Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Great Plains Research Vol. 20 No. 2, 2010


Copyright © 2010 by the Center for Great Plains Studies. University of Nebraska-Lincoln


As its editors note, this collection is the first work on language ideology especially devoted to Native American languages. Its twelve articles (plus the editors’ introduction) mainly involve languages of the United States (with one each from Canada and Central America) and represent a mix of contributions by Native and non-Native scholars. The offerings generally center on the authors’ own field research, often supplemented by historical and linguistic background from secondary sources. Several themes run through many of these studies. One is a rejection of the notion that a language ideology is the monolithic stance of an entire culture. There is ample demonstration of the heterogeneity of ideologies in relation to socially defined categories (and indeed, individuals). Another theme is reflexivity, as exemplified, for example, by the effect that the recent academic valorization of Indigenous languages has had on the ideologies of some tribes (in the paper by Gómez de García, Axelrod, and Lachler). In addition, the relationship between language ideologies and language maintenance and revitalization is explored in a number of contexts. Other issues include literacy and writing systems, standardization, and ideologies relating to the dominant culture language, to name just a few.