Saying It in Seri

Article excerpt

Saying It in Seri

While most Seri speak or at least understand Spanish and use it when communicating with outsiders, cmique torn remains the Seri's first language. The language was standardized in written form in the 1960s by linguists Becky Moser and the late Ed Moser, whose spellings we have used here. Recently, Seri educators have been working to modify the spelling, making it conform more closely to that of Spanish. A note on proper names: when the Seri were settled in Sonoran villages, individuals were given the surnames, and in some cases even the first names, of Mexicans who lived nearby. To the best of our knowledge, most Seri also have a Seri name, usually a nickname, used by family members and close friends.

People of the Desert and Sea: Ethnobotany of the Seri Indians, written by Richard S. Felger and Mary B. Moser (University of Arizona Press, 1985), is the definitive book about the Seri. The authors note that the Seri names for flora and fauna reflect ecological connections. …