Language socialization, literacy and cultural identity: The centrality of heritage languages
AuthorBrunn, Michael Vernon.
Committee ChairRuiz, Richard
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis is a Life Story project that examined the relationships between the personal and the cultural identities of American Indian persons and their abilities to speak their heritage languages. More specifically, how Heritage Languages influenced the processes of language socialization, literacy acquisition and the formation of the personal and the cultural identities of American Indian children. The premise of the study was that a child's identity, sense of belonging, literacy acquisition and success in school are interrelated aspects of her/his cultural, social, linguistic and political histories. Through the telling of life stories the underpinnings of culture, language, literacy and socialization processes were explicated as fundamental aspects which constituted holistic life experiences for children. The stories revealed how these constructs and processes were formative of their personal and cultural identities. The importance of Heritage Languages was foregrounded as a central feature in these processes. The discussions with the consultants had three sections: (a) their language and socialization contexts and practices from early childhood to adulthood, (b) their remembrances of literacy acquisition, and (c) their notions concerning the importance of and the efficacy of Heritage Languages as central to identity and to the continuance of their cultures. The findings from this project were used to discuss two interrelated concepts. First, the ways in which Heritage Languages were formative of the cultural identities of persons growing up on and around a Reservation. Second, the ways in which Heritage Languages contributed to literacy acquisition and to their social and academic success in school.
Degree ProgramLanguage, Reading & Culture