Cinco de Mayo and the Tataltepec Chatino word for ‘gringo’

Among the more well-known Spanish words is gringo. Despite the fanciful popular etymologies you may have heard, gringo almost surely comes from griego 'Greek'. It was at first used to refer to people whose language wasn't comprehensible by Spanish speakers, but over time in Mexican contexts it came to mean something like 'non-Spanish speaking foreigner, … Continue reading Cinco de Mayo and the Tataltepec Chatino word for ‘gringo’

Jaime de Angulo’s Chatino Texts: Part 3 – The Fisherman and the Water Witch

Since 2015 I've been tinkering with the few older sources of written Chatino that I've found. One source is a few pages of Jaime de Angulo's notes from his stay in Oaxaca. The texts are short, the transcription dubious, and the language is a variety of Eastern Chatino I don't know particularly well. Therefore, an … Continue reading Jaime de Angulo’s Chatino Texts: Part 3 – The Fisherman and the Water Witch

Jaime de Angulo’s Chatino Texts: Part 2 – The Brothers

Since 2015 I've been tinkering with the few older sources of written Chatino that I've found. One source is a few pages of Jaime de Angulo's notes from his stay in Oaxaca. The texts are short, the transcription dubious, and the language is a variety of Eastern Chatino I don't know particularly well. Therefore, an … Continue reading Jaime de Angulo’s Chatino Texts: Part 2 – The Brothers

Jaime de Angulo’s Chatino Texts: Part 1 – The Tonal

Since 2015 I've been tinkering with the few older sources of written Chatino that I've found. One source is a few pages of Jaime de Angulo's notes from his stay in Oaxaca. The texts are short, the transcription dubious, and the language is a variety of Eastern Chatino I don't know particularly well. Therefore, an … Continue reading Jaime de Angulo’s Chatino Texts: Part 1 – The Tonal

Uhpɨnéʔlu (Cuitlatec) Glottal Stops

The Uhpɨnéʔlu language (ISO 639-3: cuy, Glottocode: cuit1236), more commonly known by the presumably pejorative Nahuatl-derived exonym Cuitlateco, was spoken until the 20th century in Mexico's Guerrero state. It is not especially well attested, but there are some written records of the language. Norman McQuown published a list of vocabulary items in 1941 along with … Continue reading Uhpɨnéʔlu (Cuitlatec) Glottal Stops

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