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Some Recent Trends in the Linguistic Anthropology of Native North America


Although the languages of Native North America and the linguistic communities that spoke these languages once provided the key data for American anthropology's early agenda under Boas, linguistic anthropologists continue their study in a manner inflected to contemporary political economic realities and theoretical concerns. One area of scholarship that displays some continuity with earlier research is the study of Native American place-names, but even here contemporary researchers have explored the ethnographic surround of naming practices, including the multilingualism and multiculturalism of today's indigenous communities. Other research topics that have had less precedent include verbal art, language ideologies, and linguistic racism. Recent research in Native North American verbal art has advanced the appreciation of indigenous poetics but also developed a “critical” ethnopoetics that attends to a larger political economic context. Recent research on language ideologies has explored such topics as new patterns of language and identity and the role of ideologies in language revitalization.

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