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Issues in Applied Linguistics

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Indigenous Language Teaching Policy in California/the U.S.: What’s Left Unsaid in Discourse/Funding


This paper addresses the issue of indigenous language revitalization in California and the United States as it relates to language policy in schools. How do language policies—specifically, No Child Left Behind, the Native American Languages Act, and those of local funding—affect revitalization efforts? Based on a grounded exploration of language policies regarding Native American communities in the State of California, this paper offers: 1) a close analysis of how policies relegate Native community language needs to the background, and 2) how the realities of funding affect the implicit and explicit statements of these policies. In particular, a critical discourse analysis of policy documents is put forth. This analysis reveals that language revitalization efforts involve more than communities working to teach dying languages; they involve us addressing several background issues concerning existing language policies as well as efforts on the part of funders to raise awareness of Native American language concerns.

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