Revitalizing Basque: Does Gender Make a Difference?
Begoña Echeverria

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of California, Riverside

Primary Discipline

Hundreds of languages are in danger of extinction; with each language that is lost, we lose an important part of our cultural heritage. Many endangered language communities try to revitalize the use of their language by teaching it in schools and requiring proficiency in it for certain occupations. Scholars who study movements to revitalize languages often assume that there will be an automatic fit between the movements’ goals and those of their target audience—that individuals will use or pass on the language if it becomes more instrumentally advantageous to do so. However, in order to fully understand the outcomes of language revitalization efforts, we must go beyond discussion of “instrumental value.” Rather “to the extent that speakers conceptualize language as socially purposive action, we must look at their ideas about the meaning, function and value of language[s]” (Woolard & Schieffelin 1994: 70). Focusing on the Basque case, this research uses a language ideology approach to examine how gender affects the linguistic, educational and occupational choices of young people in their post-secondary school years. As such, it will potentially inform revitalization efforts in hundreds of other endangered language communities—including indigenous and immigrant language communities in the United States.
About Begoña Echeverria

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