Personal Narrative: The Erosion Of Indigenous Language

465 Words2 Pages
This week’s reading by Wyman, McCarty, and Nicholas was very interesting and brought back some memories when I was in elementary school. Growing up on the Navajo reservation, I was told by my grandparents and my parents to learn my language. I remember them telling me as a child that the youth are the ones who will keep the language and tradition alive so we must learn it. To this day, I remember the pressure of trying to learn my traditional language and learning English at school. I felt the pressure from not only my family but other members of the tribe. I would often hear that the youth of our tribe will be clueless and how my generation is where the Navajo language dies. It was sad to hear that from the elders and made me want to learn…show more content…
This leads the learner feeling embarrassed and resented from the tribe. One quote that struck me from the first chapter was, “In many ways, changing language ideologies and the rapid, wholesale erosion of Indigenous language learning opportunities set up the conditions of language endangerment long before youth appear on the scene, and youth can experience understandable insecurities, embarrassment, guilt, and resentment when they are blamed for language endangerment circumstances out of their control.” The youth are not the ones to blame when the language declines because the language learning opportunities may not have been established or enforced. The first chapter highlights a lot of issues that the youth must face when learning their traditional…show more content…
It is hard to retain a language when you can’t practice/converse in the language. The words start to disappear and become cloudy as the years go by. This is one thing I noticed when I moved to Phoenix to attend ASU. I had to find my own group of students who could speak Navajo to retain my language and to find a new “learning environment”. Wyman, McCarty, and Nicholas discussed this issue saying, “contemporary Indigenous youth commonly contend with lack of access to key language learning resources and learning environments. Their accumulating language learning opportunities, or lack thereof, also shape their communicative repertoires and language ideologies in complex ways. At the same time, youth show tremendous agency, innovation, and adaptation”. Contemporary indigenous youth must be more resourceful and find new ways to retain/learn their traditional language. These two quotes resonated with me because they reminded me (the youth) that we must find/create positive environments to effectively learn traditional
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