In the past few years there has been I have about language vitality, especially when its discussed on larger mediums besides the circles that we have. I have noticed that #DinéBizaad does not seem to have a lot of praise or discussed in a positive manner. Especially considering in the past 2 years, the Navajo Times have published articles that seem to paint the acquisition portion in a bad light. I’m not sure how much of a cultural norm to constantly berate from what interviewers have talked with interviewees about.
In the past few years our language seems to be on this gradual downward spiral, even though we have many L1 (fluent/primary) speakers – which puts us at an advantage. We are in a time when shift can go back into full usage that your grandchildren can achieve proficiency or fluency. Many other indigenous languages I have seen are often praised for their efforts or their own respective governments finds ways to highlight the positive and encourages. The Navajo Nation has pockets of speakers & those speakers so to learn, but are they teaching the language too?
All too often the answer falls on, “it should be taught at home!” Certainly, but what we find is that Diné Bizaad isn’t the primary lang being spoken, eng is. Another reliance is school, but even then that is the source of changes to an individuals orthography. So its a draw when it comes to how and where language can live and thrive. Many of the NT articles had the teachers highlight that Diné Bizaad literacy proved successful yet the students were not able to comprehend what they wrote in sense of defining the words that’s on paper.
This goes back to the idea I pushed some time ago about pushing Diné Bizaad through conversation or literacy. Though being able to read/write the lang is helpful esp those that are learning/practicing, the conversation bits’ where many can practice with one another because it is needed. I look at the colleges/universities that proudly tout its Diné Bizaad reputation, but are they creating speakers? Or are they creating passively bilingualism? These are ideas that our newly-elected Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez can start focusing when it comes to Department of Diné Education & continued Diné Bizaad