CIESAS books

John F. Schwaller schwallr at
Thu Mar 9 16:32:15 UTC 2000

	The Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social
(CIESAS) has continued with its aggressive publications program.  Recently
it has released three works of importance to Mesoamericanists who are
interested in Nahuatl, and related languages.  For Spanish speakers, it has
made Jane H. and Kenneth C. Hill's well-known work, Speaking Mexicano,
available in Spanish (as Hablando mexicano: La dinámica de una lengua
sincrética en el centro de México), translated by José Antonio Flores
Farfán and Gerardo López Córdoba.  The Hill's work is an excellent study of
modern Nahuatl speakers in Mexico.  It is based on a decade of research in
the region around the Malinche volcano in the Puebla-Tlaxcala region.  It
is a solid ethnography which also traces language use, specifically of
	As part of a growing literature of colonial Nahuatl documents published in
modern bi-lingual editions, CIESAS has also published the first volume of
Vida y bienes olvidados: Testamentos indígenas novohispanos.  This work,
edited by Teresa Rojas Rabiela, Elsa Leticia Rea López and Constantino
Medina Lima, contains testaments written both in Spanish and in Nahuatl
(translated into Spanish by the editors) from the town of Ocotelulco.  The
work also has a very informative introduction which discusses colonial
testaments, and other practical considerations.  One section deals with
testaments which were originally written in Spanish, while another focuses
on those composed in Nahuatl.  It is projected to be the first of six
volumes which will focus on Nahuatl and Spanish testaments from the
sixteenth and seventeenth-century, largely from the Archivo General de la

	A third work which has appeared concerning Nahuatl speakers is Cuatreros
somos y toindioma hablamos: Contactos y conflictos entre el náhuatl y el
español en el sur de México, by José Antonio Flores Farfán.  This is a
study of language and cultural dynamic in the Balsas region of the state of
Guerrero.  In the title of the work, cuatrero refers to the Spanish spoken
by the local inhabitants and their difficulty in learning it in the wake of
the Spanish conquest and cultural hegemony.  On the other hand toindioma is
a play on words in Nahuatl which combines the possessive prefix "to-",
meaning our, and a made-up word which combines "indio" and "idioma."  This
play on words is all the more poignant since the term "indio" is highly
negatively charged, and not normally used by Nahuatl speakers.  This is a
very moving account of the dynamics of cultural contact and change.

The address for CIESAS is:

Hidalgo y Matamoros S/N
Tlalpan, C.P.14000
Mexico, D.F.
Tels. 56 55 00 47 y 56 55 01 58
difusion at, ventas at,
editor at


John Frederick Schwaller                             schwallr at
Associate Provost                                        406-243-4722
The University of Montana                           FAX 406-243-5937

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