Chiapaneco Texts: Martha and Mary

The last Chiapaneco text was mostly a proof of concept. Now we'll be looking at a brief narrative. This is a translation of a New Testament story, Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42). The source language was almost certainly Spanish. The usual caveats apply here about the text being unrepresentative and inauthentic due to its genre … Continue reading Chiapaneco Texts: Martha and Mary

A very brief Chiapaneco text

Last year when I brought up Chiapaneco to someone, they commented on the lack of information about it saying, "All we have is vocabulary." Well, there are Chiapaneco texts out there, but as far as I know, none have received a thorough morphological analysis. So as the first, tiniest step to correct this, I give … Continue reading A very brief Chiapaneco text

Images and Word Art in a Chiapaneco Document

There are few surviving documents written in Chiapaneco (an Otomanguean language of Chiapas, Mexico that is reportedly dormant since the mid 20th century), and they tend to either be functional (a letter reporting election results, a religious confraternity's account book), or ecclesiastic (bible passages or catechisms). But there's this one document that, while very religious … Continue reading Images and Word Art in a Chiapaneco Document

Zapotecan and Paezan are not related

A few years ago a paper (Jolkesky 2017 "On the South American Origins of Some Mesoamerican Civilizations") was written summarizing the findings of a post-doc project investigating linguistic connections between languages of South America and Mesoamerica. The methods involved the compilation of a dataset of about 400 items per language investigated and then a massive … Continue reading Zapotecan and Paezan are not related

What a List of Spanish Names can tell us about Chiapaneco

I'm transcribing an account book of a Chiapaneco cofradía that was kept around 1800 in Suchiapa, Chiapas. At first I was disappointed that this ledger is mostly just Spanish names and doesn't have much written Chiapaneco, but then I realized that spelling variations in the names--some you'd expect even in monolingual Spanish of the period … Continue reading What a List of Spanish Names can tell us about Chiapaneco

Number Suppletion in Chatino Adjectives

This post is about number and how the Chatino languages (don't) keep track of whether things are singular or plural. Some other post will talk about the languages' vigesimal numeral systems. Apart from the pronouns used to mark the arguments of verbs and the possessors of nouns, the Chatino languages do not track whether entities … Continue reading Number Suppletion in Chatino Adjectives

The Rabbit and the Snake – A Mixtec tale read by Ken Pike One of the early major American researchers of Mixtec languages was Kenneth Pike. As a missionary linguist with the Summer Institute of Linguistics, he spent a lot of time in the Mexican town of San Miguel El Grande where he learned to speak that town's Mixtec language fluidly (though I'll leave it to Migueleños … Continue reading The Rabbit and the Snake – A Mixtec tale read by Ken Pike

Enclitic Conjunctions in Chiapaneco

Working through untranslated texts in a language you don't understand is challenging, but even still it's possible to learn some things about the language. For example, it's becoming clear to me that the dormant Otomanguean language Chiapaneco uses two enclitic conjunctions =mane 'but' and =ka 'and' that picked the head of the conjoined phrase (or … Continue reading Enclitic Conjunctions in Chiapaneco

Possessor prefixes in Chiapaneco

Chiapaneco is a language formerly spoken in and around Chiapa de Corzo in Chiapas, Mexico. Together with the Mangue language formerly spoken on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, it formed an entire branch of the extensive Otomanguean language family. This branch, which is sometimes called Chorotegan, Chiapanec-Mangue or other similar names is the only … Continue reading Possessor prefixes in Chiapaneco