Project

Tools for Linguistic Self-Discovery: Empowering California’s Oaxacan communities

Share

Print Print

About the Project

In recent decades, tens of thousands of people from the Mexican state of Oaxaca have immigrated to California, bringing their rich cultural traditions with them. While Oaxacan food, handicrafts, and music are widely known, it is less appreciated how these immigrants have also brought with them hundreds of distinct indigenous languages. Many Oaxacans wish to share these languages with their children and the broader community, but the pressures of modernization and immigration as well as a history of discrimination are conspiring to threaten the vitality of these languages. Our project empowers Oaxacan community members with the tools to meaningfully appreciate, preserve, and share their languages. Through a series of inquiry-based learning experiences, community members discovered for themselves their language’s unique attributes, by recording culturally-important oral works, and collaboratively building a web resource for their language to share with others.

Led by Associate Professor of Linguistics Maziar Toosarvandani and Associate Professor of Linguistics Pranav Anand, this project is supported by the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) and works in conjunction with California Humanities-supported project, Taking Flight: Conservations in and about the Oaxacan Languages of the Central Coast and the Monterey Peninsula Foundation-supported project Nido de Lenguas.