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Principles of Tzeltal Plant Classification - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780127850474, 9781483220987

Principles of Tzeltal Plant Classification

1st Edition

An Introduction to the Botanical Ethnography of a Mayan-Speaking, People of Highland, Chiapas

Authors: Brent Berlin Dennis E. Breedlove Peter H. Raven
Editor: E. A. Hammel
eBook ISBN: 9781483220987
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 28th January 1974
Page Count: 684
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Principles of Tzeltal Plant Classification: An Introduction to the Botanical Ethnography of a Mayan-Speaking People of Highland Chiapas covers the underlying classificatory principles used by the Tzeltal to order the vast array of organisms of the plant world. The book describes the setting of the research, both from a botanical and ethnographic view; the general outline of Tzeltal plant classification and nomenclature; and the methods used to collect data. The text also discusses the rich ethnolinguistic terminology used by the Tzeltal in describing and discussing the structure of plants, referred to as ethnophytography; and the cultural significance of plants to the Tzeltal in agriculture, food types, house building, and other areas of material culture where plants and plant products are of major importance. The individual description of all known Tzeltal plant classes is also encompassed in detail. Botanists and ethnobotanists will find the book invaluable.

Table of Contents




Conventions, Abbreviations, and Key to Pronunciation of Tzeltal Words

Part I The Setting, Principles, and Methods

Chapter 1 The Setting

1 Phytogeography of Chiapas

2 Linguistic and Cultural Characteristics of the Central Highlands

3 The Municipio of Tenejapa

4 Informants Utilized in the Research

Chapter 2 General Principles of Tzeltal Plant Classification and Nomenclature

1 Universal Principles of Classification and Nomenclature in Ethnobiology

2. Tzeltal Plant Taxonomy: A General Overview

3 Nomenclature and Classification: Some Possible Qualifications

4 Intermediate Taxa as Covert Conceptual Categories

5 Terminal Taxa

6 Summary of the Overview

7 Detailed Analysis of Tzeltal Plant Nomenclature

Chapter 3 Methods of Collecting Data

1 Prior Work in Tzeltal Botanical Ethnography

2 Procedures and Techniques Employed in the Present Study

3 Advantages of General Botanical Collecting Procedures

4 Tzeltal Collection Files and Supporting Linguistic and Ethnographic Data

5 Basic and Extended Ranges of Tzeltal Plant Names

6 Informant Variability and the "Ideal Speaker-Hearer"

7 Establishing Tzeltal Plant Complexes

Chapter 4 Ethnolinguistic Considerations of Plant Morphology and Plant Development

1 Linguistic Specification of States of Growth and Development

2 Tzeltal Ethnophytography

3 Descriptive Terminology of Tzeltal Plant Characteristics and Qualities

Chapter 5 Cultural Significance of Plants

1 Linguistic Considerations of Cultural Significance

2 Ecological Considerations of the Significance of Plants

Part II The Flora

Chapter 6 Introduction

1 Considerations on the Adequacy of the Description

2 Organization of the Flora

3 Conventions on the Form of Individual Discussion of Tzeltal Plant Names

Chapter 7 The Trees: te?

Covert Complexes: te?

Covert Categories: te?

Tree Isolates

Chapter 8 The Herbs: wamal

Herb Covert Complexes: wamal

Herb Isolates: wamal

Chapter 9 The Vines: ?ak'

Covert Categories: ?ak'

Vine Isolates: ?ak'

Chapter 10 The Grasses: ?ak

?ak Generics

Chapter 11 The Unaffiliated Plants

Unaffiliated Covert Categories

Isolated Unaffiliated Generic Taxa

Chapter 12 The Ambiguously Affiliated Plants

Covert Categories

Ambiguous Isolates


Appendix 1.1 Alphabetical Inventory of Tzeltal Plant Taxa and Their Botanical Ranges by Folk Generic Name

Appendix 1.2 Alphabetical Inventory of Botanical Names by Genus and Their Associated Tzeltal Plant Referents

Appendix 2 Alphabetical Listing of Plants by Tzeltal Name in Terms of Their Relative Cultural Significance

Appendix 3 Potentially Valid Generic Names

Appendix 4 Systematic List of Plants



Index to Non-Tzeltal Plant Names

Index to Tzeltal Plant Names

General Index


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 1974
28th January 1974
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:

About the Authors

Brent Berlin

Dennis E. Breedlove

Peter H. Raven

About the Editor

E. A. Hammel

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