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Consequences of language hierarchization: Language ideologies among Purepecha (heritage) speakers in the US. Implications for language maintenance and learning


In my dissertation, I examine some of the language ideologies towards Purepecha and indigenous speech in seven Purepecha speakers and seven Purepecha heritage speakers in the U.S. I analyze the way language hierarachization has been established in Mexico and the ways in which Purepecha speakers and Purepecha heritage speakers alike deal with this hierarchization. I also analyze how standardizing language policies have impacted Purepecha language maintenance, as well as how language ideologies about Purepecha and other indigenous languages in Mexico are present in the interviewees' discourse. I examine the possible role that language ideologies have in speakers' decisions to shift from Purepecha to Spanish and to English.

Among the language ideological features I study is Purepecha's status as a language in contrast to Spanish and English, and the iconization and racialization of Mexican indigenous speech, resulting in the creation of a stereotyped Indio ethnicity. Finally, I examine interviewees' language learning investments when learning a language other than their own, as well as resistance and appropriation processes that result from the imposition of learning dominant languages.

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