The Influence of Linguistic Inequality on the Vitality of Two Otopamean Languages of Mexico: Chichimeco Jonaz and Tlahuica

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 6:15 PM
Room: Booth 62
Oral Presentation
Martha MUNTZEL , Dirección de Lingüística, INAH, Inst Nacional Antropología e Historia, México D.F, Mexico
Aileen MARTINEZ , Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas - UNAM, México, Distrito Federal, Mexico

In this paper we explore the influence of linguistic inequality on the vitality of two related Otopamean languages spoken in Mexico, Chichimeco Jonaz and Tlahuica, both of which are endangered languages being displaced by Spanish.

First, we compare the similarities and differences in the social, geographical and historical contexts of the two languages. Then we apply international criteria found in the UNESCO Vitality Index which determines degree of linguistic vitality in order to analyze and compare the use of Chichimeco Jonaz and Tlahuica.  Finally, the role of language ideology as shaped by Mexican political economies and their institutions is touched upon. How changes in language policy have influenced language maintenance and shift is also discussed.