“The right to lead”: Navajo language, dis-citizenship, and Diné presidential politics

Kristina Jacobsen, Kerry F. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article examines the 2014 Navajo Nation presidential primary election and language debate as a window into the politics of Navajo heritage language and identity. Using Facebook posts written in response to a videotaped hearing testing the fluency of one of the candidates that subsequently went viral, we analyse social citizenship and stigmatized language identities through the lens of critical Diné (Navajo) language consciousness. Focusing on generational differences between speaker groups that undergirded this debate, we analyse (a) the fluency test itself and (b) online and ethnographic responses to the fluency test. Using discourse analysis of Facebook posts of both heritage language and new Navajo speakers, we show how new speakers in particular express investment in their language and Diné cultural continuity and, through their emphasis on the heterogeneity of contemporary Diné communicative practices, offer an alternative template for ways to move forward in Diné language reclamation efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Sociolinguistics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

citizenship
politics
language
facebook
Citizenship
Navajo Language
Language
discourse analysis
consciousness
continuity
candidacy
Fluency
election
Heritage Language
Facebook
Group

Keywords

  • dis-citizenship
  • language reclamation
  • Navajo language
  • Navajo Nation
  • new speakerness
  • politics of belonging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Cite this

@article{40c733ae10bc43e19e1e3be18c3ea123,
title = "“The right to lead”: Navajo language, dis-citizenship, and Din{\'e} presidential politics",
abstract = "This article examines the 2014 Navajo Nation presidential primary election and language debate as a window into the politics of Navajo heritage language and identity. Using Facebook posts written in response to a videotaped hearing testing the fluency of one of the candidates that subsequently went viral, we analyse social citizenship and stigmatized language identities through the lens of critical Din{\'e} (Navajo) language consciousness. Focusing on generational differences between speaker groups that undergirded this debate, we analyse (a) the fluency test itself and (b) online and ethnographic responses to the fluency test. Using discourse analysis of Facebook posts of both heritage language and new Navajo speakers, we show how new speakers in particular express investment in their language and Din{\'e} cultural continuity and, through their emphasis on the heterogeneity of contemporary Din{\'e} communicative practices, offer an alternative template for ways to move forward in Din{\'e} language reclamation efforts.",
keywords = "dis-citizenship, language reclamation, Navajo language, Navajo Nation, new speakerness, politics of belonging",
author = "Kristina Jacobsen and Thompson, {Kerry F.}",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1111/josl.12380",
language = "English (US)",
journal = "Journal of Sociolinguistics",
issn = "1360-6441",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - “The right to lead”

T2 - Navajo language, dis-citizenship, and Diné presidential politics

AU - Jacobsen, Kristina

AU - Thompson, Kerry F.

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - This article examines the 2014 Navajo Nation presidential primary election and language debate as a window into the politics of Navajo heritage language and identity. Using Facebook posts written in response to a videotaped hearing testing the fluency of one of the candidates that subsequently went viral, we analyse social citizenship and stigmatized language identities through the lens of critical Diné (Navajo) language consciousness. Focusing on generational differences between speaker groups that undergirded this debate, we analyse (a) the fluency test itself and (b) online and ethnographic responses to the fluency test. Using discourse analysis of Facebook posts of both heritage language and new Navajo speakers, we show how new speakers in particular express investment in their language and Diné cultural continuity and, through their emphasis on the heterogeneity of contemporary Diné communicative practices, offer an alternative template for ways to move forward in Diné language reclamation efforts.

AB - This article examines the 2014 Navajo Nation presidential primary election and language debate as a window into the politics of Navajo heritage language and identity. Using Facebook posts written in response to a videotaped hearing testing the fluency of one of the candidates that subsequently went viral, we analyse social citizenship and stigmatized language identities through the lens of critical Diné (Navajo) language consciousness. Focusing on generational differences between speaker groups that undergirded this debate, we analyse (a) the fluency test itself and (b) online and ethnographic responses to the fluency test. Using discourse analysis of Facebook posts of both heritage language and new Navajo speakers, we show how new speakers in particular express investment in their language and Diné cultural continuity and, through their emphasis on the heterogeneity of contemporary Diné communicative practices, offer an alternative template for ways to move forward in Diné language reclamation efforts.

KW - dis-citizenship

KW - language reclamation

KW - Navajo language

KW - Navajo Nation

KW - new speakerness

KW - politics of belonging

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85073973461&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85073973461&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/josl.12380

DO - 10.1111/josl.12380

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85073973461

JO - Journal of Sociolinguistics

JF - Journal of Sociolinguistics

SN - 1360-6441

ER -