“I Learned That My Name Is Spelled Wrong”: Lessons from Mexico and Nepal on Teaching Literacy for Indigenous Language Reclamation

Journal article by Haley De Korne and Miranda Weinberg in Comparative Education Review, published May 2021.


Globally many minority and Indigenous communities areCover of the journal searching for ways to reclaim languages that have been marginalized by socioeconomic and political processes. These efforts often involve novel literacy practices. In this article, we draw from ethnographic data in Mexico and Nepal to ask, what are the opportunities and constraints of teaching writing in support of Indigenous language reclamation? Writing is simultaneously an attraction and a source of marginalization or discouragement for learners in both settings. Promoting and teaching writing creates opportunities such as raising the status, visibility, and longevity of Indigenous language education initiatives. Challenges include struggles for legitimacy among teachers and learners and the emergence of new hierarchies among dialects. We suggest that language reclamation efforts can benefit from making the most of the material and social nature of writing and from avoiding hard-line purism and a focus on form, while giving greater consideration to meaning and contexts for written expression.

Read more at The University of Chicago Press Journals.

Published Jan. 17, 2022 12:36 PM - Last modified Oct. 19, 2022 1:18 PM