Multilingual and Multicultural Mexico between Homogeneity and Heterogeneity

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Roland TERBORG, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
Linguistic and cultural diversity is common in a world where migration is increasing. Although homogeneity often seems to be the ideal for many people, heterogeneity is becoming more and more reality. At the same time there is a tendency towards homogeneity too. This paper seeks to locate Mexico in a position between homogeneity and heterogeneity.

Mexico was a country with high cultural and linguistic diversity when Europeans arrived. Just as with most other countries around the world, the capital city has attracted migrants from all over the country who represented such diversity.

The country has a population of 112 million inhabitants, and a large part of this population is living in the capital and surrounding areas. Although multiculturalism is a fact across the history of Mexico, many Mexi- cans have largely ignored it. In general, the Mexican population has shown little interest in works addressing linguistic diversity. Usually, people refer to languages as “dialects”, even though there is a considerable linguistic distance between the languages spoken in Mexico. There are, for example, languages like Mayan Yucatec spoken on the peninsula of Yucatan and Otomi, spoken mostly north of Mexico City. These two languages differ from one another as much as English and Chinese do.

Nowadays there are different regions in Mexico where multilingualism is always present. At the same time there are a lot of regions where monolingualism is dominant, in spite of returning migrants from the US. Mexico is moving between homogeneity and heterogeneity and I consider that actually the tendency seems to be homogeneity.