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A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot language course Patterns of variationism and standard in the "organization of diversity "


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This chapter documents the development of a university-level Blackfoot language course in which many of the students are linguistic inheritors (Rampton 1990) of Blackfoot. In attempting to integrate " the study of the culture of language into documentary linguistics " (Hill 2006: 113), we observe how varied language ideological patterns among speakers and learners of dierent linguistic repertoires came to be organized for the purposes of formal language instruction. Analysis of classroom discourse reveals conicting language ideologies between variationism (Kroskrity 2009b) and standard (Hill 2008). We propose a model of " Language Ideological Variation and Emergence " (LIVE) to clarify how participant aliations to competing language ideologies can emerge and shi as dierent language ideologies come into contact during discourse.
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A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot
language course
Patterns of variationism and standard
intheorganization of diversity”
Annabelle Chatsis1, Mizuki Miyashita1 & Deborah Cole2
1e University of Montana / 2e University of Texas – Pan American
is chapter documents the development of a university-level Blackfoot
languagecourse in which many of the students are linguistic inheritors
(Rampton1990) of Blackfoot. In attempting to integrate “the study of the
cultureof language into documentary linguistics” (Hill 2006: 113), we observe
how varied language ideological patterns among speakers and learners of
dierent linguistic repertoires came to be organized for the purposes of formal
language instruction. Analysis ofclassroom discourse reveals conicting
languageideologies between variationism (Kroskrity 2009b) and standard
(Hill2008). We propose a model of “Language Ideological Variation and
Emergence” (LIVE) to clarify how participant aliations to competing language
ideologies canemerge and shi as dierent language ideologies come into contact
during discourse.
Keywords: Blackfoot; variationism; standard; language ideology;
. I n t r o d u c t i o n
A second foundational presumption of the ethnography of language is, of
course, that speech communities are not linguistically homogeneous, but are
“organizations of diversity.e idea of the speech community as an “organization
of diversity” is a very useful one for students of minority languages who encounter
communities that are at the very least bilingual. Especially important, of course,
is the distribution of the linguistic resources of the minority language versus the
other language or languages across the repertoire of possible speech events and
acts, across genres, across the kinds of speakers and addressees, across channels,
across aective keys, and the like. is organization of diversity has very practical
consequences for our work. (Hill 2006: 117–118)
 Annabelle Chatsis, Mizuki Miyashita & Debbie Cole
In this chapter, we document the development of a course for teaching Blackfoot, an
Algonquian language spoken in Alberta and Montana. e Blackfoot course was rst
oered at the University of Montana in 2009. e students in the course included
linguistic inheritors (Rampton 1990) of dierent varieties of Blackfoot. Because of
the language’s particular sociolinguistic history (summarized below), the creation of
this language curriculum provided a currently rare opportunity for the Blackfoot lin-
guistic inheritors to be exposed to varieties other than their own.1 Unlike languages
typically taught in institutionalized settings, Blackfoot does not have standard forms
pre-selected. e need for explicit selection highlighted the existence of language ideo-
logical variation across the dierent user communities who had a stake in the language.2
Creating and teaching a Blackfoot language curriculum thus required theorganization
of multiple diversities, ranging from formal diversity (phonetic, phonological, mor-
phological and lexico-semantic variation) to language ideological diversity, i.e. varying
ideas about which and whose forms should be used when and where. Both organiza-
tions of diversity were directly relevant for selecting what would be taught and learned
in the Blackfoot classroom. Our analysis demonstrates how emerging organizations of
ideological variation are directly linked to organizations of linguistic diversity.
In presenting and analyzing the ways that linguistic and ideological diversity came
to be organized for language teaching, we also try to “think through” the “three require-
ments” for “integrat[ing]…the study of the culture of language into documentary
linguistics” (Hill 2006: 113). We have organized the chapter according to these require-
ments: We begin by drawing on ethnographic practice using Hymesian “ethnography
of speaking” (Section2). We then pay attention to locally emergent interactional norms
(Sections3 and 4) and attend to the semiotics of language ideologies (Section5). Hill
(2002) also noted that the ways in which naturally occurring linguistic variation gets
categorized into discrete languages have tended to benet the categorizers and/or the
speakers of the variants that get selected as category prototypes. us, language catego-
rization processes not only sort variation into “typical” and “a-typical” variants, they
also sort people into “representative” and “marginal” speakers. In our data, we notice
how classroom talk inuenced how variant selections were made for classroom instruc-
tion and conclude that the integrated approach Hill proposes can raise our awareness
of the eects linguists can and do have on how linguistic diversity becomes organized.
. We adopt Ramptons proposal of a three-way distinction between language expertise, lan-
guage inheritance, and language aliation as a more accurate and useful way of organizing
dierences between language learners than the concepts of mother tongue or native speaker.
As re-presented in Leung, Harris and Rampton (1997), a person may inherit a language by
being born into a community which speaks it, whether or not she has the ability to use it
herself (expertise) or the desire to be identified with it (aliation).
. is “lack” of standard has been similarly observed in language projects aiming to
establish standardized orthographies (e.g. Hinton 2010).
A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot language course 
Within this integrated approach, we respond to the need within documentary
linguistics for language ideological clarication, specically in collaborative projects
between linguists and community language experts (Hill 2006; Kroskrity & Field
2009). Encounters between the various participants in this curriculum development
project involved language ideological contact between two broad ideologies: Varia-
tionism, in which “dialectal variation is the expected outcome of family and individual
dierences” (Kroskrity 2009b: 193), and the ideology of standard (Hill 2008), in which
one language variety is reied at the expense of all others. In proposing a model which
represents possible organizations of language ideological diversity, we hope to provide
linguists and community language experts with a concrete tool for clarifying language
ideological diversity. Given that linguists are almost exclusively linguistic inheritors
of standardized languages and standard language ideologies (Dorian 2010a), wehope
this tool can be used to recognize patterns of language ideological dierence in order
to initiate and maintain more equitable interactional norms between people with
diverse language inheritances, interests, and training. Our work is also explicitly
linked to Zepeda and Hill (1998), who model collaborative best practice in linguistic
documentation and ethnographic writing.
. Ethnography: e geographic, historical and ideological contexts
forlinguistic diversity in Blackfoot
Speech communities will dier not only in manifesting dierent kinds of
language structures, but in manifesting dierent patterns of use. An ethnography
of the distribution of registers, speech-act types, and the like across the contextual
landscape is critical to linguistic documentation. (Hill 2006: 114)
ere are four Blackfoot speaking tribes: Siksiká ‘Blackfoot’, Kainai ‘Many Chief’,
Apátohsipikani ‘North Piegan’, and Aamsskáápipikani ‘South Piegan’ (Frantz 1991).
e English version of their tribe names, though not necessarily their translations,
are: Blackfoot, Blood, North Piegan, and Blackfeet, respectively. ese English terms
refer to reservations (or reserves in Canada) as well as to tribal members. e rst
three reserves are located in Alberta, Canada. e Blackfeet reservation is in the U.S.
“Blackfoot” is a cover term used to refer to these four tribal groups as well as to the
mutually intelligible dialects spoken by tribal members.3 For political reasons, these
. Two other tribes are recognized under Treaty 7 along with these four Blackfoot tribes
in Canada, but they are not in the Confederacy and do not speak Blackfoot. ese are Tsuu
T’ina (Sarcee), who speak Dene language, and Stoney (Morley), who speak Nakota language.
Treaty 7 was an agreement made between the Crown and tribes in Southern Alberta in 1877 to
declare reserve land for the tribes within this region. is included the Blackfoot Confederacy,
Tsuu T’ina, and Stoney. Each tribe would have their own land base (or “reserve”) recognized by
 Annabelle Chatsis, Mizuki Miyashita & Debbie Cole
four groups have been grouped together as the Confederacy of Blackfoot, in large part
on the basis that they share a “language”. Figure 1 shows the geographic locations of
the tribal lands of each of the four groups with respect to the political border between
Canada and the US.
Cut Bank
Great Falls
© Kevin McManigal
A. Detail
Figure 1. A. Blackfoot Reserve, Alberta; B. North Piegan Reserve, Alberta; C. Blood Reser ve,
Alberta; D. Blackfeet Reservation, Montana. Cartography by Kevin McManigal, e University
of Montana.
. Historical separation of land, language, and people
As far back as I (Annabelle) can remember, my grandparents told me stories of how
Niitsítapiiksi (the Blackfoot people, lit. the real people) visited one another for weeks
on end. ey would talk about how large the camps were and how it would take days
for them to travel throughout the territory to get to where they were going. However,
that all changed when the U.S. and Britain entered into a war (declared in 1812 over
the Canadian government. ere are eleven signed treaties throughout Canada with various
tribes. See (Dempsey 1978) for more. Hugh A. Dempsey, Indian Tribes of Alberta. Cal gar y:
Glenbow/Alberta Institute. 1978.
A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot language course 
trading and water rights) that would divide the land base. is division would greatly
impact the Niitsítapiiksi and their way of life. e change caused a lot of confusion
for Niitsítapiiksi because they couldn’t understand how the government could divide
their hunting and camping grounds. is division also meant that the Niitsítapiiksi
would lose their freedom to travel throughout an area known as Blackfoot territory.
e Niitsítapiiksi continued to go back and forth for a while, not paying attention to
the “ invisible line” dividing their territory.
My great grandfather was most aected by this change because he was known
among the Niitsítapiiksi as a great medicine man. He would travel throughout Black-
foot territory and beyond in search of various medicines to help the Niitsítapiiksi
in their time of need. My great grandfather was originally from Aamsskáápipikani
(Blackfeet tribe in Montana), and on one of his many visits to his relatives in the north
camps, the areas known as Kainai (C in the map) and Aapátohsipikani (B in the map)
in Canada, he became involved in a situation he did not anticipate. e Canadian gov-
ernment was taking a census of the tribes along the border when he was asked of his
name at a gathering. He told the census taker his name, and the census taker placed his
name on a list, which contained names of Kainai members. He was from that moment
considered a Kainai member and a Treaty Indian of Canada. At this time the Canadian
government assigned Indian Agents to each tribe, and this agent would be responsible
for each member’s coming and going and well-being. My great grandfather, who had
no intention of staying in Canada, continued to go back and forth throughout the ter-
ritory as he had always done. Due to the rapid growth of settlers occupying land areas
not assigned to various tribes, the Indian Agents decided to implement permits for
travel so as to better monitor the mobility of the tribal members. It was dicult for
Canadian tribal members to obtain this permit because the Indian Agent (assigned by
the Department of Indian Aairs) would determine the viability of the travel.4
During this time, my great grandfather believed he was still able to travel back
and forth without question, and on a visit to relative, again in the north camps, he was
told by family there that he would have to obtain a permit to go back to his home land.
Since my great grandfather’s name was on the list of Kainai tribal members, the agent
didn’t believe that my great grandfather was from the U.S. side. e Agent continued
to insist he apply for a permit to travel. When my great grandfather gave his reason to
travel as gathering medicines and wishing to see his family, the agent didn’t see this as
a viable reason. So he was denied the permit. Only those men who were hunting or
looking for work could obtain a permit to leave the reserve. My great grandfather then
agreed to take work as a scout and monitor the invisible line for the Canadian govern-
ment. He continued to travel back and forth until it became too dicult for him to
travel. He stayed in Canada and raised his family.
. Obtaining such permits has become even more dicult since September 11, 2001.
 Annabelle Chatsis, Mizuki Miyashita & Debbie Cole
. Ongoing eects of geographic separation on language
It was t he fall o f my h year wh en my mother t old me I ne eded to get re ady as
Iwould be going to school the next day. I was excited and couldn’t wait. is meant I
would see my cousins who had already le for school. Going to school meant I was a
big girl now and that I would be entering a new adventure. Little did I know just what
kind of an adventure it would be. I really didn’t understand that I would be leaving
my mother completely for months and that I wouldn’t be seeing my father or grand-
parents for a long time. It wasn’t until I arrived at the residential school that I was told
that I would be there for some time and would only see my family on holidays and
summer months.5 e suitcase my mother packed for me with my best clothes was
taken away, and I was given dierent clothes to wear while I attended school. My hair
was cut short, and I had to shower with a very strong smelling soap that burned when
it was used. I was then given a number and told to remember that number because
that number would be on everything I had. e matron in charge told me to speak
only English and never to speak Blackfoot again. If I didn’t listen I would be punished.
My whole idea of the excitement of going to s chool and being a big girl soon faded
away. In the summer of my tenth year, it was time for me to leave the school and
return home because my father felt he wanted me home. ere were a lot of changes
then. Some of my family moved to dierent areas of the reserve and others le alto-
gether. My grandmother and mother still spoke to me in Blackfoot, but encouraged
me to speak English. ey said it would help me get a job, and I would be better o if
I didn’t speak Blackfoot as much.
My family was always busy preparing for the seasons and would always have
family members from other reserves like Siksiká and Aamsskáápipikani visit for long
periods. roughout my life I was always aware that my relatives who lived in Siksiká
and Aapátohtsipikani and Aamsskáápipikani spoke a little dierently. But it was still
Blackfoot. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be able to recognize where people were from
just by their dialect. It also wasn’t uncommon to tease one another on how we spoke
Blackfoot, because as young people it didn’t matter. It was always understood with
family members that being able to speak uent English would mean you would sur-
vive and speaking Blackfoot was a way of communicating to one another in private. I
was speaking both English and Blackfoot, and I noticed that at home family members
would speak Blackfoot pretty freely, but when we were out of the home English was
spoken. At the time I never questioned the reason why. I thought that was the way it
was. It was only when I started teaching Blackfoot that I became aware that not all
Niitsítapiiksí knew there were dierent dialects among our people.
. ese were called “boarding schools” in the U.S.
A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot language course 
I soon le home and continued my education in a city just north west of my com-
munity. Speaking Blackfoot became less and less frequent for me, and when I married
a Cree man who spoke his language uently I became familiar with the Cree language
and was able to say some words in Cree. When I called home or spoke with family
members, they would speak Blackfoot to me and I would respond in English, mostly
because I didn’t want to be rude to my husband but also I now felt uncomfortable
speaking Blackfoot. When my husband passed away, I made the decision to move back
home with my children and reconnect with family. My mother was much older now,
and it was time for us to be together again. I had been away a long time and was com-
fortable speaking English, so when I spoke Blackfoot to my mother, who spoke more
Blackfoot than English, I wasn’t condent to speak Blackfoot.
We oen ran into conict when I spoke Blackfoot because my mother would tell
me I wasn’t saying the words right or I would shorten the sentences. My mother would
tell me “just stick with English.” One conversation I remember was when we were
leaving to go shopping and I told her to get in the car. I used the word iitáísapópao’p
and she said “that is not how you say it. She then corrected me by saying áínaka’si. At
rst I was confused and a little hurt by her comments, but now I understand her rea-
sons for correcting me. I was saying words that were dierent from my mother’s way
of saying them, but I felt they still had the same meaning. I had little condence now
when it came to speaking Blackfoot to my mother and older members of my family.
Ifelt more comfortable speaking Blackfoot to family members who were more my age,
because nearly all of us were getting reacquainted with Blackfoot and were using words
that made more sense to us like iitáísapópao’p or aiksisstomatoo for “car” rather than
áínaka’si which the older people would say.6
. Linguistic diversity Blackfoot
When I (Mizuki) rst started researching in Blackfoot, I wondered why I kept hearing
and seeing both the name “Blackfootand “Blackfeet. Soon I learned that “Blackfoot”
was a direct English translation of the word Siksiká. e morpheme sik means “black
and -ika is a med ia l fo rm m ean in g “l eg o r fo ot.” e med ial for m d ie rs f rom the se man -
tically related independent form, mohkasts “leg or foot”. e [s] in the middle sik-s-ika
surfaces as a result of phonology as described in Taylor (1969) and Frantz (1991). e
English translation of siksiká appeared as a cover term for all tribes that speak one of
several mutually intelligible language varieties. By visiting Darrell Kipp, the director of
the Piegan Institute (the non-prot research organization on the Blackfeet reservation),
. While we were confirming the spelling of the word iitáísapópao’p for this chapter,
Annabelle produced several forms for the same word. e representation we give here is the
form found in Frantz and Russell 1995, which is one of the forms Annabelle gave me (Mizuki).
 Annabelle Chatsis, Mizuki Miyashita & Debbie Cole
I learned that attendees at an intertribal Blackfoot teacher conference had agreed that
the word “Blackfoot” should be the term used to refer to the language. But this is not
widely known. I learn from people who I interview on the Blackfeet reservation in the
U.S. that the correct form is “Blackfeet”. My students who are from that reservation tell
me that they are “Blackfeet” and that their ancestral language is “Blackfeet”. For them,
“Blackfoot” refers specically to the reserves in Canada. When I say I study Blackfoot,
people will oen ask me, “Which is the correct form, Blackfoot or Blackfeet?” I say,
“both and neither.
e varieties I study belong to the Algonquian family, specically to the Plains
Algonquian branch (Mithun 2001). Based on a 2001 Canadian Census, Enthnologue
cites 4,500 speakers in Canada. e youngest uent speaker generation is in its mid
50s. According to Goddard (2001), the speaker population in the U.S. is about 100.
Today, according to the research conducted by the Piegan Institute, the number of
speakers is probably around 60 and speaker age range is 80 and higher (p.c.Darrell
Kipp). Linguistic variation across Blackfoot dialects can be identied at the pho-
netic, phonological, morphological and lexico-semantic levels. Linguistic variants
exist along geographic and generational scales (Blommaert 2010). Geographic varia-
tion occurs at two levels: International variations, between the border-separated
C a n a d i a n B l a c k f o o t a n d A m e r i c a n B l a c k f e e t a n d i n t e r - t r i b a l v a r i a t i o n s , r e g a r d l e s s
of the national boarder. Examples in (1) show international geographic variation. An
example of phonetic variation appears in (a): e word for ‘potato’ starts with [m] in
Canada and [p] in the U.S. Example (b) also shows a sound dierence in the root nins/
ninih for ‘sing.Examples (c) and (d) show vocabulary dierences. e word for ‘cof-
fee’ is niita’psiksikimi (truly-black-water) in Canada, and aisiksikimi (black-water) in
the U.S.; the word for ‘tea’ is siksikimi (black-water) in Canada and áísoyoopoksiikimi
(leaf-black-water) in the US.
(1) Canada vs. U.S.
Canada U.S.
a. maatááki paataaki ‘potato’
b. ninskssini ninihkssini ‘song’
c. niita’psiksikimi aisiksikimi ‘coee’
d. siksikimi áísoyoopoksiikimi ‘tea’
Inter-tribal variations within the same national boundaries are also found. Examples
are given in (2) and (3) below (Frantz & Russell 1995). As shown in (2), in Siksiká, near
Calgary in Canada, the word samákinn means ‘lance’ or ‘spear’ while it means ‘large
knife’ in Kainai, west of Lethbridge in Canada.7 Example (3) shows a grammatical
. Semantic information for samákinn in other tribes has not been described.
A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot language course 
dierence. In Siksiká, ‘it ew’ is naipottaawa, but it is íípottaawa in other Blackfoot
tribes. us, the form of the past tense prex varies: na- vs. íí-.8
(2) Inter-tribal: semantics
samákinn ‘lance, spear’ Siksiká
‘large knife, machete Amsska’piipikani
(3) Inter-tribal: morphosyntax
naipottaawa ‘it ew’ Siksiká
íípottaawa ‘it ew’ Apatohtsipikani,
Linguistic variations are also observed across generations. Some cross-tribe members
refer to the form used by elderly people as High Blackfoot, and newer versions Low
Blackfoot. ere are other terms for these variations: Old Blackfoot and New Blackfoot
respectively. e latter terms are preferred here as they are considered to be value
neutral. Old Blackfoot has been described by Uhlenbeck (1938), Taylor (1969), and
Frantz (1991). New Blackfoot has not been extensively described, but it is now spo-
ken by some members of the younger generations. Forms vary between Old and New
Blackfoot, especially in morphology and syntax. For example, New Blackfoot speakers
tend to drop suxes at the end of verbs. As a result, New Blackfoot speech may not
indicate proximity such as fourth person and h person, while Old Blackfoot exhibits
these distinctions.
ere are also dierences in choice of lexical items, as appeared in Annabelle’s
anecdote in the previous section. Annabelle used the word, iitáísapópao’p, referring
to a car. en her mother “corrected” her by suggesting she use áínaka’si inste ad. A er
she wrote that passage above, I asked her about this exchange. Annabelle recalled
that the vehicle she was referring to was a wagon model car, and Annabelle chose to
use the word iitáísapópao’p which can variously mean “a car, container, or receptacle
one sits in.” However, her mother insisted on using the word that refers specically
to a wagon, áínaka’si. at word had a dierent meaning for Annabelle. e literal
m e a n i n g o f áínaka’si is “it rolls,” and for Annabelle, this refers to a smaller wagon
with a person dragging it. Here we observe semantic diversity between Annabelle’s
andher mother’s Blackfoot. Table 1 presents the multiple words that can be used to
refer to a type of vehicle in Blackfoot as included in the dictionary by Frantz and
Russell (1995).
. ere is a variety of strategies to express past expression in Blackfoot. e examples
shown here use a prefix to indicate a past expression. Having no ax which indicates tense/
aspect tends to be interpreted as past expression. See Frantz (1991) for more information.
 Annabelle Chatsis, Mizuki Miyashita & Debbie Cole
Table 1. Words for vehicle from Frantz and Russell (1995)
iitáísapópao’p car/container or receptacle one sits in
áínaka’si wagon, lit: it rolls
aapátataksáakssin truck box or a type of wagon, lit: box in the back
ikkstáínaka’si buggy/wagon used for leisure purposes
omahkainaka’si wagon used for utilitarian purposes
iitawáí’pihtakio’p truck/hauling vehicle
áíksisstoomatokska’si automobile
aiksisstoomatapisttsipatakkayayi automobile
aiksisstoomatomaahkaa automobile
aiksisstoomatoo automobile
Presumably, which of these words are selected depends on an individual’s
language experience. When users’ experiences do not overlap, it is understandable
that users of the same language will use dierent variants. Further, when users have
less opportunity to use the language together, it is understandable that they might
miss opportunities to nd naturally occurring consensus in grammar and lexicon.
. Varying awareness of linguistic diversity in Blackfoot and varying
language ideologies
As can be seen from the examples above, the existence of linguistic variation is an
essential, dening characteristic of Blackfoot that is inescapable in any attempts
to accurately describe the language. However, tribal members (speakers and non-
speakers) are not uniformly aware of this fact. Whereas the geographic and gen-
erational diversity of forms (such as that between Annabelle and her mother or
between Annabelle and her family members from other reserves) were relatively
salient to Annabelle growing up (and would be quite noticeable to scholars), such
dierences are not always transparent to tribal members. Such varying awareness of
Blackfoot’s diversity is of course grounded in individuals’ particular sociolinguistic
experiences, but it also due in large part to the particular history and politics of
the language (described above) that have created patterns of usage that obscure
Blackfoot’s diversity for many users and learners. Specically, evolved patterns of
usage has meant that speakers no longer have contact with others who would use
dierent forms.
One pattern is that speakers tend to only use the language with members of their
own generation. In Canada, people y years and older still speak the language, but
A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot language course 
their spoken variety is distinct from that of the elderly speakers (ages eighty and
higher). Elderly speakers in the U.S. are usually the only member of their family to
speak Blackfoot. e language is not used in the home, and there are a very few oppor-
tunities for them to use the language with others in their age group.
Another pattern is that Blackfoot speakers will most oen engage in conversations
in Blackfoot only when they are certain that their interlocutor also speaks Blackfoot.
With everyone else, they tend to exchange forms of English. Because of this, Blackfoot
speakers could be speaking English without knowing their conversational partner also
speaks Blackfoot.
Current young tribal members who are English monolinguals thus have very
little opportunity to hear Blackfoot in their daily lives. It follows, then, that younger
generations typically would not have opportunities to hear dierent varieties of Black-
foot and therefore would not be familiar with the co-existence of inter- or intra-tribal
linguistic variation. is is especially true of younger generations in the U.S. which is
where most of the students in this study are from. ey also seemed unaware of the
fact that there are not very many uent speakers at all le in their communities, and
those that are le belong to the oldest generation. Further, students who had a grand-
parent who spoke Blackfoot also tended to believe that everyone in the grandparent’s
generation also speak Blackfoot.
Older Blackfoot community members, on the other hand, may be well aware that
linguistic variation exists within and across their communities. For example, during
an interview for another project a uent elderly speaker from the Blackfeet reservation
expressed his perception of Blackfoot language variation. He stated that there is one
Blackfoot language and there is “no dierence” in Blackfoot among the four tribes.
However, in response to the follow-up question, “Are there dierences in how people
pronounce words or can people use dierent words to refer to the same thing?”, he
acknowledged the existence of variation. We take his “no dierence” to mean “mutual
intelligibility”. For him, variation was normal, and all those variations were to be
equally respected by speakers.
Not all awareness of variation in Blackfoot is uniformly neutral or positive,
however. While some elderly speakers simply see linguistic dierences as facts about
the language, other elderly speakers will comment that younger speakers’ varieties are
“not correct” or “inappropriate.
For some, saying “one language” does not mean “one form”, for others, it does,
however. Some elderly speakers pick on New Blackfoot speakers for using “incor-
rect expressions”, and their comments discourage younger speakers from using
the language. We discovered that the language ideology of variationism appears to
be“normal” only for the generation of people who are highly procient in the language
(and who are oen well respected for it), but not for others including current learners.
 Annabelle Chatsis, Mizuki Miyashita & Debbie Cole
. Locally emergent interactional norms 1: Roles and resources
So the notion of the community of practice teaches us that the ethnography of
language in documentary linguistics must take as its site for study not only the
organization of diversity in the speech community, but also organization and
patterning that is emergent, including emergent in the context of elicitation and
language learning itself. (Hill 2006: 124)
. Initiating collaboration and inhabiting reciprocal roles
I (Mizuki) vividly remember my rst meeting with Annabelle. It was in the fall
of 2007. She came to my oce and asked a few questions. I don’t remember what
exactly she was asking me but I think it was about my research. She was a student
majoring in Native American Studies then, nishing in a year. Someone told her
about me – that I was someone who researches her native tongue. I explained to
her that I had studied Tohono O’odham from Ofelia Zepeda as a graduate student
and started to study Blackfoot when I came to Missoula. I told her I didn’t speak
the language but would like to. Some people assumed I spoke Blackfoot because I
could say oki tsa nita’pii (hello, how are you?). I also think I said I am interested in
doing research that would both contribute to linguistics and have practical applica-
tions, like for teaching. In the middle of our conversation, Annabelle had a phone
call from someone and she answered in a language that was not English. I assumed
it was Blackfoot, and she told me right away that it was and that she spoke it with
her family and friends.
Later, I met her again. is time, it was during a Blackfoot class oered by the
Blackfeet Community College to students at the University of Montana via teleconfer-
ence (Annabelle was serving as the onsite teaching assistant for the U of M students).
ere I asked her whether she would be interested in helping me with my research.
She was busy with her class and teaching assistantship, so we did not discuss exact
days or times. I hoped to see her again to ask her a big favor. en I saw her on campus
in the summer. Classes weren’t in session, so we both had more time than during the
semester. She had just nished her degree and told me that she was working again as
an onsite teaching assistant. I asked her if she would teach me some Blackfoot phrases,
and she said yes. We would meet at the University Center, and talk over a cup of coee.
at was the time I learned that istopiit ‘sit down!’ and apiit ‘sit down!’ had separate
functions: provide a seat for a visitor vs. direct a person in the room, respectively.
Shetutored me a few times – I was a happy student.
Towards the end of the summer, I asked her if she would help me with my
research as a language consultant. She said “yes” again. Annabelle and I met almost
every week to listen to Blackfoot conversations which I had recorded, and we tackled
the task of transcribing the speech together. During our transcribing sessions, I had
A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot language course 
to ask her many questions about the same word multiple times. ese included ques-
tions about phonological segments, word boundaries, general meaning, and literal
meaning. I felt that it was uncomfortable for her when she had to give me transla-
tions and literal meanings of the phrase we were listening to. It seemed to her that
the English translation was so dierent from the literal meaning of the corresponding
Blackfoot, and yet the literal meaning did not make sense at all in English. She was
almost feeling bad about giving unintelligible literal translations. For example, the
phrase used as “equivalent” to good-bye is kiatamattsin which is a short form for
kitaakitamattsin or more formally, kitaakotamattsinoo. When we analyzed the literal
meaning of the morphological pieces in order, the morphemes are “you-will-later-
again-see-I.” I must have sounded like a weird person wanting to know what part
of kitaakotamattsin ‘see you later again’ means ‘again’ because no Blackfoot speaker
takes these pieces apart. Annabelle did not know then that I was immensely enjoying
those literal bits and pieces in order.
en in the beginning of the following year during the spring semester, Annabelle
visited my oce and told me that the Blackfoot course she had been TA-ing was not
going to be in a teleconference format anymore. Instead, she had an opportunity to
teach the course as a face-to-face class. She asked me if I would be willing to help her in
developing a course. I said yes! We immediately started meeting every day, as we had
about a week to prepare for the class before it started. Aer we started developing the
course, I also had opportunities to meet Annabelles friends and family. At those meet-
ings, she introduced me as her teacher, which was rather attering because I never
felt I was her teacher. I was sharing with her what I learned about Blackfoot structure
and orthography, but to me she was my teacher because she knew how to say things in
Blackfoot. us began our reciprocal relationship in which we took turns taking on the
roles of “teacher” and “student”.
. Learning about teaching languages
A year aer I (Annabelle) had been graduated, I was approached to teach the “Intro-
duction to Blackfoot I” course by the Department of Native American Studies. e
Chair of the department at the time was aware that I could speak Blackfoot uently.
I was hesitant because it had not been my plan to teach. I was more interested in
research in history, and I never even considered teaching the language. Teaching the
language as opposed to speaking it was a whole dierent story, and I had so little time
to prepare. I realized I did not have any idea where to start or what the lesson plans
should be. I decided to talk with Mizuki, my colleague in the Linguistics Program, with
whom I was already working as a language consultant for her Blackfoot transcription
project. When I asked if she would be willing to work with me to develop teaching
materials appropriate for a college level language course, she agreed. SoIaccepted
 Annabelle Chatsis, Mizuki Miyashita & Debbie Cole
the oer to teach the course with the understanding that she and I would collaborate
to develop the curriculum. Since I was assigned to teach the course the rst time
without any teaching experience, the types of support Mizuki needed to provide were
beyond simple course development. It also involved general preparations for teach-
ing a course. She shared with me course syllabi for her linguistics courses, and we
talked about course objectives, learning outcomes, testing, and grading rubrics she
had used.
I (Mizuki) was aware, through personal communication, that the language teach-
ing method known as “total physical response” or TPR (Asher & Adamski 2003) was
viewed highly by Darrell Kipp, the director of Piegan Institute. e method involves
the teacher speaking only in the target language to give students commands to act, and
from which they deduce the meanings of specic lexical items. I talked with Annabelle
about the possibility of using TPR in her Blackfoot class. One day, I demonstrated (to
be specic, I pretended) a TPR lesson in Japanese for her in my oce. I used things
that were in my oce such as books and mugs to “teach” the words for colors and
numbers, showing how these words can be combined with nouns and verbs in Japa-
nese. Moreover, I began to think that in order for Annabelle to get a better idea of how
to teach a second language in a college level course it would be a good idea to observe
foreign language courses. I contacted instructors of Russian and Japanese at our insti-
tution and asked permission for us to audit a few class sessions. I chose these languages
because Russian and Japanese are considered to be “uncommonly taught languages”
in the U.S. (and because I already knew them). Visiting these classes seemed to help
Annabelle think about using dierent teaching methodologies. It was important to me
that she would be able to imagine her own instruction practices, not just the general
structure of Blackfoot, so she would be able to develop course materials that best t
her classroom environment.
We (Mizuki and Annabelle) attended a second year Russian and a rst year
J a p a n e s e c o u r s e . I n b o t h c l a s s e s , w e s a t i n t h e b a c k c o r n e r o f t h e c l a s s r o o m . I t w a s
a sensational experience for both of us, who were in sore need of language class-
room experience. e instructor in the second year Russian class spoke exclusively
in Russian, except on a few occasions during grammatical explanations. e students
answered the instructor in Russian and carried on short conversations in the target
language. In the rst year Japanese class, the instructor also spoke mostly in Japanese
and students responded in Japanese. ey appeared to be enjoying studying these
languages. As neither of us had any language teaching background, we furiously took
lengthy notes. From these visits we noted the use of the following methods: (i) the
use of the target language as much as possible during class, (ii) the use of props (such
as photographs and drawings) to supplement the necessary grammatical explana-
tions, (iii) the use of role play among the students, (iv) a focus on reading and writing
practices, and (v) the mixing of these various teaching methods within a single class
A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot language course 
meeting. We took these observations back to our curriculum development meetings,
and we both thought these methodologies could be applied to teaching Blackfoot
. Finding unequal distributions of resources
Typically, second language instruction and testing makes use of an accepted standard
version of a language. From our extensive prior conversations regarding variations in
Blackfoot, we knew that dialectal dierences existed and could sometimes be used
to identify which part of the tribe a speaker is from. We did not realize at this point
how these variations would bring ideological conict to our teaching tasks, though
our observations in the Russian and Japanese courses made us realize that having no
standardized Blackfoot dialect would make the presentation of course material com-
plicated.9 is realization highlighted the dierences between teaching two types of
languages: languages with a long history of institutionalized instruction and languages
without such a history. Blackfoot is the latter type. Although Blackfoot has been taught
as a subject, it has not been used as the language of instruction within the institutiona-
lized setting of school except for at the Cuts Wood School at the Piegan Institute.10
From observing the courses in languages of the rst type, I (Annabelle) also noticed
that languages with a long history of formal language teaching have ample materials to
support instruction, even if they have a status of being “uncommonly taught” in U.S.
universities. Such ample instructional resources are available when languages have
been taught formally to children of the language community and to second language
learners. For both Russian and Japanese, for example, there are quite a number of
ready reference materials that instructors can utilize and students can access.
When it came to Blackfoot teaching materials, there were not many options.
Initially, we knew of resources such as descriptive grammars by Uhlenbeck (1938),
Taylor (1969), and Frantz (1991), and a dictionary (Frantz & Russell 1995) because
these were the main sources used for linguistics research. In further research, we
were able to gather materials created by the tribes: a book by the Kainai Board
of Education, a Siksiká language book for Siksiká elementar y students, language
books for members of the Kainai tribe (Lena Russell), CDs and notes for the course
oered by Blackfeet Community College (Weatherwax 2007), and several other pri-
vately created materials. e most accessible resources were the Blackfoot Dictionary
. In the Russian class we visited, we remember hearing the instructor mention some
dialectal variations in class, but the discussion was limited to the information, and no more
extensive questions were raised by the students.
. Piegan Institute, which was founded in 1987, established the immersion program in 1995.
 Annabelle Chatsis, Mizuki Miyashita & Debbie Cole
(Frantz & Russell 1995) and e Blackfoot Grammar (Frantz 1991) because they are
still in print; they are also well-received by the tribes. From among these materials,
we did not pick one or exclude any for the purposes of course development, but
we decided to create our own materials using bits and pieces from this collection.
Although we did not have a textbook, we decided to use Don Frantz’ grammar book
and dictionary as references in class, particularly because we are in contact with
the author and could consult his expertise in Blackfoot grammar for clarication
if needed.
In developing instructional materials, we were reminded of the lexical dierences
between tribes (e.g. nita’psiksikimi vs. aisiksikimicoee’ as described in Section2).
is fact was a challenge for the development of course material: Were we to present
multiple versions of the same word? Once we moved into the classroom we noted that
this challenge also aected the students, who were already familiar with the idea of
“standard language” from their prior experiences with institutionalized English lan-
guage instruction. Should we introduce them to multiple forms without making them
acquire a “single correct form” in Blackfoot language instruction? is would prove to
be the most challenging aspect of taking on the roles of instructor and student in our
Blackfoot language classroom.
. Locally emergent interactional norms 2: Awareness and evaluation
Work on communities of practice, specically learning communities, provide
very useful theoretical foundations for understanding what is likely to go on in
these most dynamic of local systems, where goals and routines are negotiated at
the level of distinct individuals. (Hill 2006: 113–114)
. Encountering other awarenesses of Blackfoot diversity in the classroom
My rst class experience was a bit nerve wrenching because I (Annabelle) had never
taught in a classroom before let alone the Blackfoot language. But once I got over the
initial shock and started to teach, it became easier as time went on. As noted above, I
had grown up in contact with relatives in Siksiká, Aamsskáápipikani, and Pikani, so my
sociolinguistic background had familiarized me with the dialectal diversity present in
Blackfoot. I started providing instruction based on my own dialect, Kainai. But some
of the students (particularly those who were from the Aamsskáápipikani or “Blackfeet”
reservation) soon made it quite clear to me that they were confused by my usage of
some words. Several students who were linguistic inheritors of Blackfoot let me know,
“Well, that isn’t what I hear in my community, why is it that you’re teaching it this
way?” I had entered the classroom taking it for granted that anybody from the reserves
A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot language course 
or reservations would be aware of the dierence in dialects. It hadn’t occurred to me
that there were some Niitsítapiiksi, especially among the younger generations, that
didn’t know dialectal variation existed.
When the forms I gave were dierent from forms students had heard previously,
they asked questions. For example, one student who had grown up on the Blackfeet
reservation in the U.S. confronted me with, “My grandmother says this, why do you
say it that way?”. My initial reactions were to feel unsure that I was saying the word
correctly and to think that maybe the student was misunderstanding. But as we went
along, as we talked about it, I realized that the student was not aware of the dierence
in dialect. She had grown up with a grandmother who was the only uent Blackfoot
speaker in their home at the time. Oen her grandmother would ask for tea, and she
would say áísoyoopoksiikimi. I had used the word siksikimi for tea. I went on to explain
the dierence in dialects and the dierent meanings for the two words: Siksikimi
literally means “black water”, and it is most oen used in Kainai. Áísoyoopoksiikimi
literally means “leaves turn water black”, and it is oen used by older Aamsskáápipikani
( Blackfeet) speakers.
When the student continued to show interest and asked, “Why are they so dier-
ent?”, I explained that at one time the various tribes were separated by territory only,
and they could visit one another freely. ere probably hadn’t been much dierence
in the dialects before. But now with the Canada-U.S. border separating the Northern
Blackfoot from the Southern Blackfoot and with the introduction of English, there
are signicant dierences in how members of each tribe speak Blackfoot. e student
said she thought the Blackfoot she grew up hearing was how all Blackfeet/Blackfoot
spoke. ere were at least seven students from the Blackfeet reservation in my class
that rst semester I instructed the course who were surprised to learn about dialectal
diversity. ey so seldom heard Blackfoot spoken in their community that even those
who had living relatives who still spoke the language in one of the three northern
tribes didn’t realize there were dierences. Once students realized there were multiple
versions, some asked why a Kainai speaker (from Canada) was teaching the class and
not someone from Aamsskáápipikani (the Blackfeet reservation in the U.S.).
Students also asked questions when the forms and pronunciations I provided
orally in class diered from the written forms students had in their course reference
materials, which were based on multiple dialects. Many students noticed such dier-
ences, and both Blackfoot and non-Blackfoot alike would ask questions like “Which
is the correct form?” or “Which one should we remember?” Once, an L2 English
speaker from Europe with a language studies background asked “e dictionary says
this (iiksisstoyiiwa, ‘its cold’), why do you say it dierently?” (I say iiksisstoyii, ‘it’s
cold’). at time I explained that the dictionary lists words used by elderly speakers
and the dierence was generational.
 Annabelle Chatsis, Mizuki Miyashita & Debbie Cole
I wanted the students to explore every aspect of the language, so when they asked
these questions I would say, “ere is no correct form or one way of saying a word.
For me, the main thing was for them to try to learn the language, and I felt frustrated
because they expected more concrete answers to their questions about the language’s
diversity. eir questions made me wonder: “Why is there dialectal variation? We’re
all speaking the same language, so what makes the dierences?”. I thought maybe it
had something to do with the location, the area where speakers live, or maybe it had
something to do with the way the language is starting to be lost and how we’re losing
parts of the language. eir questions made me realize that there have been changes
in the way certain words are said in my generation from the way my mother would
say them.
All this caused me to want to do more research on how my generation uses
the language. For class, I had to think about what I was doing with the dialects
and decide how I was going to talk about them with students. I wondered whether
I was teaching the class appropriately. I found myself using the dictionary more
to check the spelling and pronunciation, not so much because I worried whether
I was speaking the language “correctly”, but because I became aware of my teach-
ing methods and ways of presenting the material, i.e. the language. As the course
went along, it became obvious that I would have to teach students explicitly about
variation in Blackfoot, but there were no models for teaching multiple dialects of
a language.
. Teaching and evaluating Blackfoot diversity
Two facts about the student population became particularly important to classroom
practice. First, the university students entering the Blackfoot course did not have expe-
rience with variation in Blackfoot, and second, students brought to the classroom the
idea that if multiple variants did exist, only one would be correct. I had to work hard
to help them understand the mindset that variation was the norm when I was growing
up. e rst time I taught, I wasn’t very clear about this. I took it for granted that they
would accept my way of teaching the language because I am a Blackfoot speaker. It
wasn’t until several students let me know that they noticed dierences between what
I said and what they’d heard before that it became almost a challenge for me to revisit
my language and readdress the way I had planned on instructing it.
So the next time I taught the course I made it clear. I introduced who I was,
what my dialect was, and that I was very respectful of the other dialects and that we
would be learning them as well. I included an introduction about dialectal varia-
tions. I talked about the dierences in speech among native speakers on the rst day
of class. I thought it was necessary to do so up front. I needed the students to realize
A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot language course 
that the dialects are very important, because the dialects for me as I grew up were a
way of identifying where you were from. It wasn’t a matter of whether or not someone
was speaking the language properly or correctly, or whether it was an Old Blackfoot
or a New Blackfoot form. As an instructor it was important for me to ensure that
every student recognized the dierent dialects in the various regions and could be
r e s p e c t f u l o f t h a t f a c t .
I pointed out that the same could be said about other languages: You have dialects
within any European language which identify where the people speaking them are
from. I kept introducing the students to the dierences, and in every class there were
discussions or remarks about dierent ways of saying the same word. I did my best
to nd the variations and the examples I would use for certain words so they could
see the dierence in the dialects. It didn’t take them long to understand it once they
saw it. Some variants would have the sux -wa at the end, some wouldn’t. Even the
word for “good bye”, kitaakotamattsino (see you later again) could be used as a way to
recognize dialectal dierences, because some people use kitaakotamattsin and some
drop o the-o sux (probably reecting a generational dierence). e way I modi-
ed my teaching style was received well by the students, and since the variations were
introduced in class, I could be exible with how the students were graded. When I told
them that the variants being taught in class that day would be the ones used on the
exams, they were satised with my answer.
As I had informed my students, the exams made use of forms that were used in
class. However, when grading the exams I also accepted not only the forms introduced
in class, but also included forms that students produced which were acceptable by my
own intuition. Examples from the nal exams from the spring semester 2011 illustrate
the variety of accepted answers. e exam included translation items from English
to Blackfoot. e anonymous students (A, B and C) are all members of Niitsítapiiksi:
A and B are from Aamsskáápipikani and C is from Siksiká. Item 5 asks students to
translate the phrase “Stand up!”. e form that I had given in class is iipoopoyit!”.
e dictionary gives the form niipóípoyit!” (Frantz & Russell 1995: 76). Student A
has niipoipoyit! as it appears in the dictionary, only without accent markers. B has
nii’poypoyit. e dierences in this case include the use of y instead of i and the addi-
tion of a glottal stop. Student C wrote iipaipooyit. is is not the form given by instruc-
tion or the book, but the fact that I can understand it lead to my decision to give the
student a point.
Additionally, item 9 asks students to translate “it’s a nice day”. Here, students
A and B gave the form of i’taamiksistsikowa, and C gave iiki’taamiksistsikowa. e
dierence between the two answers is the choice to have iik at the beginning or not.
Morphologically iik used to have the meaning of “very” and functioned as an inten-
sier, but today this morpheme does not necessarily have this function. Of course,
 Annabelle Chatsis, Mizuki Miyashita & Debbie Cole
either form is accepted. ese examples show the diversity represented by the stu-
dents’ answers and how this diversity was evaluated within the formal instructional
Student A: (Aamsskáápipikani)
Student B: (Aamsskáápipikani)
A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot language course 
Student C: (Siksiká)
. Clarifying the ideological patterns of variation and standard
History speeds up at the margins…[and] oppression and marginalization…
produces a special intensication of language ideological projects…Recent
advances in our understanding of the semiotics of language ideologies provide
very useful tools for documentary linguists, who must be able not only to identify
and work among clashing ideological discourses, but assist communities with
what Nora and Richard Dauenhauer (1998) have called “ideological clarication”
to bring these discourses into line with what a community truly desires for
endangered-language resources. (Hill 2006: 114)
In the preceding sections, we took on the rst two of Hill’s requirements for integrating
studies of “language and culture” into documentary linguistic practice (i) by providing
an ethnographic account of the sociolinguistic contexts and events in which this Black-
foot course unfolded and (ii) by describing some interactional norms that emerged
within the research and teaching communities made up of the individuals participating
in the project. Drawing on my (Debbie) interest in language ideologies, we turn now to
Hill’s third suggestion and take up the “arcana” of “the semiotics of ideology formation”
in an attempt to clarify the language ideologies at stake in this project (and in the hopes
of demonstrating how such an understanding can be useful).
e Blackfoot language course we documented above is a case study for under-
standing how patterns of competition between the language ideologies of standard
 Annabelle Chatsis, Mizuki Miyashita & Debbie Cole
and variationism can emerge, shi, and spread over time and across speech events as
language users come into contact with others whose ideological patterns dier from
their own. Such contact has important consequences for the linguistic repertoires
(Blommaert 2010) to which they are attached, oen determining which forms will
continue to be learned and spread and which ones will not (Hill 1995; Reynolds 2009;
Dorian 2010b). us the ability of linguists and community language experts to recog-
nize language ideological patterns is potentially a very important factor in the success
of documentary linguistic projects as well as for the survival of particular linguistic
varieties (Kroskrity & Field 2009; Flores Farfán & Ramallo 2010).
Drawing loosely on Optimality eory (or OT), which models how the macro-
level patterns we call “languages” emerge from various rankings of a set of universal
constraints (Hammond 1995, 1997), we model how the macro-level patterns we call
“language ideologies” emerge in discourse. In this section, we propose a model of ide-
ological patterning and use it to (i) organize the ethnographic observations presented
above and (ii) analyze the eects that contact between dierent language ideological
patterns had on the discourse, selection, and evaluation practices of the participants
in the Blackfoot course. Following analytic convention, we abstract away from the
personal specicity of the ethnographic style used previously and refer to the partici-
pants solely in terms of the roles they inhabited in the particular contexts and events
we documented.
. Modeling patterns of language ideological variation
and emergence (LIVE)
Language ideologies are universally present in human language (Irvine & Gal 2000).
ey are produced in discursive practices common to language use in general and are
acquired through socialization into communities of language users.11 In our model,
standard refers to the robustly attested language ideology that there is a single lan-
guage variety that is “best” and which is associated with an “appropriate” or sometimes
“superior” sociolinguistic identity (Silverstein 1998, 2003; Hill 2008; Lippi-Green
2012). variation refers to another widely-attested but competing language ideol-
ogy, variationism, that sees linguistic variation as normal and expected (Kroskrity
2009b) and attaches little to no social/hierarchical signicance to formal dierence
(Dorian 2010a). We represent these widely observed, shared ideas about language that
are applied by language users to a range of linguistic resources (including dialects,
registers, voices, and genres) with the formalizations variation and standard
(written in small caps like the grammatical constraints of Optimality eory).
. By general discursive practices we mean patterned semiotic behaviors that link language
to identities, such as in the tactics of intersubjectivity (Bucholtz & Hall 2004) by which language
users identify themselves and others as members of dierent groups.
A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot language course 
A more substantive borrowing from the OT model is the formal process of rank-
ing. In OT, a constraint which appears in a column to the le of another is said to
“outrank or “dominate any constraints which appear to its right. By ranking and
re-ranking these constraints, OT models of grammars can represent dierent lan-
guage patterns, or “languages”, all of which can be derived from the same universal
set of constraints. We use this simple formalization to rank variation and standard
with respect to each other. is formalization can be used to model two possible pat-
terns: One in which variation is higher-ranked, i.e. variation >> standard (read,
“variation outranks standard”) and one in which standard is higher-ranked, i.e.
standard >> variation. Compare, for example, patterns A and B in the model in
Table 2. ese two possible rankings alone, however, are insucient for representing
the language ideological complexity we observed in the Blackfoot language course.
An important variable in our observations was the degree to which variation and
standard were implicit or explicit.12 By introducing a formal feature to dieren-
tiate between language ideologies which were present implicitly (im) versus those
which were articulated explicitly (ex), we can now represent eight possible patterns
(as shown by A–H in our model).
Note that the LIVE model represents the clashing language ideologies of
variation and standard as being continuously available to users: Both play an ongo-
ing role in structuring the specic ideological pattern that characterizes discourse and
practice. e ranking formalism enables the modeling of how one of these ideologies
exerts more inuence than the other in particular contexts, at particular moments in
time, and in particular discursive exchanges.
Table 2. LIVE model: Patterns of language ideology and variation emergence
Pattern Higher-ranked
Participant aliations
Avariation (im)standard (im) instructor before the language course
Bstandard (im)variation (im) instructor enters the classroom
Cvariation (ex)standard (im)instructor transitions in the classroom
Dstandard (ex)variation (im) students in and out of the classroom
Evariation (im)standard (ex)not observed
Fstandard (im)variation (ex)not observed
Gvariation (ex)standard (ex) instructor in the classroom now
Hstandard (ex)variation (ex)not observed
. Michael Silverstein (1981) famously noted the importance of metalinguistic awareness to
theories of language ideologies in general.
 Annabelle Chatsis, Mizuki Miyashita & Debbie Cole
. Language ideological patterns and participant aliations
We are now ready to use our model to organize our documented observations of the
various ideological positions taken up by the teacher and the students in the Black-
foot language course (summarized in the “participant aliations” column of the
model). In pattern A, variation and standard are both implicit, but variation is
dominant: variation (im) >> standard (im). is pattern characterizes the instruc-
tor’s ideological position with respect to Blackfoot before she began preparing for
the course. Her language background included contact with older speakers of mul-
tiple varieties of Blackfoot, and like them she viewed dialectal variation as normal
while seeing all varieties as belonging to the same language. is particular ideologi-
cal pattern was not something that was explicitly articulated, however. It would only
emerge explicitly later when the instructor reected on classroom interactions with
her students. As the instructor began to prepare to teach her language in a classroom
setting, the relative ranking of standard and variation was reversed (pattern B).
In looking for written instructional resources to provide a specic model for student
acquisition, standard (im) outranked variation (im). Both ideologies remained
implicit during this process, as the instructor had no overt plan to teach one par-
ticular dialect at the expense of others and no such a thing as a standard Blackfoot
dialect exists.
Patterns C and D can be observed in classroom dialog between instructor and
students. Students brought to the classroom the expectation of nding pattern D: An
explicitly articulated Standard, standard (ex), dominating an implicit variationism,
variation (im). ey had no doubt previously encountered and acquired this pattern
in institutionally-provided English language courses.13 is pattern also characterizes
the way that students who had had prior contact with Blackfoot viewed Blackfoot out-
side the classroom. ese students typically had only encountered one variety, and
sometimes only a single speaker. Without contact with Blackfoot diversity, students
assumed a single form: the one their grandparent spoke. Unlike her students, how-
ever, the instructor was well-aware of the diversity present in Blackfoot communi-
ties outside the classroom. e contact and conict that arose in the classroom as she
addressed students’ desire to learn the “right” form forced reection and conscious
decision-making to be explicit about her own higher ranking of variationism with
respect to Blackfoot. As she selected and presented students with multiple possible
forms and explained the socio-historical reasons for linguistic diversity in Blackfoot,
the instructor maintained the relative ranking of variation over standard from her
. See Cole and Meadows 2013 and Dorian 2010b for discussion of this widespread
p h e n o m e n o n i n l a n g u a g e e d u c a t i o n c o n t e x t s .
A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot language course 
experiences with Blackfoot outside the classroom (as in pattern A), but she was now
explicit about variationism (pattern C, variation (ex) >> standard (im)).
Over time in multiple iterations of the course and across various discursive
exchanges in Blackfoot classroom communities of practice, pattern G emerged for the
instructor. As she became aware that a higher-ranked standard (ex) characterizes
the “typical” language classroom and that her students will not have had contact with
Blackfoot diversity, she knows her students will expect pattern D for Blackfoot as
well. However, she maintains her own relative ranking of variation over standard
in her instruction of Blackfoot by being up front about the formal dierences that
characterize dierent geographic locations and varying generational usages, i.e.
variation (ex). She is now also explicit about how course materials are selected and
how evaluation procedures will be structured to reect and accept the multiple forms
available to speakers and learners of Blackfoot, i.e. standard (ex). For the instruc-
tor in the classroom, an explicitly articulated variationism now outranks an explicitly
articulated Standard: variation (ex) >> standard (ex).
Our model includes three logically possible patterns that we did not observe:
Patterns E, F and H. We speculate briey about (i) why we did not observe these
patterns in the community of practice we describe and (ii) where we might expect to
observe them. We begin with pattern H, standard (ex) >> variation (ex), which is
the exact converse of the pattern which now characterizes the instructor’s ideological
aliation in the classroom context (i.e. pattern G). is pattern would characterize
contexts in which sociolinguistic variation is explicitly noted but participants decide
to select single, representative forms for their shared repertoire. It would also charac-
terize joint enterprises for which the selection of unique forms from among diverse
options is the stated focus, as in the creation of a dictionary or other language materi-
als. It is possible that the students who completed the Blackfoot course we describe
could exhibit this pattern aer contact with the instructor, i.e. they might add varia-
tion (ex) to their ideological repertoires. However, their more frequent and lengthier
contact with and uptake of pattern D suggests they will continue to prefer patterns
with a higher-ranked standard. Several factors in the instructor’s own sociolinguistic
trajectory mitigate against her own adoption of pattern H. ese include (i) her lan-
guage socialization with an older generation of speakers who exhibit pattern A, (ii) her
raised meta- linguistic awareness of the facts of Blackfoot’s diversity from observation
and study, (iii) the continued lack of language-teaching resources for Blackfoot, and
(iv)the absence of a standard version of Blackfoot.
We also did not observe patterns E or F, which are characterized by having an
implicit ideology outrank an explicit one. We hypothesize that such patterns are inher-
ently unstable. It is likely that a lower-ranked, explicit ideology would quickly move to
being higher ranked by virtue of its explicitness and consequent availability to metalin-
guistic awareness (resulting in patterns C and D). Similarly, an implicit ideology that
 Annabelle Chatsis, Mizuki Miyashita & Debbie Cole
is higher ranked would need to quickly become explicit to maintain its hierarchical
advantage (resulting in patterns G and H). We predict, however, that patterns E and
F might be observed briey during a period of rapid change in which a lower-ranked
implicit language ideology became explicit in response to some sociolinguistic pres-
sure. Such may be generally the case for languages like Blackfoot that have historically
had a higher ranked variation (im), but whose speakers are now in contact with lan-
guages with explicit ideas about standardization, like English. Patterns E and F could
also characterize ironic performances by metalinguistically-aware speakers intending
to comment on the more widely available ideological pattern currently enjoying the
implicitly dominant status quo. Our analysis predicts, then, that implicit ideologies
will generally not dominate explicit ones. When (im) and (ex) ideologies come into
contact, we predict (ex) will soon dominate (im).14
. Conclusions and implications
Today we are nding…that…ideological systems can evolve and spread in
communities with astonishing rapidity. (Hill 2006: 125)
It has been repe atedly de monstr ated how the lin guist ic prefer ences of more power-
ful speakers come to dominate and even erase the linguistic preferences of the less
powerful (Lippi-Green 2012; Dorian 2010b; Hill 2008). Language ideological prefer-
ences are not exempt from this process, and in fact are central to hierarchical catego-
rizations of language forms and language users (Irvine & Gal 2000). Language users
who come into contact with others who prefer dierent language ideological patterns
are faced with making a choice: Either to maintain their own preferred pattern or
to move towards an other’s. A metalinguistic awareness of the diverse ideological
patterns that are available in micro-interactions thus provides the opportunity for
(but does not ensure the success of) language ideological re-organizations (Kroskrity
2009: 208). Which pattern ultimately emerges has everything to do with the relative
. In some versions of OT, constraints can also be unranked with respect to each other.
We can imagine situations where two explicit ideologies (or two implicit ideologies) were
balanced. For example, patterns G and H could vary freely, with regular shis between
variation (ex) and standard (ex). Such may be the case for the semiotic registers at work in
contemporary usage of Bahasa Indonesia, the national language of Indonesia (Goebel 2011;
Cole 2010; Smith-Hefner 2009). Such language ideological varying could only be termed
“free”, however, if speaker-hearers were “free to choose” which ideology to invoke in a given
interaction. e moment contextual elements conspired to “prefer” or “force” the choice of one
ideology over another, they would become ranked with respect to each other (at least as long
as some minimal number of typical contextual elements were in play or until an interlocutor
purposefully chose to invoke the ideology that was a-typical for that context).
A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot language course 
status of the participants, what resources they have access to, and what choices they
make for how to use those resources to identify themselves and others as members
of language using groups. In the case of Blackfoot, it was precisely the absence of an
agreed upon standard variety in the form of classroom resources, like textbooks and
teaching aids, that provided the possibility of raising the question “Which variety
would be taught and learned?”
e Blackfoot language course we document here highlights several important
factors at work in language (ideological) shi. e rst is the degree to which a partic-
ular ideological pattern is consistent with shared social norms in a particular context.
Although Annabelle and her mother sometimes disagreed about which forms to use in
particular instances, at home Annabelle shared a pattern of higher-ranked variation
with the wide range of family members from dierent tribes who spoke the language
and with whom she had contact. It was only in the university language classroom
where a higher-ranked standard was more readily available (given the institutional
context) that the possibility for ideological change with respect to Blackfoot arose
for Annabelle. A second factor is the degree to which linguistic forms vary from
prior convention and the availability of this variation to metalinguistic awareness.
Students in the Blackfoot class asked questions because they heard (and saw) dier-
ences between the instructor’s forms and ones they had encountered previously. If
they had not noticed such dierences, it is probable that there would have been no
discussions or negotiations about which forms should be learned. Finally (and echoing
a repeated observation recently central to contemporary second language acquisition
scholarship), a key factor in determining the uptake of new language patterns is the
language user’s particular sociolinguistic history (Leung et al. 1997; Hall 2011). Here
we have shown that individualstrajectories of socialization (Wortham 2005) aect
their willingness to re-organize their language ideological patterns when they come
into contact with the patterns of others.15
As language ideological patterns in which standard (ex) dominates variation
(patterns D and H in the model above) are naturalized in discourses that justify the
erasure of diversity for reasons of appropriateness (Lippi-Green 2012) and practi-
cality (Benesch 1993), we need to train ourselves to become even more aware of
the variety of ideological patterns that are potentially available in collaborative
encounters. We should also keep in mind that standardization is linked to language
loss (Dorian 2010b), and taken to the extreme, standard can become a kind of
purism, which “will quickly kill a language, unless the linguistic community has
the resources to back their purist position” (Hill 2006). Participants in linguistic
. See also Kroskrity 2009b for a similar conclusion grounded in an understanding of
speaker agency.
 Annabelle Chatsis, Mizuki Miyashita & Debbie Cole
documentation and language teaching projects may want to discuss these facts and
tendencies with relation to the design, selection and distribution phases of collab-
oratively produced language resources.16 We hope that others will nd the model we
have proposed here to be a useful tool for keeping such facts in mind in attempts to
measure a language’s stability or health and in nding some clarity in dealing with
language ideological clash.
Our use of the LIVE model above to track the diverse language ideological pat-
terns at work in the Blackfoot language course support an argument that a higher
ranked variation produces a language ideological environment in which linguistic
diversity can ourish in ways that standard does not. If prior studies of endan-
gered language contexts where language users with ideological systems of the type
standard >> variation come into contact with users of ideological systems exhibit-
ing variation >> standard are indicative, we predict standard >> variation to
emerge as the preferred (even only) pattern within the Blackfoot community in the
near future (see Dorian 2010b: 42). What would be truly astonishing is if users of
ideological systems in which variation outranks standard could obtain and make
use of the resources they would need to ensure the continued availability of such
systems for contemporary and future users. Alternatively, inheritors of ideological
systems in which standard outranks variation could willingly adopt patterns with
a higher-ranked variation. is too would be astonishing.
. Ethnographic coda: Practical heteroglossia
Consciousness nds itself inevitably facing the necessity of having to choose a
language. With each literary-verbal performance, consciousness must actively
orient itself amidst heteroglossia. (Bakhtin 1981: 295, cited in Hill 1995)
In documenting the development of a Blackfoot language course, we have also docu-
mented how choosing between competing language ideologies is linked to choosing
between available voices, genres, dialects, and/or languages. Creating a university-
level Blackfoot course in a context where no standard exists highlighted the avail-
ability of vocal and ideological diversity, which made the possibility of choosing
salient. Ironically, the “challenge” presented by the lack of standardized materials also
provided the opportunity to orient to heteroglossia itself. To choose consciously in
the ways we document here is to take responsibility for deciding which voices are
included and whose voices get heard (Hill 1995). It has been argued that this kind of
. See also Flores Farfán and Ramallo (2010) for recent discussions in this vein.
A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot language course 
conscious responsibility is especially important in collaborative endeavors between
people with dierent interests and dierent access to resources, particularly in docu-
mentary linguistic projects (Hill 2006; Flores Farfán & Ramallo 2010) and classroom
contexts (Philips 2001). is is so because a lack of such consciousness easily results
in the reproduction of the power relations leading to language loss (Dorian 2010b)
and the reproduction of identity-based social inequality (Bucholtz & Hall 2008; Hill
2008; Gaudio 2009).
As co-authors, we brought dierent interests, training, resources, and repertoires
to this project. In the process of writing of this chapter, our own orientations towards
heteroglossia meant that we took turns inhabiting dierent roles and making use
of dierent voices, including “teacher”, “student”, “interviewer”, “interviewee”, “col-
league”, “friend”, “tribe member”, “language expert”, “reader of academic texts”, and
“writer of academic texts”. In our eort to stay conscious of the diversity of resources
and repertoires represented by each author in this process, we also found ourselves
conscious of “the construction and reproduction of power relations, social exclusion
and inequality that also operate in the academic world” (Ramallo & Flores Farfán
2010: 147). We oer this coda to clarify some of the choices we made in organizing
our diverse voices in the hopes of modeling a kind of “practical recommendation” we
see as aligning with any “theoretical penetration” (Hill 2006: 127) that may be present
in our analysis.
Since the time when I (Annabelle) moved back to the reserve to live with my
mother, I have learned a great deal about my language that I may not have known
had I not gone on to study my language from an academic perspective. I’ve learned
that the Blackfoot language has evolved since my grandmother’s time, as all lan-
guages do. I have also learned how to write the language, which is something I had
never done before. I have learned that the Blackfoot language is being lost at a rapid
rate, and that teaching it is important for keeping it alive. In teaching Blackfoot at
the University of Montana, I’ve learned that even though my dialect diers from
other Blackfoot speakers, it is a conscious decision to recognize the dierences, to
help students become aware of these dierences, and to encourage them to never be
afraid of them.
What matters most to me through all this is that even though the language is
changing with each generation, we can never lose sight of who the Niitsítapiiksi
are and how they lived. And it is the language that will enable us to understand
how valuable that is. e Blackfoot language has so much to oer. It is more than
just learning a unique language. It is a way of life. It gives us an appreciation of a
people and their world view. e language establishes a connection to commu-
nity and family as well as identity. It is the foundation for our ceremonies which
constitute a renewal of life. It is something to be proud of. As Dr. Bastien (2004)
states so eloquently, “for the Siksikatsitapi, knowledge is experiential, participatory,
 Annabelle Chatsis, Mizuki Miyashita & Debbie Cole
and ultimately sacred, rather than objective and inert”. e Blackfoot language is
essential for our being and our way of life. And as my mother would oen say,
Iksokapii, kitasskinimatsin manistapis, ikakimat, iskatsim kisto” (It’s good you are
teaching Blackfoot, try hard, take care of yourself ).
Helping Annabelle develop her course materials to address variation in Blackfoot
has been a great challenge for me (Mizuki). To write about it from the perspective
of linguistic anthropology was also challenging. ese challenges were good though.
Working with both Annabelle and Debbie kept reminding me what Jane has taught
me: any variation must have its reason. e things I learned as a student of Jane are
still strong fuel for getting me going. Jane was a member of my dissertation committee
along with Ofelia Zepeda and Mike Hammond (who was my chair). While learning
about O’odham through a series of conversations with Jane, as well as by taking classes
from her, I naturally came to learn about the wonderful relationship between Jane and
Ofelia. As they write about their collaboration in Zepeda and Hill (1998), a teacher
and a student can take on reciprocal roles. I got to have a similar experience work-
ing with Annabelle: I was informally teaching Annabelle how Blackfoot orthography
works and how to do morphological analysis while she was teaching me new phrases
and pronunciation in Blackfoot. Writing this paper has heightened my sensitivity as a
linguist to linguistic variation and its contexts.
What matters to me most as a linguist trained in theoretical linguistics who works
with Native American languages is that I cannot forget that languages are spoken by
people. It is very easy for me to get excited about unique language structures and get
into a mode of puzzle-solving in theoretical frameworks. But I have had opportuni-
ties to hear the voices of speakers of Native American languages who talked about the
value their language has to them. eir voices resonate in my mind as I consider how
speakers and heritage learners may dierently value the “puzzle pieces” that excite
me. When that happens, I feel the urge to return the results of my research to the lan-
guage community. Creating something that is returnable and usable in the community
oen requires a completely dierent process and yields dierent products, however.
Alinguist’s research process may produce databases, descriptions, journal articles, and
books. ese are not always what members of the language community want. Some
speakers shared with me that they feel that their language is just being taken apart into
pieces, and it becomes useless. As a linguist, I believe that linguistic research can be
useful to speakers and learners, but I see that our studies must be reinterpreted and
refashioned in order for them to be useful in the community. How to do this, how-
ever, is not usually included in the curricula of formal linguistics training, though I
am aware of many linguists who are striving to enact this “returning process” in their
own work. Participating in curriculum development for Blackfoot language teaching
provided me with a very modest way of pursuing my urge to return my research to the
language community.
A documentary ethnography of a Blackfoot language course 
In the short time that I (Debbie) have been involved in this project, I have
barely scratched the thinnest surface of what can be learned about Blackfoot
and its speakers. The closest I have been to a Blackfoot speaker is through video
chats with Annabelle on my computer. Despite this distance and despite the fact
that it has only been about a year since I was invited to collaborate on this paper,
Annabelle has invited me to visit her in Montana during the yearly spring festival.
She assures me that we will eat well together when I arrive. Mizuki and I studied
together at the University of Arizona, and it was after reading a draft of a paper
on standardization, diversity, and national identity in classroom discourse which
I was co-authoring with yet another one of Jane’s students that Mizuki had the
idea for this chapter.17 Jane taught me about the methods and insights of linguistic
anthropology, historical linguistics, and sociolinguistics, and she supported and
guided my research on language ideological diversity in Indonesia. It was for this
alternative training that Mizuki and Annabelle thought I could be useful to them
for writing this chapter.
What has mattered most for me throughout this collaborative process is realizing
how attempting to maintain an orientation to heteroglossia that preserves diversity
takes work. Because our voices, training, vocabularies and repertoires are relatively
diverse, Annabelle, Mizuki, and I spent many hours together online talking through
possible wordings to ensure mutual understanding. I also found I needed to make use
of skills I’m accustomed to using in other contexts (like in data collection or eldwork)
but not used to using when “sitting down to write”. For example, because there was so
much background knowledge I needed, Annabelle responded to questions I had by
recording herself talking about the details of the course or the history of Blackfoot,
sometimes in an interview format with Mizuki. I then transcribed the sections of these
recordings that were most relevant for the argument we wanted to make and wove
them together with the other text we individually wrote.
Our collaborations sometimes highlighted how exclusion and inequality
are inherent to institutionalized academic endeavors. In the nal editing, “native
speaker” judgments about word choice and sentence structure were le to me, for
example. My “authority” was mitigated with constant help from Mizuki, who sug-
gested jargon-light translations for my lexical choices and less-heavily embedded
alternatives to my lengthy sentences. We hope these changes will make the inter-
pretive task of reading this chapter easier, especially for second language readers of
English and/or non-linguists. What was harder to mitigate was the pressure from
prescriptive rules of standardized English to change structures Mizuki and Anna-
belle produced for convention’s sake despite the fact that leaving their choices intact
. Cole and Meadows 2013.
 Annabelle Chatsis, Mizuki Miyashita & Debbie Cole
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willingly ignored this pressure against diversity exerted by academic English’s higher
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Syncretic speech, linguistic ideology,
(Re)Presenting the Spanish translation
of ‘Speaking Mexicano’ in Tlaxcala, Mexico
Jacqueline Messing & Ramos Rosales Flores
Georgetown University and University of Maryland-College Park & Escuela
Xochitekali and Municipio de San Bernardino Contla de Juan Cuamatzi, Tlaxcala
“Syncretism” describes the structural incorporation of indigenous languages
like Mexicano (Nahuatl) from Central Mexico with majority languages like
Spanish. Building on research of Hill and Hill (1986), and collaborations with
local scholars including teacher Ramos Rosales Flores, We analyze a 1999 public
linguistic event celebrating the Spanish publication of “Speaking Mexicano”
in Tlaxcala. Syncretic Mexicano, so-called “mixed speech,” exists within a
local ideological landscape in which legítimo Mexicano – true Mexicano – is
an idealized, largely not-spoken form of the native language, free of Spanish.
Weanalyze multiple ideologies and metadiscursive practices at this event.
I (Messing) further explore interpretation of syncretism by locals, resident-
scholars and outsider-scholars, adding intertextual complexity to the academic
and local interpretations of purism.
Keywords: Mexicano; syncretism; purism; language ideology
. Introduction: Writing about syncretic speech in Central Mexico
e concept of “syncretism” in linguistic anthropology was developed to describe a
phenomenon observed in indigenous Latin American communities, that is, the mix-
ing of an indigenous language such as Mexicano (Nahuatl) from Central Mexico with
loan words and grammatical constructions from colonial languages like Spanish that
became incorporated into the structure of the language. Hill and Hill (1986, 1999)
made the case that speakers in this Mexican region have survived years of cultural and
political inltrations by integrating elements of Spanish into their Mexicano syncretic
speech; they described syncretic speech as an alternative to views of “mixedlanguages,
... Blackfoot is considered an endangered language, with declining numbers of first language speakers and few second language learners. Final vowels are reported as emblematic of language loss, assumed to be absent in the grammars of younger speakers and/or disappearing from certain dialects (Chatsis et al. 2013, Frantz 2009). Gick et al. (2012) document the phonetic properties of one Blackfoot speaker's final vowels, demonstrating that, for her, final vowels are not absent but instead soundless in some environments, in that there are distinct articulator positions for -a and -i vowels without any corresponding acoustic distinction. ...
... Documented dialectal variation is mainly lexical, and generational variation is often discussed in terms of language obsolescence, with younger speakers described as using a variety marked by a loss of grammatical complexity. Blackfoot communities partition the language into "Old Blackfoot" and "New Blackfoot;" the former is spoken by people born in the 1930s or earlier and is characterized by rich polysynthesis, and the latter is spoken by people born in the 1940s or later and is thought to be less morphosyntactically rich (Chatsis et al. 2013, Kaneko 1999. ...
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This paper investigates variation in the production of word-final vowels in Blackfoot, an Algonquian language spoken by approximately 3350 people in Southern Alberta and Northern Montana. The Blackfoot community perceives the language as partitioning into varieties, based on the age of the speaker; ‘old Blackfoot’ is richly polysynthetic and spoken by people born in the 1930s and earlier, whereas ‘new Blackfoot’ is thought to be missing certain inflections, and is spoken by people born in the 1940s or later. Final vowels, which encode a morphosyntactic distinction referred to as obviation, are thought to be particularly susceptible to language loss. Gick et al. (2012) document the phonetic properties of one Blackfoot speaker’s final vowels, demonstrating that, for her, final vowels are not absent but instead soundless in some environments, in that there are distinct articulator positions for -a and -i vowels without any corresponding acoustic distinction. We investigate the articulatory, acoustic, and phonological properties of the final vowels of four additional speakers cross-cutting age, dialect, and gender. Using ultrasound, video, and audio recordings, we found that while there is phonetic variation across speakers in the realization of final vowels, not one speaker altogether omits them. In short, there is variation, but of a limited nature. The robustness of the final vowels reflects the fact that they serve an important communicative function in the grammar by encoding obviation.
During one late afternoon in August 1994 the teacher of an adult Kaqchikel literacy class sponsored by the Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala (Mayan Languages Academy of Guatemala, or ALMG), a prominent and autonomous Maya organization devoted to the standardization and modernization of Mayan languages, assigned the following parable to be read aloud and discussed for its cultural significance to Kaqchikel Mayas. "Man Kach'oke' (Katz'uye')" (Don't Sit Down [Sit Down]) is one among a collection of parables in a pamphlet entitled Ri Na'oj: Maya K'aslemal-Maya Ch'ab'äl (The Belief: Maya Way of Life- Mayan Language): Man kach'oke' pa ruch'okolb'äl jun ti ri'j winäq, roma chanin nisaqïr ri rusumal awi'. Don't sit down upon the chair of an elder, or else your hair quickly will turn white. Juana Mactzul Batz authored the text, which was published by the Linguistic Institute/PRODIPMA, Universidad Rafael Landívar (URL). Rafael Landívar is one of the few Ladino (non-Indian, i.e., people of European or mixed ancestry) institutions in Guatemala to employ influential Maya leaders and linguists, members of a Pan-Maya social movement whose primary mission is to revive and revitalize Guatemala's twenty-one Mayan languages (England 2003; Warren 1998).∞ While "Man Kach'oke' " is first and foremost a pedagogical text, it is also a Pan-Maya ideological response to the perceived increasing numbers of Spanish monolingual Maya children. In the 1990s Pan-Mayas felt compelled to concentrate and consolidate their strategies in reversing language shift by politicizing domestic spheres of language use. In what follows I examine how Pan-Mayas' language ideologies enmesh culturally salient ideologies of familial authority and respect in their macro- And microstruggles to secure the future for their communities in an "unstable place" (Greenhouse, Mertz, and Warren 2002). Classroom discussion over the form and content of that parable occurred almost a decade ago, but Pan-Maya texts like "Man Kach'oke' " resonate even more now that Guatemala has entered the "postwar" phase of its history. Since ex-president Alvaro Arzu signed the peace accords in 1996, representatives of the Maya movement, like other previously excluded sectors, have been allowed to participate as interlocutors in public forums on how to achieve peace and democracy in a country that, since its independence from Spain and especially after the U.S.-assisted military coup d'etat of 1954, had only known military forms of governance and a thirty-six-year civil war turned genocidal project. In addressing the question of how to democratize a society that has relied upon a "culture of violence," many sectors, including representatives of Maya organizations, acknowledged that one begins with reforming the institution of "the family."≤ Despite many different contending constructions of what this Guatemalan family should look like, "the family" has become a metonym for a democratic nation-state. For example, in the national media the authoritarian state was likened to an adult, male-dominated household. Prensa Libre's opinion columnist, Maices (a.k.a. Carlos Aldana Mendoza), wrote on March 12, 1998, "Adults (parents) have the right to control, dominate, and order (in the most militaristic sense of the word) children to blindly and acritically obey." He argued that the new construction of family (i.e., a liberal democratic family) would engender "a community of people" and that democratizing society begins at home, where parents would exercise authority, not authoritarianism. Additional alternative visions of the family also reflected positions held by the Religious Right, universal rights advocates, and cultural rights activists. Pan-Mayas' cultural politics intervened in these debates with the demand to create a Maya nation concerned with preserving family practices according to una Cosmovisión Maya (a Maya Cosmology), making domestic language use an issue of identity politics and reintroducing literacy in Mayan languages via adult literacy courses (Brown 1998c). First, I provide a brief history of Pan-Mayas' participation within the greater Maya social movement in order to situate it within the politics of culture currently being fought over linguistic terrain. Of considerable importance to this history is the role that past and present North American linguists and sociolinguists have played in characterizing Guatemala's linguistic diversity and theorizing language shift. Pan-Mayas have combined North American experts' theories and analyses of language shift with their indigenous insider knowledge of typical Maya familial relations in order to "shame" young families and youths into speaking or learning to speak Mayan languages.∂ The efficacy of these strategies, evidenced in the parable "Man Kach'oke' " and its subsequent reinterpretation within an adult literacy course, are examined to illustrate how Pan- Maya ideologies of family, respect, and language at times mischaracterize family intergenerational dynamics and the functional distribution and interpretation of language socialization practices. This chapter thus contributes to an ongoing dialogue between North American scholars and their Pan-Maya counterparts to find constructive ways to appeal to geographically mobile Mayas and restless youths by generating "effective cross-class and cross-generation connections at the very moment when stratification within Maya communities is growing and marked in novel ways" (Warren 1998:204).
In The Everyday Language of White Racism, Jane H. Hill provides an incisive analysis of everyday language to reveal the underlying racist stereotypes that continue to circulate in American culture. Provides a detailed background on the theory of race and racism. Reveals how racializing discourse-talk and text that produces and reproduces ideas about races and assigns people to them-facilitates a victim-blaming logic. Integrates a broad and interdisciplinary range of literature from sociology, social psychology, justice studies, critical legal studies, philosophy, literature, and other disciplines that have studied racism, as well as material from anthropology and sociolinguistics. Part of the Blackwell Studies in Discourse and Culture Series.
Linguistic variation has been studied primarily in communities with the dominant social organization of our time: ethnic diversity, socioeconomic stratification, and a population size precluding community-wide face-to-face interaction. In such communities literacy introduces extra-community linguistic norms, and variation correlates with ethnicity and class. This study investigates variation in the ancestral language of a population with a very different social structure: small size, dense kinship ties, common occupation, absence of social stratification. Their Gaelic shows a high level of socially neutral individual variation, with variants originating in settlement-period dialect mixture; a subsequent history of social isolation, endogamy, and regular face-to-face interaction eliminated any need for linguistic accommodation, while social homogeneity and absence of extra-community norms permitted the variants to remain socially neutral. Examination of the theoretical assumptions and established methodologies prevailing in dialectology and descriptive linguistics offers a number of explanations for delayed recognition of linguistic variation unrelated to social class or other social sub-groupings. Detailed examination of the social structure of one community offers explanations for the strikingly divergent usage of close kin and age-mates. Reports of similar variation phenomena in locations with similar social-setting and social-organization features (minority-language pockets in Ireland, Russia, Norway, Canada, and Cameroon) permit the recognition of factors that contribute to the emergence and persistence of socially neutral inter-speaker and intra-speaker variation. Facets of language use related to social structure remain to be investigated in communities with still other forms of social organization before the few communities that represent them disappear altogether.