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DEFINITIONS: The experience of language shift and sociolinguistic change in a community.  Language shift occurs when the first language of children of the community becomes English, instead of their heritage language.  Sociolinguistic change can include new words, adaptations of words and phrases, translanguaging, code switching, and use of technology.

 Essential Questions: 

  1. Why has language shift and change occurred in Native communities? 
  2. What specific policies influenced this change? 
  3. How did cultural adaptations sustain linguistic practices? 
  4. How do Native people, schools, communities, and governments work to sustain and revitalize their language?


  1. Multilingual communities pre/early contact with Euros
  2. Assimilation era policies (White architects of Indian education, relocation act, impact on personal/familial linguistic choices)
  3. Self-determination era (contract/community-controlled schools, understanding language change in one’s community, community-based efforts – language nests, summer immersion, immersion schools)

 Connections to “Understandings”

  1. Complexity of Identity
  2. Power - hegemony
  3. Empowerment/ agency/ resistance