The Politics of Mayan Linguistics in Guatemala: Native Speakers, Expert Analysts, and the Nation

  title={The Politics of Mayan Linguistics in Guatemala: Native Speakers, Expert Analysts, and the Nation},
  author={Brigittine M. French},
In this essay I examine the emergence and transformation of linguistic analysis as an authoritative field of knowledge in the context of competing nationalists agendas in Guatemala. I show how various social actors including missionary linguists, North American secular linguists, and Maya linguists are implicated in the struggle for authority in “science of language.” I argue that in these intellectual and political struggles, the awareness and participation of the “native speaker” is central… Expand
Linguistic science and nationalist revolution: Expert knowledge and the making of sameness in pre-independence Ireland
ABSTRACT This article examines the linguistic ideological work entailed in the analyses of Irish by the “revolutionary scholar” and cofounder of the Gaelic League, Eoin MacNeill. It does so toExpand
Kichwa or Quichua? Competing Alphabets, Political Histories, and Complicated Reading in Indigenous Languages
Over the past century, missionary educators, nation-state and academic planners, and literacy development workers have used alphabets for political ends for traditionally marginalized languages, andExpand
Codeswitching Avoidance as a Strategy for Mam (Maya) Linguistic Revitalization1
  • W. Collins
  • Sociology
  • International Journal of American Linguistics
  • 2005
Since 1991, Fishman has carved out a new area of focus for research and linguistic activism—the Reversal of Language Shift (RLS)—within the general field of the Sociology of Language. In thisExpand
Teachers, textbooks, and orthographic choices in Quechua: comparing bilingual intercultural education in Peru and Ecuador across decades
ABSTRACT One of the central paradoxes of textbook authorship in Indigenous languages is that some of those for whom the textbooks are intended find it challenging to read them. Here, throughExpand
The history of the Poqomchi’ language description
ABSTRACT This article presents an overview of linguistic efforts aimed at a description of the Poqomchi’ language (Mayan family, Guatemala). This language remains one of the least documentedExpand
Bible translation and medicine man talk: Missionaries, indexicality, and the “language expert” on the San Carlos Apache Reservation
This article sketches the effects of 100 years of missionary presence on how people in the San Carlos Apache community regard language and the idea of a “language expert.” Evangelical ChristianExpand
Publications Received
  • Language in Society
  • 2005
Publications received.


Regimes of Language: Ideologies, Polities, and Identities
In Regimes of Language, ten leading linguistic anthropologists integrate two often segregated domains: politics (without language) and language (without politics). Their essays contribute to anExpand
the “real” Haitian Creole: ideology, metalinguistics, and orthographic choice
This article analyzes competing representations of kreyol and the symbolic importance of decisions taken in standardizing a kreyol orthography. Kreyol, which educated Haitians claim to share with theExpand
Linguistic theories and national images in 19th century Hungary
We are used to understanding Herder as a fbunder of western philology and anthropology, os one of those who helped put into place the great discursive opposition in 19th century European thoughtExpand
Language ideologies : practice and theory
1. Introduction: Language Ideology as a Field of Inquiry 2. Ideologies of Honorific Language 3. "Today there is no respect": Nostalgia, "respect," and oppositional discourse in Mexicano (Nahuatl)Expand
Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism
What makes people love and die for nations, as well as hate and kill in their name? While many studies have been written on nationalist political movements, the sense of nationality - the personalExpand
Maya cultural activism in Guatemala
Acronyms 1. Introduction: Maya Cultural Activism in Guatemala (Edward F. Fischer and R. McKenna Brown) 2. The Politics of Maya Revindication (Demetrio Cojti Cuxil) 3. Induced Culture Change as aExpand
Which is to be master ? : The institutionalization of authority in the science of language
  • 1990
Colonial linguistics
  • In Annual Review of Anthropology . Palo Alto, California: Annual Reviews Incorporated,
  • 2001