Advancing documentation and social justice through community-led collaborations in the Mesoamerican diaspora in California

Date: February 16, 2024

Time: 11:00

Location: SH 4430C/ PC Zoom Room

Speakers: Guillem Belmar

The diversity and richness of the language practices of Indigenous migrant populations are often neglected in both public policy and research. In this talk I highlight contributions of two ongoing interrelated research projects carried out in collaboration with Mixtec and P’urhépecha community members in the California diaspora. First, I analyze speakers’ metalinguistic reflections on intelligibility between two different Mixtec varieties (or languages) spoken in the Central Coast of California. I argue that hybridization (Sanchez-Stockhammer 2012) serves as an accommodation strategy to facilitate intercomprehension, expanding on the multilingual repertoires and translanguaging practices (Wei 2018; see also García & Wei 2015). Next, I discuss Justicia Social de Intérpretes de Lenguas Originarias (JSILO), a collective of five Mixtec interpreters and two UCSB researchers whose goals are to create and disseminate multilingual and multimedia resources for interpretation into Indigenous languages ( and to provide training for Indigenous interpreters in the diaspora in practical workshops (Ávila et al. 2023). Both projects center the voices and experiences of community members, who have identified a need for a greater understanding of the Indigenous languages spoken in the diaspora to advance language and social justice (Marie Uliasz 2018; Maxwell et al. 2018) and to create more equitable access to resources in domains such as public health while fostering the communities’ traditional linguistic and cultural practices.