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Journal Article

Where should we learn our native language?: Four cases of indigenous communities in Latin America


Kondic,  Ana
Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Kondic, A. (2021). Where should we learn our native language?: Four cases of indigenous communities in Latin America. Tomsk Journal of Linguistic and Anthropology, 3(33), 41-48. doi:10.23951/2307-6119-2021-3-41-48.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-456C-F
This research was presented at the colloquium “The fate of linguistic heritage: transmitted to the younger generations or lost?” held at the RAS Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences in May 2021. My presentation was a short overview of the language acquisition patterns within four indigenous communities in Latin America, speakers of the following indigenous languages: South Eastern Huastec (Mayan, Mexico), Tsotsil of San Isidro de la Libertad (Mayan, Mexico), Huilliche/Tsesungun (Mapudungan, Chile) and Mixe (Mixe-Zoquean, Mexico). I carried out extensive fieldwork and research with these communities (more details can be found in Kondic 2021, Kondic 2021 (forthcoming), Kondic 2015b, Kondic 2014a, Kondic 2014b, Kondic 2011b, Kondic 2010). At the moment my research concentrates on the sociolinguistic situation with the language Mixe (Mixe-Zoquean, Mexico), namely, on their language attitudes. During each of these four projects I produced learning materials to facilitate language teaching and revitalization (Kondic 2009b, Kodic 2016, Kondic 2015a, Kondic 2013b, Kondic 2015c, Kondic 2018b). The materials I produced and left in the communities are now being used for language teaching and maintenance. In this article I am going to present my insight into the patterns of native language learning within the above four communities. Many of Mexican indigenous languages are at present in decline and falling into disuse. Language endangerment often causes interruption in the process of language transmission, and it will be interesting to see what the situation is like within these different languages of Latin America that I had an opportunity to work with.