Chichimeca Jonaz language

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Native toMexico
EthnicityChichimeca Jonaz
Native speakers
2,200 (2010 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3pei
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Chichimeca or Chichimeca Jonaz is an indigenous language of Mexico spoken by around 200 Chichimeca Jonaz people in Misión de Chichimecas near San Luis de la Paz in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. The Chichimeca Jonaz language belongs to the Oto-Pamean branch of the Oto-Manguean language family. The Chichimecos self identify as úza and call their language eza'r.


The language is currently spoken only in San Luis de la Paz (Guanajuato), on the rancho of Misión de Chichimecas, which is located on a small town to the east of the town. In 1934, Jacques Soustelle counted 452 chichimecas, 63 of which were children which attended the local school. Prior to that point the language was spoken in five other locations:[3]

  1. Misión Arnedo (Guanajuato) to the east of San Luis, near Villa Victoria.
  2. Misión de las Palmas (Querétaro), along the Etorax river, which arises near Victoria.
  3. Misión de Santa Rosa, to the north of Victoria.
  4. San Pedro Tolimán, where a mission was established in the 18th century, which failed, however, and the chichimecas abandoned the area. It was later repopulated with Otomís.
  5. Villa Colón (Querétaro), to the south of Tolimán.


Chichimeca Jonaz is a tonal language and distinguishes high and low level tones.[4]

Front Back
Close i u
Near-close ɪ
Mid e o
Open æ ɑ

In addition, Chichimeca Jonaz has nasal counterparts of these vowels, which are /ĩ ɪ̃ ũ ẽ õ œ̃ ɑ̃/.[5]

Bilabial Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Velar Glottal
Nasal m n
Stop voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced b d g
Fricative voiceless s ʃ h
voiced z
Affricate voiceless t͡s t͡ʃ
voiced d͡ʒ
Trill r
Approximant l w

There are also fortis-lenis versions of the nasal consonants: m and n.[5]


  1. ^ INALI (2012) México: Lenguas indígenas nacionales
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Chichimeca-Jonaz". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ de Angulo, Jaime (1933). "The Chichimeco language (Central Mexico)". International Journal of American Linguistics. 7 (3/4): 152–194. doi:10.1086/463802. JSTOR 1262948.
  4. ^ Suaréz 1983 p. 51
  5. ^ a b Lastra 1984 p. 23


Suaréz, Jorge A. (1983). The Mesoamerian Indian Languages. Cambridge Languages Surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-22834-4. OCLC 8034800.
Lastra de Suárez, Yolanda (1984). "Chichimeco Jonaz". In Munro S. Edmonson (Volume ed.), with Patricia A. Andrews. Supplement to the Handbook of Middle American Indians, Vol. 2: Linguistics. Victoria Reifler Bricker (General Editor). Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 20–43. ISBN 0-292-77593-8. OCLC 10207920.