A Grammar of Seri by Stephen A. Marlett

By Stephen A. Marlett

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Moser & Marlett 2005). This fact is in itself an indication of the degree of physical and cultural separation between the Seri people and their neighbors, a topic discussed in greater detail below. The lack of Seri names on maps is also due to the fact that no one would have known how to write them. 16 The first historical records of contact with the Spanish date from 1536,17 and (eventually unsuccessful) attempts at missionization of this group by the Jesuits and Franciscans were an important part of their history in the following two and a half centuries.

78 The first comprehensive and serious linguistic investigation of the Seri language began with the arrival of Edward and Mary (Becky) Moser in 1951. 79 They 74 See McGee (1898:95ff, 299ff) and Marlett (2010c) for information on the various lists from the nineteenth century. 75 Ramírez (1861). It is not at all clear why publication of the list was delayed for more than ten years. 76 This list is available from the Smithsonian Institution. 77 Gatschet (1900). This list is available from the Smithsonian Institution.

8 This island was declared a “Zona de Reserva Natural y Refugio para la Fauna Silvestre” on 7 February 1963 by President Adolfo López Mateos (see Comisión de Desarrollo de la Tribu Seri 1976, not paginated; the declaration was published in the Diario Oficial de la Federación in Mexico City on 15 March 1963). 9 Some outsiders have imposed a sense of “sacred” on this land; even some Seris may use that word in Spanish conversation. However, no one has recorded an expression similar in meaning to “sacred” in the Seri language.

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