document | I dream in another language (Contreras, 2017)

General goals of materials: To raise critical awareness about the loss of indigenous languages vis à vis the pressures that new generations of speakers face to assimilate to the dominant culture as well as to become proficient in English to have access to better job opportunities.

  • Plot: Martin is a young linguist who decides to do research on the dying language Zikril, in a rural Mexican community. When he arrives, he faces the challenge of bringing together the last two speakers, Isauro and Evaristo (now in their 70s) and convince them to talk to each other again after a quarrel they had 50 years ago.

    To the teacher: The following handout was originally developed in Spanish for an Intermediate-Advanced Spanish language class. However, I decided to translate it into English as the movie can be used in other classes (Social studies, Linguistics, Anthropology, Ethnic Studies). Besides touching on the issue of language maintenance and lose, this wonderful movie also touches on several other important themes such as community and religious values, social expectations, heteronormativity, and gender roles. It is up to the teacher to decide the format to organize the discussions (in pairs, small groups, debates or whole group discussion).

  • Category: film
  • Thematic area: Language learning and teaching
  • Call topics: Intergenerational transmission
  • Major objective: Focus attention on the critical risks confronting indigenous languages
  • Area of intervention: Integration of indigenous languages into standard-setting
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