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Mixtec Sound Recordings

Collection number: SCL 2018-07
Primary contributors:  Sergio Méndez (consultant), Alejandro de Ávila (researcher), Leanne Hinton (donor)
Language: Mixtec
Dates: 1995-1996
Historical information: This Collection contains documentation of Mixtec conducted by Alejandro de Ávila in 1995 and 1996. This work was undertaken during the time that de Ávila was completing his dissertation on ethnobotany in Oaxaca at the University of California, Berkeley in the Anthropology Department. He completed an independent study with Professor Leanne Hinton in linguistics, during which time he worked with Sergio Méndez (from Tlacotepec) and Celso Flores Romero (from Coicoyán). According to K. Josserand's dissertation on Mixtec language history, the dialects spoken in Coicoyán and Tlacotepec belong to different subgroupings of the Mixteca Baja, although the two communities are not very distant from each other. Celso Flores is a speaker of the Coicoyán variety from Coicoyán de las Flores in the district of Juxtlahuaca in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, where he still ives (as of 2018) and where he learned Mixtec as his first language. His mother and other members of his family do not speak Spanish, and Mixtec is still the dominant language in that area as of 2018. Coicoyán and the neighboring communities to the west in the municipalities of Metlatónoc and Cochoapa (Guerrero state) remain the region with the highest rate of monolingualism in indigenous languages in Mexico (according to the 2010 census of Mexico). De Ávila knew Celso through ethnobotanical research in Coicoyán which began in 1986. The recordings of Celso in this Collection were created in Oaxaca, Mexico. Sergio Méndez is a speaker of the Tlacotepec variety, born and raised in San Miguel Tlacotepec in the district of Juxtlahuaca. Tlacotepec lies on the highway that leads from Juxtlahuaca to Huajuapan and Mexico City, and most people there no longer speak Mixtec. Sergio Méndez learned Mixtec as a second language. Furthermore, he was involved with the Frente Indígena Oaxaqueño Binacional, an organization active on both sides of the US-Mexico border to defend the rights of immigrant workers. Sergio provided legal counseling to Mixtec migrants in the US, and that work led him to gain experience with a number of dialects. He could effectively understand speakers from various communities in the Mixteca Baja region. De Ávila's research was supported by a grant from the American Philosophical Society that allowed for Sergio to travel to the University of California Berkeley, where materials in this Collection were recorded.
Scope and content: Five cassette tapes containing elicitation of Mixtec words and phrases. Item 2018-07.001 contains original tapes; item 2018-07.002 contains two cassettes that are copies of the originals.
Repository: Survey of California and Other Indian Languages
Preferred citation: Mixtec Sound Recordings, SCL 2018-07, Survey of California and Other Indian Languages, University of California, Berkeley,
Associated materials: Transcriptions of portions of the audio are found in Hinton.013.