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Teaching Oregon Native Languages

Joan Gross

5-3/4 × 9-1/4 inches. Map. B&W photographs. Index. 176 pages.

2007. ISBN 978-0-87071-193-0. Paperback, $24.95.

In a world where over half of the remaining 6000 languages will most likely disappear by the end of the century, attention has finally begun to focus on the struggles of indigenous people to save their languages.

Lack of knowledge concerning the vast linguistic diversity of Oregon's languages has been a major obstacle to language revitalization in this state. Native peoples were subjected to disease, displacement, and forced linguistic assimilation, leaving many languages with only a few speakers. Some languages died out, but others prevailed in the privacy of homes and longhouses.

This book tells the story of perseverance and survival against unbelievable odds, using the words of today's speakers and learners of Oregon's languages. Interviews with 52 native speakers provide valuable insights into how languages are lost and how a linguistic heritage can be brought to life.

Teaching Oregon Native Languages discusses the role of state and federal language policies, explores how archival collections can be used in language revitalization, and describes strategies for creating a successful teaching environment. A timely and necessary resource, it will educate all readers about the important efforts underway to revitalize Oregon's first languages.

Contributors: Joan Gross, Erin Haynes, Deanna Kingston, David Lewis, and Juan Trujillo.

Read more about Joan Gross's research in Terra Magazine.

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