Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education


Language shift, the process by which a language loses speakers until it becomes extinct, is occurring in speech communities all over the world. This process is influenced by internal and external political, social, and economic factors unique to each community. As its causes and effects are not uniform, a universal model for reversing language shift does not exist. However, several broad principles can be applied across multiple contexts and situations for successful language revitalization. It is essential for the speech community to be the primary decision maker in any program. A thorough assessment of the community’s current status, challenges, and resources will help in designing an effective strategy. It is also important for the community to set realistic goals and create or improve a language education program. Navajo is a local example of a community engaging in language revitalization. Using the Graded International Disruption Scale developed by Joshua Fishman, the current position of the Navajo language, as well as target areas for future goals, can be assessed. While speech communities face significant challenges to keep their languages alive, efforts to revitalize minority languages are worthwhile and success is possible with time, dedication, and access to needed resources.


Faculty Mentor

Sonia Manuel-Dupont

Departmental Honors Advisor

Sonia Manuel-Dupont

Capstone Committee Member

Karin de Jonge-Kannan