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Transforming Anthropology

LANGUAGE REVITALIZATION IN NORTH AMERICA AND THE NEW DIRECTION OF LINGUISTICS

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Abstract

The self-empowerment of indigenous populations speaking endangered languages continuously changes linguists' relationships with them. Some major influences on this relationship include the disappearance of indigenous languages, the perceived and real power of fluency in English, and the limited economic relevance of indigenous language knowledge. Even so, linguists may be able to contribute to successful language revitalization in respectful ways that appeal to indigenous communities by appropriately encouraging (1) the preservation of indigenous languages, (2) the promotion of literacy, (3) the development of new speakers, (4) the actual use of the indigenous language, and (5) community control of the language.

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