On June 13th, 2019, Dr. Juan Jesús Vázquez Álvarez (CIMSUR) and Carol-Rose Little (Cornell) were invited to appear on the Canal 10 Chiapas show “La voz de nuestras raíces” [the voice of our roots], hosted by Freddy López Vázquez (advisor to the Minister of Sustainable Development of Indigenous Peoples in Chiapas). There, Juan Jesús talked about how he became a linguist and the importance of continuing to speak and write in Ch’ol. Carol-Rose talked about her work with the Ch’ol language and how she became involved with the Ch’ol communities in Chiapas.
Juan Jesús Vázquez Álvarez, Freddy Vázquez López, Carol-Rose Little, Miguel “Sebsor” (Tseltal rapper)
On July 18th, 2019, Morelia Vázquez Martínez was also an honorary guest on “La voz de nuestras raíces”. During her interview she discussed her work on linguistic projects, starting in 2015. When asked about advice for preserving Ch’ol, she emphasized the importance of teaching Ch’ol speakers how to write in their language.
Morelia Vázquez Martínez and Freddy López Vázquez during the taping of “La voz de nuestras raíces”
“La voz de nuestras raíces” is a TV program on Canal 10 Chiapas which airs in various languages of Chiapas. The Ch’ol version airs live every Thursday at 3pm.
The corpus contains nearly 40 hours of audio recordings, in addition to videos, transcriptions, translations, and photos, and was created with the help of a team of Ch’ol-speaking students, led by project directors Juan Jesús Vázquez Álvarez and Jessica Coon, with local coordinators Nicolás Arcos López and Bernabé Vázquez Sánchez.
In June and July, we organized two workshops, one in Tumbalá and the other in San Miguel. In Tumbalá, the workshop was on the language and culture of the Mayan people, with a special focus on Ch’ol (June 20th). The organizers were Carol-Rose Little (Cornell University), Esteban Mirón (Berkeley) Morelia Vázquez Martínez (ITSM), and Silvestre Gómez Jiménez (CELALI). The workshop took place in the Tumbalá cultural center, whose director is Juana Karen Peñate Montejo. Members of the cultural center, including students and teachers, attended the workshop. Esteban talked about the archaeology of the Maya people of Palenque. Carol-Rose and Morelia presented on what linguists do as well as the importance of preserving languages. Silvestre ended with some advice on how to continue preserving the Ch’ol language. At the end of the workshop, participants ate tamales prepared locally and listened to some marimba music. This workshop was possible thanks to funding from Engaged Cornell and Berkeley.
The cultural center in Tumbalá
Esteban talking about Mayan archaeology
On July 4th and July 5th, Morelia and Carol-Rose gave two Ch’ol writing workshops in the local secondary school in San Miguel. This workshop was attended by 120 students. On the first day, they went over the Ch’ol alphabet, paying special attention to how to write glottalized consonants (C’) and the sixth vowel in Ch’ol (ä). On the second day, students had a spelling quiz and then wrote down their own stories about daily life, which they then shared with the class. This workshop was possible thanks to funding from Engaged Cornell.
Cornell Arts & Sciences recently interviewed ITSM undergraduate student and Ch’ol speaker Morelia Vázquez Martínez and Cornell graduate student Carol-Rose Little about their joint linguistic work with Ch’ol. Read their article here!
Hey there! My name’s José Armando. I grew up in Tijuana, Baja California. I am about to start graduate school at the University of California, San Diego. I just finished my undergraduate degree at Cornell University, majoring in linguistics and anthropology. It was far from where I’m from and quite cold! In any case, I will now start my PhD program in linguistics in San Diego – much closer to my family in Tijuana.
Me in San Miguel. I have to climb quite some stones to get to where the house is.
I first visited San Miguel and El Campanario, Chiapas in January 2018 to learn Ch’ol. I was tagging along with my mentor Carol-Rose Little. It was amazing! I thank wholeheartedly Morelia Vázquez Martínez, Nicolás Arcos Lopez, and their families for everything they have done. I visited them again this past August on the way to a conference in Guatemala called FAMLi5. I cannot wait to go visit them again.
I wish to continue to study Ch’ol because there is a lot in the language that I don’t know. It is a beautiful language. I also study Ja’a Kumiai, another native language spoken in Baja California, Mexico. My grandparents spoke Otomí, so the native languages of Mexico are dear to my heart.
Inside the kitchen in a house in San Miguel. Gotta love beans and eggs! They’re healthy, too!
On August 3rd, 2018, bilingual Ch’ol-Spanish students and teachers from UNICH met at the Casa de la Cultura, Salto de Agua, Chiapas for a workshop on tools for documenting and preserving Ch’ol. Here is a video in Ch’ol with clips from the workshop.
This workshop was organized by Carol-Rose Little (Cornell University) and Silvestre Gómez Jiménez (CELALI). Funding thanks to Engaged Cornell. The invited speakers were Nicolás Arcos López (UIET) and Morelia Vázquez Martínez (ITSM).
The Ch’ol documentation project is now underway. Jessica Coon, Nicolás Arcos López, and Juan Jesús Vázquez Álvarez met in San Cristóbal de las Casas to plan the first workshops on Ch’ol documentation and transcription.
Jessica, Juan Jesús, and Nico
The workshops will take place in Oxolotán, Tabasco and in Yajalón, Chiapas in February, and will train Ch’ol-speaking students in basics of working with speakers, recording, storing data, and collecting metadata.