Javier marcelo Domingo
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationMontreal, U. de
Grant numberGr. 9813
Approve DateApril 30, 2019
Project TitleDomingo, Javier (Montreal, U. of) "Language Incarnate : The social construction of "last speakers" in South America"
JAVIER DOMINGO, then a graduate student at University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, was awarded a grant in April 2019 to aid “Language Incarnate : The Social Construction of ‘Last Speakers” in South America,’ supervised by Dr. Luke Flemming. This research is centered on the social construction of the so-called ‘last speakers’ in contexts of indigenous languages by focusing on five cases in Latin America (Tehuelche in Argentina, Yagan in Chile, Chana in Uruguay and Argentina, Ayapaneco in Mexico, Tinigua in Colombia), where one single speaker is said to have competence on the language. The project studies their processes of “sociolinguistic investment,” their mediatization and representation, and the role that these individuals play in community projects of cultural and linguistic revitalization. Fieldwork in this comparative study was carried out in the form of a multisite ethnography on multiple scales. It consisted, in the first place, in observing the linguistic behaviors of the people or the social groups in question — in particular those occasions in which the indigenous language was actually used or was the subject of discussion. It also included a series of interviews with the different actors involved in the ‘last-speakers’ network (government bureaucrats, local activists, artists and journalists, professional linguists and other anthropologists, amateurs in general). Finally, the evidence on the materialization of these languages was collected, which includes bibliography like dictionaries, grammars and ethnographies, but also other types of linguistic objects.