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Language attitudes and opportunities for speaking a minority language: what lies ahead for Ozelonacaxtla Totonac? Open Access


Other title
language shift
Ozelonacaxtla Totonac
language attitudes
minority language
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
McGraw, Rachel
Supervisor and department
Lam, Yvonne (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Beck, David (Linguistics)
Examining committee member and department
Nadasdi, Terry (Linguistics)
Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
The present research describes the sociolinguistic situation in the minority indigenous community of San Juan Ozelonacaxtla in the state of Puebla, Mexico. Both Ozelonacaxtla Totonac and Spanish are spoken in the speech community. However, some bilingual parents use only Spanish in the home, ceasing the transmission of their native language to their children and placing the community in the early stages of language shift. Spanish is seen as the language of opportunity in the context of recent and significant social, political, educational, and economic changes in San Juan Ozelonacaxtla. Parents claim they teach their children Spanish because it is more useful than Ozelonacaxtla Totonac, it enables their children to avoid discrimination associated with speaking an indigenous language, it is necessary for their children to do well in school, and it allows for more economic mobility. These factors are accelerating the integration of the community into majority Mexican society.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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