Mocho’ language

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Mocho’
Mototzintlec
Qato'k
Native to Mexico
Region Eastern Chiapas (villages of Tuzatlán and Motozintla)
Native speakers
estimates run from less than 30 (2011)[1] to 106  (2010 census)[2]
Mayan
Language codes
ISO 639-3 mhc
Glottolog moch1257[3]

Mocho’ or Mototzintleco is a language belonging to the western branch of Mayan languages spoken in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Mocho' speakers refer to their own language as qatô:k (spelled "Cotoque" in some older sources), which means 'our language' (Palosaari 2011:4).

Demographics[edit]

Mocho is a moribund language with less than 30 fluent speakers as of 2011 (Palosaari 2011). All speakers are over the age of 70. As of 2009, there are fewer than 5 speakers of Tuzanteco, a closely related language variety.

The two dialects of Mocho' are spoken in two different villages: the Tuzantec dialect in Tuzantán (a town near Huixtla, Chiapas), and the Motozintlec dialect in Motozintla de Mendoza. Historically, the two groups descend from a single population living in the region of Belisario Dominguez about 500 years ago. According to local legend, the split and migration was caused by a plague of bats. Speakers have also been reported in the nearby towns of Tolimán, Buenos Aires, and Campana. Palosaari (2011) describes the Motozintlec dialect.

Phonology[edit]

Unlike most Mayan languages, Mocho' is tonal. Stress is regular and at the last syllable.

  • Short vowels have level or rising pitch.
  • Long vowels have tonal contrast, with falling pitch found only in stressed syllables. Stressed plain long vowels have a rising pitch or a level high pitch.

In Mocho', Proto-Mayan *j [x] and *h [h] have merged to /j/ in Motozintleco, while Tuzanteco preserves this distinction. Tuzanteco, however, has lost vowel length.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Palosaari
  2. ^ INALI (2012) México: Lenguas indígenas nacionales
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Mocho". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  • Kaufman, Terrence. 1967. Preliminary Mocho Vocabulary. Working Paper Number 5, Laboratory for Language-Behavior Research, University of California, Berkeley.
  • Palosaari, Naomi Elizabeth. 2011. Topics in Mocho' phonology and morphology. Ph.D dissertation. The University of Utah.