Language Revitalization in Indigenous North America

Authored by: Leanne Hinton , Barbra A. Meek

The Routledge Handbook of Language Revitalization

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138674493
eBook ISBN: 9781315561271
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter is a brief history of language revitalization in North America since the 1960s. An active movement has involved many paths, in communities, schools, and homes. Linguists have also been greatly involved, even those from long before the movement, whose documentation of language often serves now as the only input for avid learners. Policy changes and government funding has been helpful, although unreliable with administration changes. Language revitalization aims at bilingualism, but the dominance of English (and French in some areas) means that minority languages are never safe, and in most cases will continue as a minority movement where tribes can maintain a close relationship to their languages through documentation, school classes, and some families using it at home, but not as a fully integrated language of the community.

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