculum, v21 n3 p201-225 Nov 2008
This article examines current efforts to revitalise, stabilise, and maintain Indigenous languages in the USA. Most Native American languages are no longer acquired as a first language by children. They are nonetheless languages of identity and heritage, and in this sense can and should be considered mother tongues. The article begins with a discussion of the concept of heritage mother tongues. This is followed by an overview of the present status of Native American languages, the historical and ideological bases of Native American language shift, and the policy framework for current language reclamation efforts. I then discuss four cases of grass-roots or "bottom up" language planning that illustrate the ways in which Native American communities are working around and through historical and institutional constraints to reclaim and maintain their heritage mother tongues. I conclude with a reflection on the challenges and possibilities these efforts raise, their significance as part of a global language rights movement, and their potential to strengthen linguistic and cultural diversity in the USA.
Multlingual Matters. Available from Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A