Society for Linguistic Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Undoubtedly Jane H. Hill's contributions to Mexican linguistics have been many and varied. One of these is her elaboration of the concept of linguistic ideology (Hill 1992), useful in accounting for ideas and conflicts between Yaqui and Mayo speakers versus Spanish in the state of Sonora, Mexico, where I have conducted research. Linguistic ideology is very important in both language maintenance and shift processes among these Indigenous speakers in their relationship to the dominant language. In spite of this, there are more than 42,000 Mayo speakers; most children and young people do not speak the Native language, because of the impact of negative linguistic ideologies. The Yaqui language is more conservative, shifting more gradually.
For years Mexican sociolinguists have analyzed displacement processes using the concept of diglossic ideology, taken from Catalan academics. Their examples demonstrated ways that subordinate speakers acquired dominant ideologies in the European context. However, from the linguistic anthropological perspective, the concept of linguistic ideology proved useful in revealing multiple sides and dynamics between all languages in indigenous contact situations in Mexico.
In Yaqui and Mayo speakers’ contact with Spanish speakers, we have found varying, both positive and negative forms of linguistic ideologies. Following Hill (“Manuscript”), to interpret this complex ideological process, I refer to multiple ideologies, which imply a more nuanced view of distinct realities lived by Yaqui and Mayo communities in natural speech contexts.