September 14, 2013 Jonathan Holmquist, PhD, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Temple University: "Spanish / Kaqchikel-Maya Contact: A Focus on Youth"

    The speaker presented initial findings of a collaborative research project that has been carried out by Dr. Holmquist, a linguist, and his colleague, Hana Muzika Kahn, a professor of comparative literature, both from Temple University.  The project examines aspects of Spanish / Kaqchikel-Maya contact in the municipality of Parramos, which is located between the cities of Antigua and Chimaltenango in the Guatemalan central highlands. The basis for this presentation was responses of 166 school age children to an orally administered questionnaire concentrating on spheres, attitudes, and proficiency in the use of both languages.  Participating students are from the 3rd, 6th, and 9th grades and are drawn from four schools, two public and two private in the municipal center, or town of Parramos, and from three schools in mountain villages overlooking the town.  The findings, in this case, focus on assessments of knowledge of Kaqchikel vocabulary and of spoken Kaqchikel among students of indigenous and non-indigenous, or Ladino/Mestizo, background, among younger and older students, among students residing in the neighborhoods of the commercialized town of Parramos and in the agricultural villages overlooking the town.  The presentation also highlighted attitudes that may support revitalization of Kaqchikel through its recent inclusion as a subject of instruction in the schools.

    Jonathan Holmquist, PhD, is a linguist in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Temple University in Philadelphia.  His research interests are in areas of sociolinguistics, dialectology, and language contact.  The fieldwork for his work has taken place in the region of Cantabria in northern Spain, in west-central Puerto Rico, and most recently in the highlands of Guatemala.  He has published in a variety of journals including Language in Society, Language Variation and Change, the International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Anthropological Linguistics, Spanish in Context, and the Modern Language Journal.  Recent publications include a chapter in The Handbook of Hispanic Sociolinguistics.

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