Learning P’urhepecha as a second language: Reflections from a community-based workshop



Abstract / Resumen / Resumo

The P’urhépecha language workshop was a community initiative created by the collective Ireta P’urhépecha to provide a language learning space for second language learners. The workshop was planned using the communal governance structures of the organization, which are compatible with the community-based language planning framework (Hinton, 2013b; McCarthy, 2018). Our goal was to address the needs of the established P’urhepecha community in Washington state by providing high quality, accessible language instruction to adults who have not had the opportunity to learn the language and seek to strengthen their Indigenous roots through its preservation and transmission. This chronicle describes the general challenges faced by Indigenous communities in diaspora, as well as those faced by our community as we seek to reclaim our native languages in the face of social, cultural, and economic pressures. In order to address these challenges, we set out to create a culture-based language learning program for beginners that focused on communicative skills and met the unique needs of our community. We relied on the Second Language Acquisition (SLA) framework and teaching techniques to inform our instruction because it is centered on the learners’ natural ability to process language instead of focusing on heavy grammatical explanations. This project hopes to highlight the need to include the migrant communities living in the USA as an integral part of the language revitalization initiatives, as well as provide a template for other communities interested in starting their own language revitalization programs.

La versión en español de este artículo está disponible en este mismo volumen de Lenguas Vivas.