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Alternative ways of representing Zapotec and Cuicatec folk classification of birds: a multidimensional model and its implications for culturally-informed conservation in Oaxaca, México.

Alcántara-Salinas G, Ellen RF, Valiñas-Coalla L, Caballero J, Argueta-Villamar A - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2013)

Bottom Line: Post-fieldwork, Principal Component Analysis using NTSYSpc V. 2.11f was applied to obtain pattern variation for the answers from different participants.Using language and pile-sorting data analysed through Principal Component Analysis, we show how both Zapotec and Cuicatec subjects place a particular emphasis on an intermediate level of classification.These categories group birds with non-birds using ecological and behavioral criteria, and violate a strict distinction between symbolic and mundane (or ‘natural’), and between ‘general-purpose’ and ‘single-purpose’ schemes.We suggest that shared classificatory knowledge embodying everyday schemes for apprehending the world of birds might be better reflected in a multidimensional model that would also provide a more realistic basis for developing culturally-informed conservation strategies.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Centro Regional de Investigaciones Multidisciplinarias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM, Av, Universidad s/n, circuito, Colonia Chamilpa, Campus Morelos, Cuernavaca, Morelos C,P, 62210, Mexico. ga63@kentforlife.net.

ABSTRACT

Background: We report on a comparative ethno-ornithological study of Zapotec and Cuicatec communities in Northern Oaxaca, Mexico that provided a challenge to some existing descriptions of folk classification. Our default model was the taxonomic system of ranks developed by Brent Berlin.

Methods: Fieldwork was conducted in the Zapotec village of San Miguel Tiltepec and in the Cuicatec village of San Juan Teponaxtla, using a combination of ethnographic interviews and pile-sorting tests. Post-fieldwork, Principal Component Analysis using NTSYSpc V. 2.11f was applied to obtain pattern variation for the answers from different participants.

Results and conclusion: Using language and pile-sorting data analysed through Principal Component Analysis, we show how both Zapotec and Cuicatec subjects place a particular emphasis on an intermediate level of classification.These categories group birds with non-birds using ecological and behavioral criteria, and violate a strict distinction between symbolic and mundane (or ‘natural’), and between ‘general-purpose’ and ‘single-purpose’ schemes. We suggest that shared classificatory knowledge embodying everyday schemes for apprehending the world of birds might be better reflected in a multidimensional model that would also provide a more realistic basis for developing culturally-informed conservation strategies.

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Three-dimensional graph of principal component 3 in Cuicatec pile-sortinganalysis.
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Figure 5: Three-dimensional graph of principal component 3 in Cuicatec pile-sortinganalysis.

Mentions: If we now turn to Cuicatec judgments for all animals, and examine Figure 4, and in particular PC 1 on the X-axis, the main groupingobtained is group 1. This is separated from groups 2 and 3 due to the following highvalues (Additional file 2): -8872 for character B8 (animalsdesignated as ‘clever’, those that are difficult to see, and those thatcannot be domesticated); -0.8234 for character H4 (those animals living in tropicalforest), -0.7432 for character H5 (those living in semi-deciduous forest, -0.7680 forcharacter M8 (animals with hair), and −0.7503 for character SC4 (mammals). Onthe Y axis, PC2 generates group 3 separated from groups 1 and 2 due to the highervalues for character B13, animals producing sounds (−0.8109), character M10,animals with feathers (−0.8335), and character SC1, pajaritos(−0.7600), that is ‘birds’, though it should be noted that there isno word for ‘birds’ as a whole in either traditional Zapotec or Cuicatec.Group 2 has no high values but is separated as these animals have shells or scales(M4), are very small (M1), inedible and/or harmful (S1). Aquatic or semi-aquaticanimals (H1) are also separated, as are humans and donkeys due their symbioticrelationship (S5). If we now examine Figure 5, the highestvalues for PC 3 are - 6.471 for herbivores (A1) and 0.6389 for carnivores (A2). Thisrelationship is indicated by their appearance in the figure within the ellipsebounded by a broken line. In the Cuicatec PCA the first two components accounted for25.8686 percent of the variation.


Alternative ways of representing Zapotec and Cuicatec folk classification of birds: a multidimensional model and its implications for culturally-informed conservation in Oaxaca, México.

Alcántara-Salinas G, Ellen RF, Valiñas-Coalla L, Caballero J, Argueta-Villamar A - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2013)

Three-dimensional graph of principal component 3 in Cuicatec pile-sortinganalysis.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4120933&req=5

Figure 5: Three-dimensional graph of principal component 3 in Cuicatec pile-sortinganalysis.
Mentions: If we now turn to Cuicatec judgments for all animals, and examine Figure 4, and in particular PC 1 on the X-axis, the main groupingobtained is group 1. This is separated from groups 2 and 3 due to the following highvalues (Additional file 2): -8872 for character B8 (animalsdesignated as ‘clever’, those that are difficult to see, and those thatcannot be domesticated); -0.8234 for character H4 (those animals living in tropicalforest), -0.7432 for character H5 (those living in semi-deciduous forest, -0.7680 forcharacter M8 (animals with hair), and −0.7503 for character SC4 (mammals). Onthe Y axis, PC2 generates group 3 separated from groups 1 and 2 due to the highervalues for character B13, animals producing sounds (−0.8109), character M10,animals with feathers (−0.8335), and character SC1, pajaritos(−0.7600), that is ‘birds’, though it should be noted that there isno word for ‘birds’ as a whole in either traditional Zapotec or Cuicatec.Group 2 has no high values but is separated as these animals have shells or scales(M4), are very small (M1), inedible and/or harmful (S1). Aquatic or semi-aquaticanimals (H1) are also separated, as are humans and donkeys due their symbioticrelationship (S5). If we now examine Figure 5, the highestvalues for PC 3 are - 6.471 for herbivores (A1) and 0.6389 for carnivores (A2). Thisrelationship is indicated by their appearance in the figure within the ellipsebounded by a broken line. In the Cuicatec PCA the first two components accounted for25.8686 percent of the variation.

Bottom Line: Post-fieldwork, Principal Component Analysis using NTSYSpc V. 2.11f was applied to obtain pattern variation for the answers from different participants.Using language and pile-sorting data analysed through Principal Component Analysis, we show how both Zapotec and Cuicatec subjects place a particular emphasis on an intermediate level of classification.These categories group birds with non-birds using ecological and behavioral criteria, and violate a strict distinction between symbolic and mundane (or ‘natural’), and between ‘general-purpose’ and ‘single-purpose’ schemes.We suggest that shared classificatory knowledge embodying everyday schemes for apprehending the world of birds might be better reflected in a multidimensional model that would also provide a more realistic basis for developing culturally-informed conservation strategies.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Centro Regional de Investigaciones Multidisciplinarias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM, Av, Universidad s/n, circuito, Colonia Chamilpa, Campus Morelos, Cuernavaca, Morelos C,P, 62210, Mexico. ga63@kentforlife.net.

ABSTRACT

Background: We report on a comparative ethno-ornithological study of Zapotec and Cuicatec communities in Northern Oaxaca, Mexico that provided a challenge to some existing descriptions of folk classification. Our default model was the taxonomic system of ranks developed by Brent Berlin.

Methods: Fieldwork was conducted in the Zapotec village of San Miguel Tiltepec and in the Cuicatec village of San Juan Teponaxtla, using a combination of ethnographic interviews and pile-sorting tests. Post-fieldwork, Principal Component Analysis using NTSYSpc V. 2.11f was applied to obtain pattern variation for the answers from different participants.

Results and conclusion: Using language and pile-sorting data analysed through Principal Component Analysis, we show how both Zapotec and Cuicatec subjects place a particular emphasis on an intermediate level of classification.These categories group birds with non-birds using ecological and behavioral criteria, and violate a strict distinction between symbolic and mundane (or ‘natural’), and between ‘general-purpose’ and ‘single-purpose’ schemes. We suggest that shared classificatory knowledge embodying everyday schemes for apprehending the world of birds might be better reflected in a multidimensional model that would also provide a more realistic basis for developing culturally-informed conservation strategies.

Show MeSH