The Colonization of Amerindian Languages

BACKGROUNDThis assignment focuses on  Walter Mignolo’s “The Colonization of Amerindian Languages.”  Mignolo here considers  colonization and coloniality without colonialism as it regards language, memory, culture and communication. That is, where colonialism has ended, the culture of coloniality persists. Simultaneously, is is resisted.LINK TO ESSAY BELOWhttps://www.jstor.org/stable/178948?seq=1In this essay, Mignolo is critical of the Renaissance philosophy of language. More specifically, with the method and philosophical background that motivated Spanish missionaries and “men of letters” to push the notion of “Western literacy” in the American colonies from as early as 1492. In this article he is concerned with the Western colonization of American Indians by way of language and its outcome not only on culture but on memory as well.  He writes, “I am interested, briefly, in understanding the philosophy of languages behind the Spaniards’ intellectual decision to write grammars of Amerindian languages and to write histories of Amerindian memories as well as in the discontinuity of the classical tradition (implied in the spread of Western literacy) manifested in numerous and varied acts of resistance.” (Mignolo, 1992, 303) Even while the Spanish “men of letters” engaged in this writing of and about others under the larger Spanish National effort to “spread Western Literacy,” what are the ways in which their work, as missionaries, might have also resisted that national effort?  Mignolo is concerned with what ways their efforts might have actually disrupted the expansion of Western literacy. Thus, illustrating the limits of the attempt to universalize culture and memory; to universalize the way folk think and “be.” [In the next modules we will examine this notion of universalization in term of the “standardization of language” and a the problem with an “ethics of assimilation.”]WRITE: You are required to address each of the four aspects of Mignolo’s essay.* Then, briefly place Mignolo’s essay in conversation with what Thiong’o writes about alienation in relation to the African Nationalist  in a way that helps to explain the colonization of language. (Thiong’o, see specifically Section 6 of Chapter One, “The Language of African Literature,” 1986; from Module 9) *Mignolo, “On the Colonization of American Indian Languages.” (1992 ) from Module 10.1) Writing Grammars of Amerindian Languages, 2) Writing Histories of Ameriandian Memories (the Book)  3) The Discontinuity of the Classical Tradition (resistance to it) and 4) Conclusion. You might find it helpful to begin with Mignolo’s conclusion on the second to last page regarding the colonization of language and the Spanish intellectuals.  Then, complete your reading of the piece from page one—-being attentive to his description of what is meant by the “colonization of language.” (Mignolo, p. 303)  Here in relation to the Spanish colonization of the American Indians.

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