Research Programs: Dynamic Language Infrastructure-Documenting Endangered Languages - Fellowships

Period of Performance

7/1/2007 - 3/31/2009

Funding Totals

$40,000.00 (approved)
$40,000.00 (awarded)

Archiving a Linguistic Corpus of Chorti, Yocotán, and Tumbalá Chol Mayan: Audio Recordings, Field Notes, and Photographs

FAIN: FN-50016-07

John G. Fought
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar (Diamond Bar, CA 91765)

The project will create and deposit digital copies of analog data on three modern Mayan languages: Chorti, Yocotan, and Chol. The data consist of audio tape recordings, written field notes and transcripts, and photographs. It must be borne in mind that endangerment has both cultural and linguistic dimensions. These languages were, and to some degree still are, repositories of what cultural riches remain from the early history of these Mayan peoples. The materials will contribute to further research, reconstruction and preservation of their histories and cultures, as well as to the comparative reconstruction of the history of the Mayan language family and to the decipherment of Mayan hieroglyphic writing. The materials to be preserved in this project were collected 35 to 40 years ago and could not be duplicated today. Rapid cultural changes have eroded traditional knowledge, but adults are teaching children Chorti in village elementary schools and some of the materials will be made available to them for that effort. Archiving these materials and making them accessible to scholarship will be a significant contribution to historical and comparative Mayan linguistics, folklore studies, Mayan epigraphy (and thus archaeology) and linguistic typology. (Edited by staff)