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Grant number like: FN-50094-11

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Pedro Mateo-Pedro
President and Fellows of Harvard College (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)

Dynamic Language Infrastructure-Documenting Endangered Languages - Fellowships
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2011 – 7/31/2012

Acquisition of an Endangered Mayan Language

The proposed project documents the acquisition of Chuj, an endangered language spoken in San Mateo Ixtatán in Guatemala. The project has two main goals: the first component involves the creation of a publically accessible Chuj child language corpus through the recording, transcription and analysis of naturally occurring speech of children acquiring the Chuj language. The speech of four Chuj-speaking children will be recorded every two weeks as they interact with relatives, caretakers, and trained native research assistants. The work will contribute to a small but growing body of work on the acquisition of under-documented non-Indo-European languages. The PI will train researchers, including student and native Chuj speakers, in data collection, transcription, and morphological analysis. The second goal is to conduct experiments designed to test the comprehension and production of a special type of construction found in many Mayan languages, known as the Agent Focus (AF). Though this construction has been at the center of much recent work, no studies have yet been conducted to understand the path to its acquisition. (Edited by staff)