John B. Haviland is a linguistic anthropologist, distinguished professor and currently Chair 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 is most recently engaged in two projects: one a study of language origins based on extensive documentation of a first generation sign language (Zinacantec Family Homesign, or ZFHS) from Chiapas, Mexico; and the other with speakers of Amuzgo (Otomanguean), both in their home community in Oaxaca and in an immigrant community in Oceanside, California, as part of a wider set of studies about Mexican indigenous people in diaspora. Haviland’s recent research interests also include Mexican merolicos (street performers), gesture and multimodal interaction, ethnomusicology, and language and the law. He also founded and directs UCSD’s Linguistic Anthropology Laboratory.
Those interested in the Tzotzil language may find useful a rough English translation (by Reed graduate Stuart Robinson) of Haviland's Tzotzil pedagogical grammar (originally published in Spanish, as Sk'op Sotz'leb: El Tzotzil de San Lorenzo Zinacantán by the UNAM). The HTML tagging was done by Reed College graduate Esteban Gutiérrez. A PDF version of Robert M. Laughlin's recently published Tzotzil-Spanish dictionary can be found here.
There is a somewhat propaganda-filled article about some of Haviland's work in Reed magazine, published at Reed College, where Haviland was formerly professor of Linguistics and Anthropology.
Haviland is a certified (Lionbridge) legal and health related interpreter for the Tzotzil language.