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Sociolinguistics Symposium 19: Language and the City

Sociolinguistics Symposium 19

Freie Universität Berlin | August 21-24, 2012

Programme: accepted abstracts

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Abstract ID: 570

Part of Session 120: Sociolinguists on Facebook on the Indigenous Languages in the City (Other abstracts in this session)

Indigenous Languages as Cosmopolitan and Global Languages: The Latin American Case

Authors: Coronel-Molina, Serafin M.
Submitted by: Coronel-Molina, Serafin M. (Indiana University Bloomington, USA, United States of America)

Latin America is a multilingual, pluricultural and multiethnic social context. Many indigenous languages have co-existed with Spanish in a diglossic and multiglossic situation for more than 500 years. This asymmetric relationship of power and prestige, and the negative attitudes and isolationist ideologies on the part of the majority of Spanish speakers at the societal level have caused a negative impact on the recognition and valorization of indigenous languages. Despite these competing ideologies and negative attitudes, the constant demand of the linguistic market, and the pressures of the multiplicity of social, economic and political factors, some Indigenous languages still remain relatively vital in the Latin American sociolinguistic landscape. In their struggle to survive, in recent years, Indigenous languages have gained new terrains of functionality in areas such as mass media and social media. By merging tradition and technology, these indigenous languages have started bridging the gap between the local and the global. In other words, the presence of Indigenous languages is becoming more prevalent not only in private domains, but also in public domains, and even in virtual domains. In this presentation, I am going to demythify the views and beliefs of Indigenous languages as only ancientand local languages, and demonstrate with some examples that they are modern and global languages in process of development to face the challenges of contemporary times. In short, Indigenous languages are not static, but dynamic like any other language around the world, so trying to museumize, romanticize and essentialize them in the twenty-first century could be a counterproductive endeavor. My primary focus will be on the following Indigenous languages: Quechua and Aymara (Andean territory), Guarani (Amazonian and Andean territories), Yucatec Mayan (Mexico and Yucatán Peninsula in Guatemala), K’iché [Quiché] (Guatemala highlands, and Guatemala City) and Nahuatl (Mexico).

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