The "Ecology of Pressures" in the Shift of an Indigenous Language to Spanish. The Presentation of a Model


  • Roland Terborg Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México



language shift, linguistic ecology, ecology of pressures, common routine, interest, indigenous language (IL), power, pressure


Mexico represents a multilingual context in which certain pressures bring about a language shift among speakers of indigenous languages (IL) to speak Spanish. This occurs when the balance of "linguistic ecology" is disturbed (MÜHLHÄUSLER 1996). The purpose of this article is to present and demonstrate a model that helps to explain the origin of the different pressures that positively or negatively influence IL maintenance. I refer to this model as "the ecology of pressures" because it deals with pressures in a linguistic context, and these, the same as the languages, can be in a balanced or unbalanced relationship. This model can be used for either quantitative or qualitative analyses. I illustrate the dynamics of the different pressures by taking a hypothetical case in a situation of indigenous language shift by Spanish, without presenting empirical data. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0604396


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Author Biography

Roland Terborg, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Roland TERBORG es Profesor Titular de tiempo completo del Centro de Enseñanza de Lenguas Extranjeras de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Su interés principal es el estudio en la política del lenguaje y el desplazamiento de lenguas indígenas por el español. Actualmente es el responsable del proyecto colectivo "La vitalidad de lenguas indígenas de México: un estudio en tres contextos".



How to Cite

Terborg, R. (2006). The "Ecology of Pressures" in the Shift of an Indigenous Language to Spanish. The Presentation of a Model. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 7(4).