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Shifting Language Ideologies among Young Maya Professionals: Overcoming Purism in Yucatán

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Josep Cru



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This paper looks at the ideologies of language purism among young Maya professionals from the Yucatán peninsula of Mexico. After an introduction to language purism and its influence on revitalisation processes, I analyse the narratives of some young adults and their professional development and contrast them with those of some Maya intellectuals and teachers. In a context of widespread indigenous language abandonment, these bilingual professionals have been through a process of strengthening their ethnic identity and currently show a committed attitude towards the maintenance and reproduction of the Maya language. According to their narratives, a fundamental ideological shift during a particular life stage, namely studying Sociolinguistics at higher education institutions, has been determinant for adopting a more flexible stance towards language contact between Spanish and Maya and purism. I argue that their shift in linguistic ideologies counterbalances pervasive stigmatisation of so called ‘mixed’ varieties of Maya, increases the valorisation and the legitimation of vernacular Maya, and ultimately works towards language revitalisation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cru J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Critical Multilingualism Studies

Year: 2016

Volume: 4

Issue: 2

Pages: 111-132

Online publication date: 15/12/2016

Acceptance date: 15/06/2016

Date deposited: 16/02/2017

ISSN (electronic): 2325-2871

Publisher: University of Arizona