Understanding language vitality and reclamation as resilience

-A new paper in the journal Language, draws extensively from Indigenous scholarship to argue for more holistic and inclusive notions of language and language vitality. This enables a better understanding of language revitalization’s role as a protective factor, as well as how to evaluate its success. The paper presents data from
the Indigenous communities of the United States and Canada showing that language shift correlates with a host of negative outcomes: educational, economic, and well-being. In contrast, language revitalization may confer protective effects, suggesting that it is better understood through resilience.A more holistic framework also provides an intellectually coherent integration of language revitalization, language documentation, and language itself.

Fitzgerald, Colleen M. 2017. “Understanding Language Vitality and Reclamation as Resilience: A Framework for Language Endangerment and “Loss” (Commentary on Mufwene),” Language 93:4, e281-298. https://www.linguisticsociety.org/sites/default/files/e8_93.4Fitzgerald.pdf

The paper is open access and can be read here.