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Communication Accommodation Theory

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Academic Paper


Title: “They live in Lonesome Dove”: Media and contemporary Western Apache place-naming practices
Author: M. Eleanor Nevins
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Nevada at Reno
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: This article treats a place-naming genre among residents of the White Mountain Apache reservation in which people use English-language mass media discourse to name newly constructed neighborhoods on the reservation, usually with humorous effect. It is argued that these names do not represent simple assimilation to mainstream discursive norms. Instead, they represent the deployment of media discourse according to locally defined speech genres and language ideology to comment on social changes brought about by the new housing developments. As a strategy for engaging with the dominant society, these names are acts of community self-definition that confound mainstream expectations for place names generally, and for Native American place names in particular. They celebrate participation in media discourse, but in terms that privilege reservation insiders. Use of these names constitutes the reservation as an interpretive community in which participation is defined not along nationalistic models of citizenship, but in terms of locally established idioms of sociality.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 37, Issue 2.

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