Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Anthropology (Linguistics Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Leora Bar-el

Commitee Members

Richard Sattler, Kimber Haddix McKay, Gregory Campbell, Susan Penfield, Sally Thompson


University of Montana


The goal of this thesis is to examine the language socialization practices and ideologies of the Salish-Pend d’Oreille community in order to understand language and cultural change in this community. This cultural group has become predominately monolingual in the non-traditional language, English; yet as my research demonstrates, the traditional language, Salish, continues to convey important epistemological perspectives valued in traditional society. By analyzing instances of Salish language use and non-use, I define some of the social factors that influence language use, as well as how children are socialized to use the language in culturally significant ways. When Salish is used, it not only marks the power dynamics within the sociolinguistic landscape, it also indexes some key components of the traditional practices and values of the Salish-Pend d’Oreille community that continue in the current society. Utilizing Ochs’ (1990) Indexicality Principle, I propose that the Salish language indexes (i) traditional contexts, (ii) epistemological views, (iii) affect and (iv) power dynamics of the sociocultural landscape.

This study also examines language revitalization efforts in the Salish-Pend d’Oreille community. A variety of learning contexts, available for community members, were analyzed to determine what individuals are being socialized to and how socialization occurs these environments. My research demonstrates that the community’s revitalization efforts indirectly socialize children and other language learners to use language primarily in formal, institutionalized settings. These settings provide learners with not only language instruction, but also cultural exposure through the Salish language, which is a key socializing environment for many individuals. I also suggest that language revitalization programs reflect the larger sociocultural practices and ideologies of the Salish-Pend d’Oreille community.

Finally, this study utilizes Irvine and Gal’s (2000) semiotic processes to analyze Salish- Pend d’Oreille language ideologies. Salish language ideologies play a significant role in language socialization practices and the continued use of the Salish language in the Salish-Pend d’Oreille community. I propose that along with socialization practices, these semiotic processes, frequently overlapping one another, often undermine the goals of current revitalization efforts and hinder the linguistic and cultural socialization of their disappearing language.



© Copyright 2014 Rebecca Jo Wood