American Indian English , Edition: First Edition by William L. Leap

By William L. Leap

Examines the range of English in American Indian speech groups.

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Extra info for American Indian English , Edition: First Edition

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A longtime Sioux resident of Chicago comments on this point (cited in Garborino 1971: 170): Do they ever talk about Indians in the city who keep jobs for years and years, or who go to college, or send their kids to college, or who never get into trouble? No, it's always how Indians can't adjust to city life, how they only want to get back to the reservation, how much they drink. No one ever talks about all of the different kinds of Indians here and all the different ways they behave. Given the limitations of the available data, I have decided to draw on information from several sources (including my own work with Indian education programs in Albuquerque, Chicago, the San Francisco area, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Spokane) and talk about the opportunities for language use relevant to urban Indian life as a whole.

Speaker familiarity with different varieties of English meshes closely with ancestral language variation. Penfield-Jasper (1982: 25) reports for the Mohave: "90% of the youth under the age of 20 no longer speak the Native language. . " Chemehuevi, Navajo, and Hopi students also speak in their own varieties of English. " Importantly, these students retain these tribe-specific contrasts in English throughout their grade school careers and, apparently, into adulthood. Classroom-based instruction leads to improvements in some areas of English skill, but does not alter areas through which the speaker's tribal background can be displayed.

Importantly, these students retain these tribe-specific contrasts in English throughout their grade school careers and, apparently, into adulthood. Classroom-based instruction leads to improvements in some areas of English skill, but does not alter areas through which the speaker's tribal background can be displayed. < previous page page_43 next page > < previous page page_44 next page > Page 44 Chapter 2 Sound Patterns, Sentence Forms, and Meanings The statistics and case studies from chapter 1 show that many American Indians and Alaska Natives are speakers of English and that encounters with English discoursebrought about by the media, by English-centered schools, businesses, and political institutions, and by the presence of non-Indiansare unavoidable features of daily life, even for those who are not speakers of that language.

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