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Showing posts from 2016

Log 18: The last post? K'isib'äl?

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This is probably the last post that we are going to release concerning the first research field trip in the field station. We have been back home for one week and I have to confess that I have been postponing this moment. This experience, which was a field work debut for most of us, was intellectually and personally challenging. The rewards that we got though are beyond measure.

The time just went so fast ...

After our presentation at UVG, the day before our departure (6/30/2016), Pedro and Ana invited us for a final dinner with them. There was good food, good drinks, good conversation, good stories, plans for the future, laughter, ...




The farewell next morning was the worst part of the trip.


It was difficult to leave our host families and people who helped us so much. It was also difficult for most of us to express in Spanish or in Kaqchikel how grateful we were to all of them.

I would like to express here my gratitude to all people from whom I learned so much last month. I'm dee…

Log 17: Pacaya Volcano

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On 26/6, our last Sunday in Guatemala, part of the group went to a hike in the Pacaya volcano.




We arrived there around 9am and after some negotiation we hired a guide and started our journey. The path was steep, but the group was excited to reach the top of the mountain (especially after the eruption demonstration that we had from one of the volcanoes in the area the week before).


Our guide told us about the last eruptions, the last one in 2014. Almost at the top, we halted at the place where one of the last eruptions happened and we were able to prepare some marshmallows in a small crack on the ground, which still emanates heat (no one believes me when I tell this part of the story, but it is true – I swear!).

We then went on and had lunch at the highest part of the mountain that tourists are allowed to go.






On our way down, we took a different path. We ended up being surprised by a sudden rain and hail, which added a special charm to the landscape, a bit of a adventure to our journe…

Log 16: Nostalgic/curious about the Kaqchikel classes?

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Good news! The audio recordings of our Kaqchikel classes are now all organized and available online in .mp3 version (for .wav you need to contact me directly)

Here's a good visual representation of how much fun we had - bursts of laughter and/or clapping every 20 sec in this sample waveform:
There are also many gems like this:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bx3AZxTWgaReY3gwN182VkplVVE


Log 15: Antigua Guatemala Mini-Trip

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On Thursday, June 23, Gesoel, Omer, Paulina, Rodrigo, and I took a mini-group trip to Antigua to have dinner with two renowned linguists and Mayanists, Ryan Bennett (Yale) and Robert Henderson (Arizona). We arrived in Antigua in time to have a late lunch at Hector’s Bistro, right across the street from Iglesia La Merced, a gorgeous colonial church. While our dining experience in Patzún was delightful (I’m still craving frijoles!), it was lovely to have a taste of fine dining at Hector’s. We followed up our leisurely lunch with a little bit of gift shopping for our host families at the market and at a lovely little bookshop. After a brief nap at the hotel, we took off to meet Ryan and Robert in the central park of Antigua. We grabbed drinks and chatted up a storm about all manner of Mayan linguistics–phonology, syntax, and semantics included! The conversations continued at Micho’s, where we enjoyed the stormy night at a table in the inner courtyard of the building. We stayed for hour…

Log 14: Presenting our work!

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On June 29th, we made our way back to Universidad del Valle (UVG), altiplano campus in Sololá, to present the results of our research in Tecpán and Patzún. This part of our trip was particularly important, since we wanted to showcase what we’d accomplished in a short period of time and also encourage/invite UVG students and scholars to work with us in future trips. One of the main drives of the research station is to create opportunities for researchers like us and local students to collaborate across disciplines, so it was crucial that we piqued the attendees’ interests.

Following opening remarks by Pedro and Omer, we each gave the following talks—Gesoel and I’s was a joint endeavor, so we got to give a more detailed account of our data:
RESEARCH PRESENTATIONS
a.         Gesoel and I: Extracción de Adjuntos en Kaqchikel y Tz’utujiil (Adjunct Extraction in Kaqchikel and Tz’utujiil) b.         Paulina: Consonantes Adyacentes (Consonant Clusters) c.         Chris: Tiempo y Aspecto (Tense a…

Log 13: More Tz'utujiil and Patines

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Our Tz'utujiil contributor Doña Rosario (or Doña Sara, as she's better known in Patzún) is famous in town for her “patines”, a dish from the Tz’utujiil area surrounding Lake Atitlán. Every week, she gets requests to cook the dish, which consists of a spicy tomato sauce and one of several kinds of meat: fish, shrimp, chicken, or “cecina”—beef that has been marinated in pure lime juice overnight. Our last week of working in Patzún, Doña Rosario prepared her “cecina” patines for us, and they were DELICIOUS! The photo below shows the carefully wrapped meal in “maxán” leaves—in Tz’utujiil, the dish is known by the name in (1) below:

(1)        Jk’omik           chu-pam                      tz’alem             sauce               PREP.3sgPOSS-belly maxán.leaf             Literal: ‘sauce in the belly of the maxán leaf’ / ‘patín’

IPA:     [χkˀo.ˈmik    ʧu.ˈpam    ʦˀa.ˈlem]


Gesoel, Paulina, Carola, and I were lucky to work with Doña Rosario for many hours during our Patzún stay. Gesoel…

Log 12: Amidst the hills of Patzún

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We arrived at Pedro’s house in Patzún where we were greeted by out new host families. The first impression – Kaqchikel is everywhere. Our host families regularly speak it, it’s on the streets and at the market. And more – it’s a very different variety of Kaqchikel than the one in Tecpán. Also, Patzún dialect is different than a dialect from a nearby town – clearly a sign that sheer distance is not everything.




Patzún is beautifully located on the hills. It means we’re climbing them all the time. It’s mindblowing how a tuk-tuk can go up or down such a cline. It’s also surrounded by stunning volcanoes one of which, Fuego, nomen omen, smokes occasionally. It rains heavily in the evenings but the days are bright and sunny. And from time to time there’s a thunderstorm spectacle over the mountains. We’ll keep working on Kaqchikel, but also branch out and look at other Mayan languages –closely related Tz’utujil and very different Mam. We’ll have lots of fun (and work).

Flyer for our presentations at UVG-A

Here is a link to the flyer that Pedro has prepared for our presentations on June 29 at UVG-A (Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Campus Altiplano).

Log 11: How to Kaqchikel

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On Monday 6th started out daily Guatemalan, to be more accurate Tecpaneco, routine. We ate frijolitos, drank coffee and tried not to forget all those Kaqchikel words for body parts and fruits (for the latter we even don't know words in our own language sometimes).

Everyday we came at Wuqu' Kawoq' office at 8 a.m. and our classes began with Xseqär k'a and ended at 4 p.m. with Chwa'q chïk. We listened and looked, remembered and spoke, tachapa' and tak'ütu, played and laughed a lot. Then we have our refacción and discusión on the roof or on the way there. Then more classes.

After classes we walked and finally met all together at our regular spot – Café de aquí. (It is not an advertisement, but they have wi-fi and, of course, panini Tecpaneco.)

On Thursday there was a market day, so we were curious to observe everything around the city centre and waste all our quetzales on pots, uqs and ch'ops. In Antigua we learned how to bargain more or less properly in …

Log 10: Kaqchikel and Tz'utujiil Elicitation

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Gesoel and I have had the pleasure to work with several speakers of Kaqchikel and Tz’utujiil for our project exploring the distribution of /wi/ , which has been described as a post-verbal focus particle in Kaqchikel.
We first interviewed Doña Toya in Tecpán. Doña Toya hosted Emma for two weeks, and will be welcoming her back to her home after our Patzún adventure. Doña Toya is a very enthusiastic person who loves to share her knowledge of Kaqchikel; to summarize some of our findings for her dialect, Doña Toya rejected the /wi/ particle in many of the environments in which it has been reported to be obligatory in the literature—for instance, we expected /wi/ to occur obligatorily after the verb upon the extraction of a locative, but she rejected it outright:
(1)  X-Ø-tzopin           Lolmaay chwa jay.
       COM-B3s-jumo   Lolmaay backyard
       'Lolmaay jumped in the yard.'

(1') Akuchi’    x-Ø-tzopin           (*wi) ri    Lolmaay?       where    COM-B3s-jump     WI  DET…

Log 9: Tecpán Farewell Party

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Our last night in Tecpán, our host families prepared a farewell party for us! All was beautifully set in Doña Marta Ajtzac Choguaj's house, where Paulina was staying. The party started with our host moms singing a song in Kaqchikel for us. We all did our best to join the group.

The families gave us gifts, which included clothes made by them in the traditional style. They will all be carried back with love and nostalgia to our home. We then had dinner, soup with chicken and vegetables (pulique), chuchitos, and jamaica.




After dinner, Guatemalan music and dancing! Specially for Emma, Rodrigo, Chris and Paulina. As for me … me dolían las piernas y no pude bailar … =)
K-oj-xajon! hort-1.pl-dance “Let's dance!”

Saudade ...

Log 8: Last week in Tecpán

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In our second week of Kaqchikel classes in Tecpán many things happened. We welcomed some guests from UVG (Universidad del Valle de Guatemala), which is a partner in the field-station project. We had with us the Director Ejecutivo Juan Carlos Villatoro, the decano (dean) Mario Morales, the coordinator of Turism Lic. Pablo Castro and one student, Samuel de León. The students stayed with us in class most of the time. They already knew some Kaqchikel and were able to catch up. The UVG people, including Pedro, and Masha met to discuss joint projects.




Dr. Peter Rohloff, one of the founders of Wuqu' Kawoq, also visited us during the week. He spoke with us in fluent Kaqchikel (picture coming soon).

In this second week, we began more advanced topics in Kaqchikel grammar such as antipassives, causatives, positionals and directionals. We learned how to use transitive clauses with ergative and absolutive marking and also how to haggle in the market!


In the last day of the our second week in…