Language News: Consciousness of Taino | Explorations of Identity

Jose Barreiro, of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian covers the contrast between the names imposed upon Native American peoples and those which they prefer to use among themselves in a piece about the Taino.  His article in Indian Country coverage highlights several important issues that are often investigated in research on the sociology of language, including (1) the development of cultural identity even when parts of that culture have been obliterated (2) the importance of native languages, and (3) the power of a term to unite diverse groups of people–particularly when an outsider moves into an area.

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About LingEducator

Dr. Jaclyn Ocumpaugh received a PhD for her dissertation on regional variation in the acoustics of Mexican American English (Michigan State University, East Lansing). Before that, she received an MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University for her work on the acoustics of /r/--a sound which is highly variable in the English language. Her passion, however, has always been to understand the social implications of language variation. In addition to her work in acoustic sociophonetics, she has worked with rape trial analysis, developed cognitive methods for understanding discourse level variation between men and women, and created sophisticated tools for teaching future educators about the kinds of dialect variation they will find in the classroom. She has taught classes in English, Linguistics, and Education at Old Dominion University, William & Mary, the University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Wesleyan College. She is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is helping to develop models of student engagement in the classroom. She also consults in the private sector.
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