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Title:"Que No Olviden Su Cultura, Y Tambien El Idioma": A Case Study of Mayan Literacy Revival in the 'Pan -Maya Culture and Language Revitalization Movement' in Guatemala
Author(s):Holbrock, Mary Jo
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Robert T. Jimenez
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Cultural
Abstract:This study examines Mayan literacy revival in the context of a Mayan language and culture revitalization movement occurring in Guatemala. It aspires to follow in the tradition of the New Literacy Studies. The research takes the form of a case study of two communities, Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango, and San Pedro la Laguna, Solola. The Mayan languages spoken in these villages, Q'anjob'al and Tz'utujil, respectively, are not endangered. They are in a situation of language contact with Spanish which could lead to stable bilingualism or to language shift. While most previous sociolinguistic research on Mayan language in Guatemala has evaluated oral language use in the home domain to draw conclusions about language shift, the present study focuses on written Mayan language and other activities considered as literacy for the purpose of examining revitalization. Data for this study are qualitative. A particular definition of literacy pertinent to the community investigated is posited. Results are organized according to three domains: personal use, media, and education. Findings include: a slight increase of Mayan literacy in personal use (with Mayan literacy joining formerly Spanish-only domains), coupled with an increase of oral Spanish language use such that Spanish is invading formerly Mayan-only domains; an increase of Mayan literacy in published media including books, magazines and newspapers, thus joining formerly Spanish-only domains; and an introduction of Mayan literacy in education, joining a formerly Spanish-only domain. However, these gains in domain increase are challenged by ideological factors. Traditional Mayan cultural values are being lost as traditional Mayan clothing is replaced with used clothing from the US, as a result of the introduction of Evangelical Christian religion by outsiders, and with Maya youth adopting outsider habits introduced partly through foreign media. Another threat to Mayan literacy revitalization comes from problems of project sustainability due to the fact that much of the funding for literacy projects comes from abroad. One positive factor that could be tapped into to encourage Mayan literacy revitalization in the two focal villages is a tremendous enthusiasm on the part of local Maya primary school teachers for the use of Mayan language and literacy in schools.
Issue Date:2004
Description:346 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3130936
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2004

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