Society for Linguistic Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
In her classical essay “Don Francisco Márquez survives: a meditation on monolingualism” (1998) Jane Hill developed the notion of the grandparent effect, arguing that heritage-language monolinguals may have an important impact in the acquisition and socialization of a language in contexts of language shift. Along this line, I develop a model of the “language socialization niche” (LSN) to account for the ecological and interactional spaces between and within generations where a language is socialized in the context of shift. I argue for two types of generational niches in the socialization of threatened languages: the “grandparent” and the “peer group” niche. The latter is integrated into this model through the inspiration of recent studies on the role of peer groups in language maintenance (Paugh 2012, see also de León 2019). The LSN model is developed along the lines of the Child-Directed Communication model (Ochs, Solomon and Sterponi, 2005), and includes the following modules: (i) linguistic ideologies, (ii) habitats, (iii) participation structures, (iv) linguistic repertoires, and (v) artifacts. I provide ethnographic documentation of everyday children interactions of LSNs in Tzotzil Mayan (de León 2019, Zapotec, (Santiago 2017), and Yucatec Mayan (Chi Pech, 2016), drawing connections to the larger sociolinguistic background. The study is rooted in long time research in language acquisition and socialization among the Tzotzil Mayan people of Chiapas (de León 1994, 2012, 2018, 2019).