Revitalization of Wašiw Wagayay: A View from the Inside
AuthorKlippenstein, John D.
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Wašiw Wagayay, the language traditionally spoken by the Wašišiw people of east central California and the Western Great Basin, is moribund and highly endangered (Mithun, 1999; Lewis, 2009). There are and have been grassroots efforts to revitalize the language. This research seeks to understand the importance, position, and purpose of the language and what is necessary to revitalize the language as seen by those involved in these grassroots efforts in the Wašišiw community of Dresslerville, Nevada. This research finds that Wašiw Wagayay is seen as more than a medium of communication; it is an integral aspect of the social fabric of the community. Language shift is seen as part of the wider social and cultural weakening of the community. Thus, revitalization efforts must address these wider social issues along side the language shift. Ultimately, language revitalization in the Dresslerville community entails a great amount of community revitalization as well.