Loading Events

Ticha: archival texts, linguistic analysis, and language activism

Brook Danielle Lillehaugen, Haverford College

November 29, 2023 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 1-S-5 Green Hall

Program in Linguistics

There are thousands of pages of texts written in Zapotec from the 17c and 18c. In fact, Zapotec has one of the largest corpora of early alphabetic texts in the Americas. In this talk, I present Ticha: a digital text explorer for Colonial Zapotec (https://ticha.haverford.edu; Lillehaugen et al. 2016, Broadwell et al. 2020), a digital humanities project which makes this corpus accessible to a diverse global audience. I reflect on how linguists can be productive partners in this type of interdisciplinary public humanities project (Plumb et al. in press) and share how Ticha is being used by members of the community to reclaim words and strengthen language programs (Lopez 2021). Finally, I’ll also show how linguists are using the corpus to better understand the Zapotec morphosyntax and semantics over the last three hundred years, including the development of the progressive aspect (Broadwell 2015), two-part negation (Anderson and Lillehaugen 2016), and the positional verb system (Foreman and Lillehaugen 2017).


Brook Danielle Lillehaugen is Associate Professor and Chair of Linguistics at Haverford College. She received her Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2006 and has been learning from speakers of Zapotec languages since 1999. She publishes on the grammar of Zapotec in both its modern and colonial forms, including publications in Language Documentation and ConservationInternational Journal of American Linguistics, and Tlalocan. Lillehaugen is the co-director of Ticha: a digital text explorer for Colonial Zapotec. Her work has been supported by the NSF, NEH, and the ACLS.

Humanities Council Logo
Italian Studies Logo
American Studies Logo
Humanistic Studies Logo
Ancient World Logo
Canadian Studies Logo
ESC Logo
Journalism Logo
Linguistics Logo
Medieval Studies Logo
Renaissance Logo
Film Studies Logo