Landscapes of Literacy: Global Issues and Local Language Literacy Practices in Two Rural Communities of Mexico

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/216951
Title:
Landscapes of Literacy: Global Issues and Local Language Literacy Practices in Two Rural Communities of Mexico
Author:
Watters, Juanita L.
Issue Date:
2011
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This ethnographic study examines the local (Indigenous) language literacy practices and literacy events in their specific sociocultural contexts in two Indigenous language communities in Mexico. The languages of these two communities are among over 200 Indigenous languages of Mexico still spoken today, despite half a millennium of pressure against Indigenous languages by speakers of Spanish. The focus of this study is on how these languages, Mela'tajtol (Isthmus Nahuat), and Ngigua (Northern Popoloca), are being used today in their written form. Both the Mela'tajtol and SM Ngigua communities have a history of literacy practices in their own language, albeit not yet extensive. The social practices surrounding the uses of print compose what I have called landscapes of literacy. In my research I observed new contexts produced through texts and practices in the Mela'tajtol and SM Ngigua language communities. The research brings to light the significance of the geographic, historic and linguistic contexts of both communities, and the importance of recognizing the multilayered relationships of power among those involved in writing their languages. What emerges is a compelling picture of an unprecedented collaboration in each community between bilingual teachers motivated by national pressure to teach reading and writing of their language in the schools, and the principal participants of the study, who are not bilingual teachers, but who hold resources and skills they are eager to share in promoting their language in written form. The dissertation reviews frameworks of language planning and proposes a framework of power and human agency to further describe the layers of social meaning and responsibility identified and described in the research. This symbiotic relationship is also found in the national and international influences and resources for promoting the use of indigenous languages of Mexico in written form at the local levels (including the Mela'tajtol and SM Ngigua languages). UNESCO's recognition of challenges to literacy at the global level are compared to the challenges found regarding literacy in the local languages of the two communities of study. Implications are presented for further research, as well as recommendations for the two communities and other people of power involved in indigenous language cultivation.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Mexico; Nahuatl; Ngigua; Popoloca; Language, Reading & Culture; literacy; Mela'tajtol
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Language, Reading & Culture
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Gilmore, Perry

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleLandscapes of Literacy: Global Issues and Local Language Literacy Practices in Two Rural Communities of Mexicoen_US
dc.creatorWatters, Juanita L.en_US
dc.contributor.authorWatters, Juanita L.en_US
dc.date.issued2011-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis ethnographic study examines the local (Indigenous) language literacy practices and literacy events in their specific sociocultural contexts in two Indigenous language communities in Mexico. The languages of these two communities are among over 200 Indigenous languages of Mexico still spoken today, despite half a millennium of pressure against Indigenous languages by speakers of Spanish. The focus of this study is on how these languages, Mela'tajtol (Isthmus Nahuat), and Ngigua (Northern Popoloca), are being used today in their written form. Both the Mela'tajtol and SM Ngigua communities have a history of literacy practices in their own language, albeit not yet extensive. The social practices surrounding the uses of print compose what I have called landscapes of literacy. In my research I observed new contexts produced through texts and practices in the Mela'tajtol and SM Ngigua language communities. The research brings to light the significance of the geographic, historic and linguistic contexts of both communities, and the importance of recognizing the multilayered relationships of power among those involved in writing their languages. What emerges is a compelling picture of an unprecedented collaboration in each community between bilingual teachers motivated by national pressure to teach reading and writing of their language in the schools, and the principal participants of the study, who are not bilingual teachers, but who hold resources and skills they are eager to share in promoting their language in written form. The dissertation reviews frameworks of language planning and proposes a framework of power and human agency to further describe the layers of social meaning and responsibility identified and described in the research. This symbiotic relationship is also found in the national and international influences and resources for promoting the use of indigenous languages of Mexico in written form at the local levels (including the Mela'tajtol and SM Ngigua languages). UNESCO's recognition of challenges to literacy at the global level are compared to the challenges found regarding literacy in the local languages of the two communities of study. Implications are presented for further research, as well as recommendations for the two communities and other people of power involved in indigenous language cultivation.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectMexicoen_US
dc.subjectNahuatlen_US
dc.subjectNgiguaen_US
dc.subjectPopolocaen_US
dc.subjectLanguage, Reading & Cultureen_US
dc.subjectliteracyen_US
dc.subjectMela'tajtolen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineLanguage, Reading & Cultureen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorGilmore, Perryen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberRuiz, Richarden_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGonzalez, Normaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberReyes, Ilianaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGilmore, Perryen_US
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