N. Louanna Furbee

University of Missouri | Professor Emerita of AnthropologyMember since 1969

My Biography

N. Louanna Furbee is a Mayanist. She began her linguistic anthropological career describing Tojol-ab’al Mayan, preparing a grammar, a computer-aided dictionary, and a computerized concordance of Tojol-ab’al texts.. She also edited a 3-part series of the IJAL-NATS series that presents texts from 17 Mayan languages. In addition, Furbee investigated comparatively the cultural cognitions of medical knowledge of speakers of Tojol-ab’al, Quechua, and Aymara, and the cognition of Quechua speakers’ management of soils and terrace agriculture. She also developed knowledge acquisition methods for obtaining cultural data valid for multivariate analyses. In the 1990s she and her students documented Chiwere-Siouan, a language with fewer than 10 fluent speakers. She co-edited a volume (Grenoble & Furbee) from an LSA-sponsored conference on documentation and revitalization of endangered languages. Long collaborations with Tojol-ab’al speakers encouraged her forming a Tojol-ab’al-held Mexican non-profit NGO for documentation and revitalization of Tojol-ab’al (CDIT, AC). Furbee remains an external advisor for the group.