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By William L. Leap

Examines the variety of English in American Indian speech groups.

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Sample text

Howard (1965: 7) reports: "As a result of their years in Oklahoma, [Southern Ponca] now speak English with a slight Southern accent, and this has affected their pronunciation of Degiha [the linguists' label for the Ponca ancestral language] as well. " To my hearing, this "slight Southern accent" is characteristic of the English of many people from north-central Oklahoma, whether Indian or non-Indian in background. It is not, however, uniformly characteristic of the English of all members of the tribe.

Some of these farmers lease land from the tribe or work for families who have negotiated those leases; in this sense, the checkerboard pattern of land usage found at Northern Ute is also present here. Other non-Indian families participate in Parker's commercial economy, either as owners of local businesses or as workers, as do the African Americans and East Asians who have also moved into this settlement in recent years. Parker is also the location of the schools (three elementary and two secondary) for Indian and non-Indian children on this reservation.

Common proficiency in English (though not necessarily the same English varieties) becomes the basis for communication between younger Isletas and Hispanics; whether this use of English as a nonpartisan, "neutral" code, instead of acquisition of some level of skill in each other's languages, has affected Isletan-Hispanic relations merits closer attention. Case Study 4: Colorado River Tribes (Southwestern Arizona, Southeastern California) I conclude these profiles of on-reservation/rural Indian speech communities by describing conditions on the Colorado River reservation, located on the border between Arizona and California.

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