ERIC Number: EJ871713
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 96
"Still, She Didn't See What I Was Trying to Say": Towards a History of Framing Navajo English in Navajo Written Poetry
Webster, Anthony K.
World Englishes, v29 n1 p75-96 Mar 2010
This paper outlines the ways that Navajo poetry was framed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as "unsophisticated" and non-literary by the introductory materials written by non-Native Americans for collections of Native American poetry. At issue was a view that saw the use of Navajo English, a distinctive vernacular dialect, as a deficient form of language use and the ways this was iconically read as an exemplar of the "inarticulate" Indian stereotype. I analyse the way that T.D. Allen presents Navajo poet Blackhorse Mitchell's first written poem and I contrast that with the ways that Mitchell described the motivations for the writing of the poem, the meaning of the poem, and the ways that in performing the poem in 2008 he changes the tense system that was imposed by Allen onto the poem back to a Navajo English aspectual system. Mitchell reasserts his authorship over this poem and the expressive potential of that poem.
Descriptors: Navajo, Navajo (Nation), Poetry, English, Language Usage, Dialects, Stereotypes, Morphemes, Verbs, Diachronic Linguistics, Poets, Written Language
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
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