Zapotecan and Paezan are not related

A few years ago a paper (Jolkesky 2017 "On the South American Origins of Some Mesoamerican Civilizations") was written summarizing the findings of a post-doc project investigating linguistic connections between languages of South America and Mesoamerica. The methods involved the compilation of a dataset of about 400 items per language investigated and then a massive … Continue reading Zapotecan and Paezan are not related

What a List of Spanish Names can tell us about Chiapaneco

I'm transcribing an account book of a Chiapaneco cofradía that was kept around 1800 in Suchiapa, Chiapas. At first I was disappointed that this ledger is mostly just Spanish names and doesn't have much written Chiapaneco, but then I realized that spelling variations in the names--some you'd expect even in monolingual Spanish of the period … Continue reading What a List of Spanish Names can tell us about Chiapaneco

The Rabbit and the Snake – A Mixtec tale read by Ken Pike

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9f_3NTxif84&t=1s One of the early major American researchers of Mixtec languages was Kenneth Pike. As a missionary linguist with the Summer Institute of Linguistics, he spent a lot of time in the Mexican town of San Miguel El Grande where he learned to speak that town's Mixtec language fluidly (though I'll leave it to Migueleños … Continue reading The Rabbit and the Snake – A Mixtec tale read by Ken Pike

Yes, people can transcribe texts in a language they don’t know

In a recent presentation at the Conference on the Indigenous Languages of Latin America, I presented the results of one of my first forays into crowdsourcing the transcription of handwritten indigenous-language manuscripts. Since the documents are handwritten and often make liberal use of special phonetic characters (and loads of combinations of diacritic marks in the … Continue reading Yes, people can transcribe texts in a language they don’t know