Document Type

Honors Paper


Anthony Graesch

Publication Date



Recently, indigenous language revitalization has gained attention from Western media and charitable organizations, a process that has depoliticized the history of indigenous languages. One result of this is the naturalization of the ideological projects that put Native languages at risk, as well as the practices that hinder their revival. I focus on how the scientific and intellectual project of linguistics can dispossess elements of Native languages from its speakers, using it as capital for its own objectives. I show that the history of speech communities shapes the language ideologies that inform choices in the revitalization process, the restraints under which revivalists operate, and their potential for success. I espouse the notion that language can be commoditized, I examine the historical implications of scientific authority, language technologies, and language ideologies in the creation of markets that are closed to language activists. In particular, I examine the consequences of the ideological project of linguistics as it took hold in language revitalization programs in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. By examining the role of ideology in language revival, I locate moments of hybridity in communal beliefs about the Halq'eméylem language in order to describe the transformation of language into capital, which is exchanged on an emerging market of language revitalization funding.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.