Over one million Mayan Indians live and work in Southern Mexico, and six Mayan languages continue to thrive there—languages more than 3,000 years old. In the 1950s, anthropologist Robert Laughlin and his wife Mimi arrived in Chiapas, where Laughlin planned to conduct his linguistic research. At that time, he expected to learn the Tzotzil language without too much trouble, and be welcomed into the indigenous culture. As he soon found out, Tzotzil is a fantastically detailed language full of metaphors, word play, and poetic description that require the speaker to fully understand the Mayan culture and worldview in order to effectively communicate. Vocabulary and grammar were only the tip of the iceberg. Producer Katie Davis tells the story of the decades Laughlin spent learning the relationship between Mayan culture, the Tzotzil language, and the evolution of the Mayan relationship to the modern world.
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Soundprint Executive Producer: Moira Rankin
Technical Director: Anna Maria de Freitas
Editor: Jude Doherty
Audio Engineer: Robin Wise
Field Recordings: Leo del Aguila
Production Assistant: Francesca Raimand