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The Straw that Broke the Language's Back: Language Shift in the Upper Necaxa Valley of Mexico Open Access

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Author or creator
Lam, Y.
Dorian, N.C.
Additional contributors
Subject/Keyword
Totonac
Language shift
Spanish language
Languages in contact
Type of item
Journal Article (Published)
Language
English
Place
Mexico
Time
Description
This article examines the factors that have led to a shift to Spanish in the Upper Necaxa Totonac communities of east-central Mexico. Despite the fact that Spanish and Totonac have been in contact since before the eighteenth century, the shift to the majority language has only occurred in the past four decades. I will show that this shift resulted from the combination of long-standing negative attitudes towards indigenous cultures with new social and economic conditions, namely the establishment of Spanishlanguage schooling and a shift to a cash-based economy. The proximate cause of the linguistic ‘‘tip’’ to Spanish was not so much the desire to speak the majority language as the increased opportunities to do so.
Date created
2009
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3NZ80S6N
License information
Rights
© Walter de Gruyter
Citation for previous publication
Lam, Y. & Dorian, N.C. (2009). The Straw that Broke the Language's Back: Language Shift in the Upper Necaxa Valley of Mexico. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 195, 219-33. doi: 10.1515/IJSL.2009.012
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