Working Papers in Educational Linguistics (WPEL)




This paper speculates on the possibilities for planning for language maintenance in one particular case. It considers the pros and cons of using Quechua in schools serving Quechua-speaking communities in rural highland Puno, Peru, from the point of view of its bearing on Quechua language maintenance.

The paper is based on a two-year ethnographic sociolinguistic study in two communities of Puno. The study compared uses Quechua and Spanish in the communities and their schools, one of which participated in a bilingual education project. It also compared attitudes of community members toward the two languages. The paper draws from the findings of the research in discussing two questions:

  1. Can language maintenance be planned?; and
  2. Can schools be agents for language maintenance?