Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Maria Thomas-Ruzic

Second Advisor

David Rood

Third Advisor

Andrew Cowell


According to Cowell (2012), the language revitalization literature and speech communities' efforts have been characterized by three major swings over the past fifty years: additional language teaching methods, "revitalization" emphasis, and now an anthropological approach. This thesis is a "revitalization manual" that brings the three waves together, redefining troublesome areas while maintaining useful concepts. By considering certain pre-existing literature helps identify the benefits of a usage-based demographics/domain assessment for each individual language such that achievable goals are matched to language teaching methodologies, creating a system of revitalization that works within the ideological frameworks of the speech communities. Such a system contributes to new, more nuanced measures of "success" for revitalization efforts and outcomes. Four languages--Irish Gaelic, Hawaiian, Arapaho, and Wichita--and their various efforts to reverse their conditions are examined as case study examples for understanding usage-based domain assessment. These case languages also contribute to the refined classification typology proposed, and the mapping of language teaching methods to revitalization efforts based on achievable goals for success.