UCSD Anthropology Department  

John B. Haviland

John B. Haviland is a linguistic anthropologist, distinguished research professor of Anthropology at UCSD. His work concentrates on Tzotzil (Mayan) speaking peasant cornfarmers from Zinacantán, Chiapas, Mexico , and on speakers of Guugu Yimithirr (Paman), especially at the Hopevale Aboriginal Community, near Cooktown, in northern Queensland, Australia. He has most recently engaged in an ongoing study of language origins based on extensive documentation of a first generation sign language (Zinacantec Family Homesign, or "Z") from Chiapas, Mexico. Haviland’s recent research interests also include Mexican merolicos (street performers), gesture and multimodal interaction, ethnomusicology, and language and the law, especially as it involves speakers of indigenous languages of Mexico and Central America. He has also done fieldwork with speakers of Amuzgo (Otomanguean), both in their home community in Oaxaca and in an immigrant community in Oceanside, California, part of a wider set of studies about Mexican indigenous people in diaspora. In 2005 he founded and until 2019 directed UCSD’s Linguistic Anthropology Laboratory. (The first fourteen years of the Lab's activity can still be consulted at the pre-2018 Linguistic Anthropology Website.)

Those interested in the Tzotzil language may find useful Haviland's Tzotzil pedagogical grammar published in Spanish, as Sk'op Sotz'leb: El Tzotzil de San Lorenzo Zinacantán by the UNAM. A PDF version of Robert M. Laughlin's 2007 Tzotzil-Spanish dictionary can be found here.

A somewhat propaganda-filled article about some of Haviland's work appeared in Reed magazine, published at Reed College, where Haviland was formerly professor of Linguistics and Anthropology.

Haviland is a qualified and experienced legal and health related interpreter for the Tzotzil language.