Intergenerational Communicative Crevice: “How Are You Hopi If You Can’T Speak It’ By Sheilah E. Nicholas

  • Asad Ullah University of Sargodha, Punjab, Pakistan.
Keywords: Ethnography, Hopi, Language Shift, Cultural Practice, Language Planning


The present article is intended to present an inquest of „How Are You Hopi if You Can‟t Speak It‟ by Sheilah E. Nicholas. Nicholas‟ essay is sub-titled as „An Ethnographic Study of Language as Cultural Practice among Contemporary Hopi Youth‟. As the title and sub-title suggest, it is an ethnographic study of Hopi community. Hopi are native North American people whose language is related to Uto-Aztecan language family. Their language loss is caused and accelerated by two factors. First of the contributory factors is the death of older generation who used Hopi language as a means of communication. The second factor is Language Shift that is gradually taking place in the community. There is also a point of difference between older generation and younger generation i.e. the former see a direct linkage between cultural identity and linguistic competence while the latter perceive cultural identity as inherent in the process of practicing culture. They view language as a cultural practice. Although they might have undergone some changes in their way of life due to external factors, yet they keep Hopi language as a cultural practice. There is a need for an effective language planning and policy.