|ca. 80,000–85,000 (1990–1998)|
Recognised minority language in
|Regulated by||Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala (ALMG)|
Tz'utujil // is a Mayan language spoken by the Tz'utujil people in the region to the south of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. Tz'utujil is closely related to its larger neighbors, Kaqchikel and K'iche'. 60,000–80,000 speak Tz'utujil as their mother tongue. The two Tz'utijil dialects are Eastern Tz'utijil (50,000 speakers in 1998) and Western Tz'utijil (34,000 speakers in 1990).
The majority of the Tz'utujil people have Spanish as their second language, although many of the older people, or those in more remote locations do not. Many children also do not learn Spanish until they go to school around the age of five although more importance is now being placed upon it due to the influx of tourism into the region. As of 2012, the Community Library Rija'tzuul Na'ooj in San Juan La Laguna features story telling for children in Tz'utujil; bilingual children's books are also available. Spanish is used in written communication.
In the charts below each of the Tz'utujil phonemes is represented by the character or set of characters that denote it in the standard orthography developed by the Guatemalan Academy of Mayan Languages (ALMG) and sanctioned by the Guatemalan government. Where different, the corresponding symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet appears in brackets.
Stress is always on the final syllable of native words, except for the adjectival vowel suffix in certain environments.
Tz'utujil has five short and five long vowels.
|i [ɪ]||ii [iː]||close front unrounded vowel|
|e [ɛ]||ee [eː]||mid front unrounded vowel|
|a [ɐ]||aa [aː]||open central unrounded vowel|
|o [ɔ]||oo [oː]||mid back rounded vowel|
|u [ʊ]||uu [uː]||close back rounded vowel|
Ee and oo tend to be more open ([ɛː, ɔː]) before a glottal stop.
Many words allow either a and e, and although many allow a only, there are few which require e, suggesting that /e/ is merging into /a/. A smaller number of words allow either a or o.
|Pulmonic stops/affricates||p [p]||t [t]||tz [ts]||ch [tʃ]||k [k]||q [q]||ʼ [ʔ]|
|Glottalized stops/affricates||bʼ [ɓ]||tʼ [ɗ]||tzʼ [tsʼ]||chʼ [tʃʼ]||kʼ [kʼ]||qʼ [ʛ~qʼ]|
|Fricatives||s [s]||x [ʃ]||j [χ]|
|Nasals||m [m]||n [n]|
|Approximants||w [β~w]||l [l]||y [j]|
The glottalized stop kʼ and affricates chʼ, tzʼ are ejective, while bʼ, tʼ are voiced implosives before vowels, and ejectives ([pʼ], [tʼ]) elsewhere (before consonants and at the ends of words). Q’ may be either ejective or implosive before vowels, ejective elsewhere.
W is [β] before front vowels (i, e) and [w] before non-front vowels (a, o, u).
J is a post-velar [x] in most positions, but [h] before two consonants or a word-final consonant.
At the beginning of a morpheme, there is no distinction between glottal stop and zero: Monosyllabic forms always have a glottal stop, with the exception of a few grammatical forms which never do, and when prefixed the glottal stop is retained. With polysyllabic forms the glottal stop is optional, and when prefixed it is not retained. Usually initial glottal stops are invisible to the morphology, but in some words they are treated as consonants.
Liquids and approximants, r, l, w, y, are devoiced word-finally and before consonants, even before voiced consonants as in elnaq [ɛl̥náqʰ]. The nasals, m, n, are partially devoiced word-finally: they start off voiced, and end up voiceless.
Sample words and phrases
- maltyoox - 'thank-you'
- saqari - 'good morning'
- xqa'j q'iij - good afternoon
- xok aaq'a' - 'good night'
- na'an - 'good-bye'
- jo' - 'let's go!'
- utz aawach - 'how are you?'
- jee' - 'yes'
- mani' or "majon" - 'no'
- Link to introductory Tz'utujil document (PDF)
- Tz’utujil language reference at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
The current figure in Ethnologue is the sum of the figures for the two dialects below.
- Congreso de la República de Guatemala. "Decreto Número 19-2003. Ley de Idiomas Nacionales". Retrieved 2009-12-14.
- The official 2002 census mentions a lower figure of 63,237 Tz'utujil speakers. See "XI Censo Nacional de Población y VI de Habitación (Censo 2002) - Idioma o lengua en que aprendió a hablar". Instituto Nacional de Estadística. 2002. Retrieved 2009-12-14.
- Eastern Tzutujil reference at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
- Western Tzutujil reference at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
- "Library as a Starting Point to Revitalize Tz’utujil Language". Rising Voices. 2012-10-31. Retrieved 2012-11-17.
- Daley 1985
- Daley 1985
- Daley 1985
- Daley 1985
Pérez Mendoza, Francisco; Miguel Hernández Mendoza (1996). Diccionario Tz'utujil. Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala: Proyecto Lingüístico Francisco Marroquín/Cholsamaj.