Real men don't speak Quiché: Quiché ethnicity, Ki-che ethnic movement, K'iche' nationalism

24 pages
Alphabets represent, both literally and figuratively, the linguistic and ethnic identities of a group. The process of change in ethnic identity of the Quiché people in Guatemala, Central America can be followed by examining the orthographic conventions that have beeen proposed or adopted beginning with the alphabets approved in the early 1940's, through the proposed alphabets of Adrián Chávez, and up to the most recent alphabets approved by Presidential decree in 1987. These changes coincide rather closely with the different types of ethnic organization identified by Paulston (1987). The evidence suggests that the Mayan groups in general, and the Quichés in particular, have moved from being an ethnicity, past being an ethnic movement, to what Paulston identifies as an ethnic nationality. The passive nature of an ethnicity is reflected in the passive acceptance of the assimilationist alphabets proposed in 1940. The charismatic leadership of one such as Adrián Chávez and his proposal of a dissimilationist alphabet represent the features of an ethnic movement. The 1987 alphabet reform with its heavy emphasis on unification and the shared Mayan distinctives demonstrates many of the features of ethnic nationalism
This is a prepublication version of what was later published in Language Problems and Language Planning 17(1). Some changes were made to the published version.
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Language shift
Ethnic nationalism
ethnic identity
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