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Zapotec LANGUAGE

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Author Topic: Zapotec LANGUAGE  (Read 563 times)
Bianca
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« on: January 23, 2009, 09:31:35 pm »

                                         








                                                        ZAPOTEC LANGUAGE



                                                Guens sa bisui yubtu! - "welcome"

 




Introduction



 The Zapotecan branch is one of the largest in the Oto-Manguean family in terms of the number of speakers. It also has more distinct local variants than any other branch of the Oto-Manguean family. It is composed of two subfamilies: Chatino and Zapotec. Chatino has several variants, all spoken in Oaxaca. Zapotec is a large sub-family, (possibly with as many as forty mutually unintelligible variants), in the states of Oaxaca and Veracruz. Linguists have done research on some, but not all varieties of these languages.

According to Ethnologue, there are 58 varieties of Zapotec spoken in Mexico. The bulk of Zapotec speakers live in the state of Oaxaca, the site of one of the major Mesoamerican civilizations in Pre-Columbian times. These 58 varieties share some basic phonological and structural similarities, there there are also so many differences between/among them, that forty of them are considered to be mutually unintelligible.

There are approximately 423,000 speakers of Zapotec. While most of them are proficient in Spanish, there are still many who speak only their native Zapotec. In some areas, Zapotec is used orally in local administration, commerce, literature, and religious services (e.g., Zapotec Amatlan). In other areas, the language is on the brink of extinction (e.g., Zapotec Asunción Mixtepec). Many people speak more than one variety of Zapotec.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 10:04:25 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2009, 09:39:48 pm »









Grammar



Zapotecan languages are agglutinative, i.e., they add prefixes and suffixes to roots to mark grammatical functions.






Nouns and Pronouns



Nouns and pronouns vary in accordance with the relationship of speaker to object. For instance, nouns and pronouns indicate whether one speaks of, or to, a human, animal, inanimate object or a supernatural being. One can also indicate an intimate or formal, and inclusive or exclusive, relationship with the object by choice of nouns and pronouns. In some cases, gender-specfic forms of speech exist as well.

Zapotec languages distinguish between inalienable (cannot be removed or gotten rid of) and alienable (can be removed or gotten rid of) possession. Possessors follow possessed nouns, e.g., làb "sandal," làb lè "your sandal."






Verbs



Prefixes and suffixes are added to verbs to indicate voice, tense and mood.






Prepositions



Zapotec languages do not have prepositions. Instead, they use nouns denoting body parts to express spatial relations.
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Bianca
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2009, 09:45:03 pm »







                                                              Vocabulary






There are significant differences in vocabulary among the Zapotec languages. As you can see, there are few similarities in the vocabulary of the two texts in the following section.

Take a look at Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in two Zapotec languages.

Do you see any similarities between the two texts?
Which text has borrowings from Spanish?






Zapotec Central Miahuatlán









Zapotec Central Villa Alta



 




Translation


Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 09:48:34 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2009, 09:50:26 pm »









                                                             Writing






 
 The Zapotec script is one of the earliest writing systems in Mesoamerica.

The first examples of Zapotec writing are brief inscriptions found on stone monuments dated between 400 and 200 BC, most of which are found in Monte Alban, a large archeological site in the state of Oaxaca. The Zapotec writing system used a separate glyph to represent each syllable of the language. It is considered to be the basis of other Mesoamerican scripts developed by the Mayas, Mixtecs, and Aztecs. Compared to other these other Mesoamerican scripts, Zapotec is less well understood partly because there are no records of the language on which the script is based, partly because there are few records and the records are very brief. Use of the Zapotecan script eventually declined, and it was replaced by another form of writing in the 10th century AD.

Today, Zapotecan languages are written in the Latin alphabet adapted to represent some of the sounds of the language. It must be kept in mind, that the orthographies were designed by Spanish friars who imposed Spanish orthographic tradition on the Zapotec languages that have many sounds which do not exist in European languages. The Mexican branch of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) has attempted to design an orthography for the Zapotec languages, following general linguistic and orthographic principles. However, linguists encountered difficulties in trying to represent the wide range of sounds found in these languages with one single orthography. Thus, the issue remains unresolved.

Click here to find out more.
 
 The first of its kind: Di'csyonaary X:tee'n Dii'zh Sah Sann Luu'c: San Lucas Quiavini Zapotec Dictionary: Diccionario Zapoteco de San Lucas Quiavini.
Zapotec Dictionary of San Lucas Quiavini, by Pamela Monroe and Felipe Lopez

In 1999, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) published the first dictionary in Zapotec. It includes 9,000 words translated into English and Spanish. It was designed for the 50,000 Oaxaca Indians living in California. The dictionary bears the name of the hometown of the dictionary's main author, Felipe Lopez, a Oaxaca Indian who arrived in California as an undocumented immigrant 25 years ago. He worked in agriculture and then moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a dishwasher until he became a legal resident.

Lopez was inspired to compile the two-volume dictionary because his language had never been written and because it was becoming endangered. The dictionary was prepared with the help of Pamela Munroe, a UCLA linguist, and Guillermo Hernandez, head of the Chicano Studies Center at UCLA.
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Bianca
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2009, 09:52:18 pm »








                                       Zapotec language and culture resources






Zapotec Writing

Ancient Scripts - Zapotec

Tzapotecapan - Zapotec Culture Resources (with video)

Zapotec language (with audio recordings)

Zapotec script

Zapotec (culture notes)

Zapotec word set

Be'ena' Za'a: The Cloud People (with video)



http://www.nvtc.gov/lotw/months/November2005/zapotec.html
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 09:53:27 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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