Local and global dimensions of language revitalization in Latin America and the Caribbean

Kendall A. King, Martina Arnal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Recent research and writing on Indigenous language revitalization across Latin American and the Caribbean suggests four broad trends. The first of these is greater attention to the significant uptake and engagement by Indigenous organizations and language revitalization advocacy groups with globally circulating discourses, including those of social class struggle, human rights, and environmental protectionism. In particular, language revitalization efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean, while locally rooted and tied to specific populations and geographies, increasingly find traction through adoption of broadly circulating discourses of endangerment (Heller & Duchêne, 2007). The second, related trend in this body of work is greater attention to the ways that language revitalization efforts in this region, as elsewhere in the world, are critically supported by global, often nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and development agencies. As language revitalization in Latin American is often synonymous with mother tongue education (and hence, basic public primary education), development agencies and NGOs have played prominent roles in advancing language revitalization efforts in terms of state policy, funding, materials development, and capacity building. Third, recent research on the impact of these initiatives underlines the wide range of local dynamics as these language and education initiatives unfold, including community resistance in some contexts, and shifting and variable notions of language revitalization goals. The fourth trend, discussed in the final section of this chapter, is towards greater local ownership and Indigenous leadership and control of these efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIndigenous Language Revitalization in the Americas
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781135092351
ISBN (Print)9780415810814
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Taylor & Francis.


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