Research Programs: Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Period of Performance

8/1/2015 - 7/31/2016

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,400.00 (awarded)

A Collection of Zapotec Indigenous Testaments in Translation with Linguistic Analysis and Annotation

FAIN: FB-58314-15

Brook Danielle Lillehaugen
Haverford College (Haverford, PA 19041-1392)

Our understanding of the Zapotec people during Mexican Colonial times is based almost entirely on primary sources written by non-Zapotec individuals. Despite the existence of at least 400 manuscripts written in Valley Zapotec between 1565 and 1750, very little accessible research exists on these documents. This project addresses this gap by creating a collection of transcribed and translated testaments, presenting them online with complete morphological analysis and linguistic, cultural, and historic annotation. A book proposal including three chapters will be prepared that draws from and complements these testaments. Without such explication, the users of these texts will likely remain limited to the small group of specialists already using them. This project facilitates connections between modern academics and colonial intellectuals and between a modern worldwide public and the valuable information locked in these archival texts.

Media Coverage

Digitally Preserving an Indigenous Mexican Language (Media Coverage)
Publication: Haverford College News
Date: 9/2/2015
URL: preserving-indigenous-mexican-language-family

Found in Translation: Linguists try to preserve spoken indigenous languages by writing them down (Media Coverage)
Publication: OMNIA All Things Penn Arts & Science
Date: 6/9/2016
URL: languages-writing-them-down

Associated Products

Ticha: a digital text explorer for Colonial Zapotec (Web Resource)
Title: Ticha: a digital text explorer for Colonial Zapotec
Author: Brook Danielle Lillehaugen
Author: George Aaron Broadwell
Author: Michel R. Oudijk
Author: Laurie Allen
Abstract: A collection of Colonial Zapotec resources including transcribed texts, translations, and linguistic analyses.
Year: 2015
Primary URL:

Negation in Colonial Valley Zapotec (Article)
Title: Negation in Colonial Valley Zapotec
Author: Carolyn Jane Anderson
Author: Brook Danielle Lillehaugen
Abstract: This paper presents an overview of negation in Colonial Valley Zapotec (CVZ) based on a corpus of texts written in Valley Zapotec between 1565 and 1808. There are four negative markers in CVZ, two bound (ya=, qui=) and two free (aca, yaca). Standard negation employs a negative word and an optional clitic, =ti. Understanding the syntax of an historical form of Valley Zapotec allows us to make some observations about related forms in modern Valley Zapotec languages, in particular San Lucas Quiavini Zapotec (SLQZ). For example, the morpheme =ti, which is required in clausal negation in SLQZ, is not obligatory in any negative constructions in CVZ until around 1800. In Vellon 1808, the youngest text in the corpus, we observe =ti required in one type of clausal negation. This allows us to observe details of the development of the modern Valley Zapotec negation system, including the fact that the remaining changes leading to obligatory =ti in clausal negation in SLQZ must have occurred within the last 200 years.
Year: 2016
Primary URL:
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Transactions of the Philological Society