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Ethnographic and discursive audiovisual corpus of Tseltal

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Language Tseltal (ISO639-3:tzh), Tzeltal (ISO639-3:tzh)
Depositor Gilles Polian
Affiliation CIESAS
Location Mexico
Collection ID 0097
Grant ID MDP0164
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Collection online
Landing Page Handle


Summary of the collection

This collection contains a wide variety of recordings of spoken Tseltal, including prayers, interviews, conversations and narrative from eight different places (corresponding to different dialects of Tseltal); Bachajón, Cancuc, Oxchuc, Tenejapa, Guaquitepec, Tenango, Villa Las Rosas and Yajalón. Part of these recordings come with their transcription and translation to Spanish, and for some a translation into English is provided as well.


Group represented

Tseltal speakers from eight different villages


Special characteristics

The collection contains rich materials documenting the various traditions that are known to the speakers of Tseltal. An example of a topic that has been recorded in the village of Oxchuc can be found under the Resources tab via this link, documenting various activities carried out in relation to the sowing of corn. Prayers are performed in preparation of the planting of the seeds. Another example can be found under Resources via the link to the bundle of Tenejapa Chacoma skin ja recordings. These recordings cover the yearly festival of the water springs. Each year the festival takes place over three consecutive Thursdays in the month of May. The recordings document the procession of the people to the church to make offerings to Saint Ildefonso. Prayers are performed asking for the blessing of the water sources and the people of the community. These and other traditional festivities and rituals have been widely documented, which makes this a valuable collection.


Collection contents

This documentation project resulted in many videos, depicting the various (religious) events that are known to the people living in the villages surrounding the Mexican town of San Cristobal de las Casas, where the different dialects of Tseltal are spoken.


Other information

See also: Corpus of spoken Central Tseltal (

Acknowledgement and citation

To refer to any data from the collection, please cite as follows:

Polian, Gilles. 2016. Ethnographic and discursive audiovisual corpus of Tseltal. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

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