Documentation of Mocho' (Mayan): Language Preservation through Community Awareness and Engagement

Documentation of Mocho' (Mayan): Language Preservation through Community Awareness and Engagement

Language: Mocho’ (ISO639-3:mhc)
Depositor: Jaime Pérez González
Location: Mexico
Deposit Id: 0463
Grant id: IGS0301
Funding body: ELDP
Level: Deposit

Summary of deposit
Mocho' is a Mayan language with two different dialects spoken in Chiapas, Mexico by around 50 speakers of whom fewer than half are fluent. It is therefore severely endangered and needs further documentation, especially of the Tuzantec dialect. Documenting Mocho' will be accomplished in cooperation with the community and will include descriptions of everyday life, as well as verbal art, cultural traditions, botanical knowledge and songs to the extent available. The results will be 75 hours of video and audio recordings. From this corpus, 15 hours will be transcribed and translated in ELAN and annotated in FLEX.

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Jaime Pérez González
Affiliation: The University of Texas at Austin

Deposit Statistics

Data from 2019 January 16 to 2019 January 16
Deposit hits:19
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Showing 1 - 10 of 36 Items

This is a series of audio-video recordings of conversations between Flaviano Juárez Mateo and Teodoso Ortíz Ramírez. We had a surprising visit to Flaviano's house, so he did not expect us that day. He was happy to see us and they had conversations about different topics through the entire visit. In the first audio-video recording MHC_FJM_y_TOR_CON_La_visita_inesperada_a_don_Flaviano-1 Flaviano and Teodoso talk about what Teodoso had been up to, and why he had not visited Flaviano. They also talk about the Consejero Mocho', the Mocho' representative. They say that it is time to elect the new Consejero Mocho', so they have to organize themselves to find the right candidate. They say they have to pick someone who is a native speaker of Mocho' because the current Consejero Mocho' is not a speaker of the language. In the second audio-video recording MHC_FJM_y_TOR_CON_La_visita_inesperada_a_don_Flaviano-2 Teodoso and Flaviano talk about Flaviano's profession (who is a medicine man), and how Flaviano cure his patients. He talks about how his ancestors used to cure, and how people do it currently. They also make jokes about doctors and patients. They also talk about how Jaime Pérez González got a ticket by the local police because he parked on the main square while he was waiting for Teodoso. They make jokes about the situation, and Teodoso says that Jaime got a discount because his son in law works in the local government. In the third audio-video recording MHC_FJM_y_TOR_CON_La_visita_inesperada_a_don_Flaviano-3 they talk about how Flaviano was invited to a consultation about indigenous communities in San Cristobal de las Casas, where the representative from the government suggested him that Mocho’ people need to organize themselves and have representation at the State level. They say that the Mocho’ representative does not speak the language, and that the government wants and likes a person who speaks the language. They name some Mocho’ speakers who can have that role in the community. They also talk about some programs and projects that the government had given to Motozintla to other non-native speakers who just take advantage of the language plight. These people had only used the monetary compensation to enrich themselves, and they have not helped to promote and teach the language. They also talk about the possibility of organizing an event for the International day of indigenous language on February 21, 2019, and they wish Jaime could be there to help them out. At the end they say they should make a list of real speakers of the Mocho’. The fourth audio-video recording MHC_FJM_y_TOR_CON_La_visita_inesperada_a_don_Flaviano-4 is a conversation about the right pronunciation of some words. The idea is to understand the allophonic variation of /b’/ between vowels and at the end of the word. The fifth audio-video recording MHC_FJM_y_TOR_CON_La_visita_inesperada_a_don_Flaviano-5 starts with a conversation about how a wake (when someone dies) used to be in comparison to the way wakes are nowadays. They also talk about the ritual they used to perform when someone dies. Their ancestors gather to help each other in these situations. They also talk about how the representatives of Casa Mocho’ do not have any respect for their ancestors because they pick anybody to be the Prioste (person in charge of running the Fiesta Mocho’). They talk about how the main priest of the community criticizes the way the fiesta Mocho’ is organized, and specially the part of praying in Spanish. The priest says that they should do it in Mocho’, and that they have to get back to the old days. In the sixth audio-video recording MHC_FJM_y_TOR_CON_La_visita_inesperada_a_don_Flaviano-6, Teodoso and Flaviano talk about people who do not speak the language. They say that in the old days even in the church the catholic priest used to give the sermon in Mocho’, and how everybody spoke Mocho’ including children at different ages. Flaviano also says that the Protestant priests prohibited the language because they say it is from the evil. Flaviano says that the difference between Catholic priests and Protestant priests is that the Catholic priests they liked the language. They also talk about how the used to use incense for their rituals, and that Mocho’ people were known as incense producers. In general they talk about people who recognize themselves as speakers, but Teodoso and Flaviano say that some of those people actually do not speak the language. Flaviano talks about shamans and their prayers with incense. In the seventh audio-video recording MHC_FJM_y_TOR_CON_La_visita_inesperada_a_don_Flaviano-7 Flaviano and Teodoso speak about the new elected Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The ritual that an indigenous person performed when he took position as the new president. They make jokes about the performance of the shaman at that event, and they laugh making jokes about what he could say. Flaviano and Teodoso also say that Obrador has said that he will help indigenous communities, so that Mocho’ people need to organize to get some assistance from the government. They say that they have to organize an event for the international day of indigenous languages February 2019. They mention who should be invited, and which communities from they should invite to bring their dancers and prayers; communities such as Union Juárez and Victoria have been participated in the previous events. Teodoso narrates how the events were organized when he was the Consejero Mocho’ (main representative of the Mocho’ community). They finalized this visit saying that they have to organize a meeting where Mocho’ people need to discuss this issues, and take advantage of the new president’s offer.

Recorded on: 2019-01-05

This is a catholic version of Adam and Eva narrated in Mocho'.

Recorded on: 2017-12-08

This is the biography of Don Flaviano Juarez Matias narrated with the idea of knowing what his career has been and being able to know his sociohistorical context.

Recorded on: 2017-11-12

This is a series of three audio-video recordings with transcriptions of Julio López Pérez’s autobiography. There is a merged audio-video file named MHC_TUZ_JLP_Biografia_de_JLP that contains the three short transcribed audio-video files. In MHC_TUZ_JLP_Biografia_de_JLP-1 Julio talks about when he was born and where he grew up. He narrates how his childhood was working with his parents, and what they used to do. Hi says that his father was peasant, so he did not have another option more than take care of the land. He also says that when he was adolescent he worked hard, and he did not had any bad habit. He talks about the situation of Tuzantec language and why it is dying. He says that his parents prohibited him to speak Tuzantec because it was prohibited in Tuzantan. There was an announcement that you did not have to speak the language in the community. There are some people that say that they speak the language, but Julio says that they only know some words and they cannot speak the language. He says that in all villages that belong to the Municipality of Tuzantan there are around sixty people who know some words, but that they cannot speak. He also says that he does not even speak the language because he has not practiced it in a long time. In MHC_TUZ_JLP_Biografia_de_JLP-2 Julio speaks about their ancestors and where they came from. He says that his grandfather came from Guatemala and his grandmother was native from Tuzantan. The rest of his relatives spoke Mocho’. He also says that there was an order in Tuzantan that prohibited the language in the community. The police said that nobody could speak the language. If you were speaking the language, the police will arrest you and take you to jail. At school the language was also prohibited. Teachers shut you up if they listen you speaking the language, so nobody spoke Tuzantec at school. He says that he learned Tuzantec since he was born, and that he stopped speaking Tuzantec when he was approximately eleven years old. He also refers to the idea of Tuzantec being compared to Mam (another Mayan language), and that for a long time it was considered Mam. The third audio-video recording MHC_TUZ_JLP_Biografia_de_JLP-3 keeps talking about the name of Tuzantec and how people used to say that it was considered Mam. He says that we do not know if Motozintlec and Tuzantec are the same language. Jaime asks him if he could understand when Teodoso from Motozintla understood his language, and Julio says that he could understand, but it was hard for him to understand all of it. He also talks about places where he went to work. He did not go far away, only to those farms around Tuzantan. He names some of those farms where he worked, and he says what he did in this farms (mostly on coffee plantations). He tell us how he settled down in Tuzantan, and he stopped going to those farms. He says that his father suggested him to work on their own land. He says also that he gradually got tired, and decided to just work by himself.

Recorded on: 2018-06-09

Don Flaviano was supreme counselor of the Mocho' ethnic group and was representing his people for several years, achieving several opportunities for their language and culture. This is the story of him and other Mocho' counselors.

Recorded on: 2017-11-12

This is a conversation between Felipa and Teodoso about the traditional customs in Motozintla. They say these customs are no longer practiced by their decedents. These traditional activities are seen as ancient activities, and nobody is interested in keeping them alive.

Recorded on: 2017-11-10

This is a conversation between Flaviano and Teodoso while they are drinking coffee. In this conversation they make jokes and they talk about different things. The last part of this conversation is about a notification Teodoso got from the president of Oxchuc (to tseltal village) some years back to go to an indigenous event as a Mocho' representative.

Recorded on: 2018-01-10

This is the story of a man who was widowed with his children. Later he wanted to marry a woman who did not accept his children. The woman asked him to get rid of his children if he really wanted to stay with her. The man obeyed the woman and went to leave his children to the mountain. The children became rich and returned to the village.

Recorded on: 2017-10-17

This audio-video recording is about a session of elicitation where the goal is to understand the deictic system in Tuzantec. At the beginning of the session, Jaime asks Julio a series of questions to see how the demonstratives work in Tuzantec as well as the locatives. At the middle of the session it turns to an elicitation of distributivity and the plural marking for name places. It also contains some greetings and some random vocabulary.

Recorded on: 2018-04-31

This recording is about Don Elpidio's experience through his life. He talks about different things. Among these experiences that he narrates we find things like what he did when he was a kid, and when he was growing up. He refers to an anecdote where he was harvesting cocoa and a person asked him why he needed cocoa. He responds that he needed cocoa because he wanted to eat some meat, and that cocoa was used to buy meat. He narrates things like what his people used to eat, and how his grandmother used to cook meat. He also mentions what people used to do when someone dies, and how they prepare the body. He says that they used to cover the body with a palm mat, and that they also used to put some cotton in the feet of the death person so that they can get to the other side. He also talks about how people used to dance, which is different the way youths do nowadays. At the end of the recording he talks about some of the jobs he had, and how different the place where he lives now used to be.

Recorded on: 2018-07-25