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Indigenous Languages By Bianca Castro, Emma Elliott, Chika Hosoda, Jas Hundal, and Hanisha Umeria Areas covered: North America (California, New Mexico,

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Presentation on theme: "Indigenous Languages By Bianca Castro, Emma Elliott, Chika Hosoda, Jas Hundal, and Hanisha Umeria Areas covered: North America (California, New Mexico,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Indigenous Languages By Bianca Castro, Emma Elliott, Chika Hosoda, Jas Hundal, and Hanisha Umeria Areas covered: North America (California, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona) Mexico South America (Peru, Paraguay, Bolivia) Japan

2 What is an Indigenous Language?
A language that is native to the region and spoken by the indigenous people (original inhabitants) in the area. Has been reduced to the status of a minority language. May not be recognised as a national language and may have fallen out of use due to language death.

3 North America California

4 North America Approx 296 indigenous languages spoken (or formerly spoken) in North America (north of Mexico) 29 language families containing 269 of the languages (others are unclassified or isolates)

5 California

6 California Nearly 100 different languages spoken in 1800 but less than 50 by 1994. Official language of California has been English since 1986 No Californian Indian language is being learned as the primary language of the household. Even those who know the languages rarely use them. No new speakers = language death. When the elders die, the language will die with them.

7 Uto-Aztecac: 1.95 million Hokan languages: 4000 speakers Penutian languages: 6800 speakers

8 Language Action in California
Though they’re not being learned natively, many young people around the state are trying to learn them as second languages. Many feel the loss of language is a loss of personal history and a loss of identity. Forming tribal language committees, school programs, evening language classes. Audio and video-taping elders

9 Problems Basic problem: no longer the main language of any household so children are not learning natively. Controversial nature of the task of preserving the languages: many people believe it keeps the indigenous population from assimilating to ‘mainstream’ American culture. Various authorities criticise, ridicule or just ignore many attempts to preserve languages. Not sufficient funding or hours of school-time made available to help the language learning process.

10 (fluent speakers / includes non fluent or second-language speakers)
Cocopa: 150 / 400 (introductory college course at nearby college, summer youth program with language retention activities Karuk: 10 / 60 (writing systems taught in some school programs, has many singers) Cahuilla: 20 / 50 (individual efforts only)

11 References Hinton, L (1994), Flutes of Fire: Essays on Californian Languages, Heyday Books, California

12 North America Navajo: New mexico Utah Arizon

13 Navajo Native language spoken in New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. The Navajo Nation is the largest reservation in the United States, covering 27,673 square miles.

14 The Navajos have a population of over 200,000 people, making their tribe the largest Native American tribe in the United States. (178,000 speakers of Navajo recorded in the 2000 Census) The Navajo people maintain many of their ancestors' beliefs and traditions. They strive to continue speaking their challenging Navajo language, although many Navajos also speak English. Most fluent native speakers of Navajo are not literate in the language and for most Navajos who have had some schooling, English has been the only language promoted by the various school systems on the Navajo Nation during their lifetimes.

15 There were various missionary schools that were set up around North America which allowed native languages to be used as a media of instruction and religious conversation. Allowing for the development of individual writing systems for these Native Americans. But Western European policies of expedient tolerance toward Native languages changed after the American Revolution as the new federal govt turned its attention to ‘pacifying’ Native peoples in their pursuit for their lands. As a result, Congress passed the 1819 Civilization Fund Act to support missionary schooling. But by the late 19th Century, one of the primary tools to build the pathway for Anglo-European settlement were federal schools. Therefore although in mission schools the practice of teaching through the medium of native languages was possible and encouraged, in federal schools rules were strictly enforced to not allow the speaking of Indigenous languages.

16 Over the next few decades, BIA came under intense criticism for these practices, which lead to officials loosening the prohibitions against Native American languages. One unintended consequence of the boarding school system was the start of a relationship between the Native peoples from various tribes, including the Navajo, who grew up together in these schools and who in the context of the 1960s American Indian and civil rights movements, pushed for tribal sovereignity and educational reform.


18 Conclusion All Native American languages are endangered, as Native children have become increasingly more socialised in English. The causes of this are complex and the consequences severe, because unlike other speech communities they don’t have the external source of speakers to replenish their numbers. “The loss of the indigenous language is terminal: language death” WARNER 1999:72 Therefore due this predicament, language revitalization is a significant goal in Native American communities throughout the USA Schooling among other mediums therefore remains a crucial area for the exercise of tribal sovereignity and self-determination.

19 Sources Census 2000 K. Potowski ‘Language Diveristy in the USA’ 2010

20 Central America Mexico

21 Mexico Spanish = official language spoken by Mexican people
However = not defined as the official language by legislation The country is defined as multicultural & allows the right to indigenous peoples to preserve and enrich their languages as well as promoting bilingual and intercultural education.

22 General Law of Linguistic Rights of Indigenous Peoples
This law recognizes the Mexico’s history makes its indigenous languages national languages. these language = Same validity of Spanish in their territory, location and context. However, legislators made no provisions for the official or legal status of the Spanish Language. SO, indigenous peoples can use their native language in communicating with government officials and request official documents in that language.

23 The Mexican state supports the preservations and promotion of the use of the national languages through the activities of the national institute of indigenous languages.

24 Statistics Mexico = 6 Million indigenous speakers
Only a small percent of Mexico's population speaks an indigenous language compared to other countries in America: Guatemala = 42.8% Peru = 35% Ecuador = 9.4% Panama = 8.3%

25 Fact The only single indigenous language spoken by more than a million people in Mexico is the Nahuatl languages and other Native American languages with a large population of native speakers which are inclusive of: Quecha Aymara Guarani Mayan (Only some)

26 South America Bolivia Paraguay peru

27 A little background information on South America
South America is one of the most linguistically diverse places in the world. There are approximately 350 living languages Over 100 languages are unclassified by the governments of South America South America encompasses 43% of the world’s 249 independent linguistic stock The majority of indigenous languages in South America are endangered

28 Focus: Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru
Official Language Spanish, Quechua, Centra Aymara Paraguayan Guaraní, Spanish Spanish* Number of individual languages 47 22 104 Number of Living Languages 37 20 92 Number of languages that are a 2nd language 1 Number of languages with no known speakers 7 12 2nd language: no mother tongue speakers

29 Bolivia: Quechua Considered an official language but not regulated (as Spanish is) 35% of the population speak a form of Quechua Also spoken in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina by approximately 8 million people Southern Quechua is the most widely spoken indigenous language with 6 – 7 million speakers There are as many as 40 Quechuan languages spoken natively

30 Bolivia: Quechua’s Language Distribution

31 Bolivia: Quechua’s indigenous people
Only very recently have the speakers of Quechua (who vary in accordance with the language) developed some form of common sense of political identity Highland Aymara and Quechua make up the majority of Bolivia’s indigenous people and the highland Bolivian population The Popular Participation Law (1994) meant that more Quechua people are becoming more active in local and national politics

32 Bolivia: Quechua’s Language Rights
Advances have been made (by & for indigenous people) to include constitutional recognition, popular participation, bilingual education and greater parliamentary representation Bolivia now has a Constituent Assembly rather than a traditional parliament which includes a large number of indigenous representatives The Bolivian National Education Reform (1994) aims for an introduction of all 30 of Bolivia’s indigenous languages including Spanish as subjects and sources in all Bolivian schools

33 Paraguay: Guaraní Guaraní is an official language (since 1992) in Paraguay and is spoken by approximately 90% of the population Spoken by approximately 4.6 million people in Paraguay (small communities of speakers in Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina) A lot of Spanish vocabulary diffused into Guaraní Spanish is used for formal and official situations and Guaraní in private and informal settings Guaraní is part of the Tupí-Guaraní language family

34 Paraguay: Guaraní’s indigenous people
Guaraní was considered a language spoken by only lower class citizens and people from the country Many of Paraguay’s indigenous population do not have the legal title to their traditional territories; the state does not protect them against the actions of corporate landowners or other non-indigenous ranchers and farmers There is no outright discrimination against indigenous people in Paraguayan legislation but access to health services and education is a major problem Indigenous people suffer the highest infant mortality rate in the country and have the highest rate of tuberculosis and malaria

35 Paraguay: Guaraní’s Language Rights
In 1992 an educational reform made it compulsory for classes to be taught in both Guaraní and Spanish Constitution of 1992 recognised: Paraguay as a ‘pluri-cultural’ and ‘bilingual’ nation; the state’s duty to protect and provide legal title to indigenous communal lands; and acknowledged the validity of customary law The 1992 constitution did not specify indigenous rights in terms of health and education Governments have, in general, failed to transform official discourses of multiculturalism into practical reforms.

36 Peru: Aymara Aymara has around 2.2 million speakers spread across Bolivia and Peru (where it is classified as an official language), Chile and Argentina Official language in Peru is Spanish and in the areas in which they are dominant, Aymara, Quechua and others They had no written language, but under the influence of the Spanish adopted the Latin alphabet. Many different spelling systems have been devised but in 1985 the Peruvian government introduced a new spelling system known as the Aymara Official alphabet

37 Peru: Aymara’s Language Distribution

38 Peru: Aymara’s indigenous people
Many Aymara live in poverty in rural areas The Aymara faced great hardships under the Spanish invasion during the 1500s; millions died working as labourers in the mines Many Aymara are subsistence farmers in the high altitude environment where they live; limits the types of crops grown The Aymara have also recently entered the political world in Bolivia and have elected senators and representatives to the Bolivian congress

39 Peru: Aymara’s Language Rights
Peruvian government recently create a multicultural state institution (Instituto Nacional de Desarrollo de los Pueblos Andinos, Amazónicas y Afro-Peruanos (INDEPA) which includes Aymara and yechua representatives; however it has not made any legislative or constitutional changes Land rights are a major issue and demand if indigenous organisations in Peru but no revisions have been made to the policy of removal of the inalienability and indivisibility of indigenous communal lands

40 Some References
Hornberger, Nancy H. Language policy, language education, language rights: Indigenous, immigrant, and international perspectives (1998)

41 Japan ainu

42 -Population : 23,782 people Lived by hunting and gathering
Had distinctive culture and life style. Colonized by Japanese.

43 Japan’s nation building and Ainu
-Meiji Restoration 1868 Meiji government was established with central power. -Colonial policy towards Ainu ---Hokkaido Development Policy. increased control on land by state: Ainu lost their traditional land rights. ---massive immigration of Japanese people into Hokkaido -JP government enforced assimilation policy. Ainu became minority and subjugated.

44 Assimilation Policy forced agriculture with allocated land.
-Former Aborigines Protection Act 1899. forced agriculture with allocated land. school is established for Ainu. Ainu language was banned at school. --Ainu culture including religion, life style, and language are disrupted. --Ainu language became nearly extinct. Schools established for Ainu were discriminatory. Ainu children were taught to be “Japanese” not Ainu. Ainu language was not taught but banned at school. Ainu failed to cultivate the allocated land as agriculture is not fundamental part of their life

45 Present recognition of Ainu
Ainu New Law 1997 Article 1: recognize Ainu as distinctive ethnic group and respect their pride. Promote Ainu culture in Japanese society. Foundation for Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture Promoting Ainu tradition &history Efforts to revitalize Ainu language Ainu radio programs Courses for learners of Ainu Role as a ritual language in ceremony Non-Ainu also promote Ainu language revitalization online: Radio program and text books

46 REFERENCES Chiisana Ainu Kyousitsu <> DeChicchis, Joseph “The Current State of the Ainu Language.” Mutilingual Japan. Ed. Maher, John C and Yahiro Kyoko. Clevedon: Mutilingual Matter Foundation for Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture. <> Gottlieb, Nanette Language and Society in Japan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ogawa, Masahito “The Hokkaido Former Aborigines Protection Act and Assimilatory Education.” Indigenous Minorities and Education. Ed. Loos, Noel and Osanai Takeshi. Otowa: Sanyusha Publishing. And, individuals efforts.

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