Chuj language

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Chuj
Pronunciation [tʃuːx]
Native to Guatemala, Mexico
Region Northern Huehuetenango, Chiapas
Ethnicity Chuj
Native speakers
43,000  (1991–2000)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 cac
Glottolog chuj1250[2]

Chuj is a Mayan language spoken by around 40,000 members of the Chuj people in Guatemala and around 10,000 members in Mexico. Chuj is a member of the Q'anjob'alan branch along with the languages of Tojolab'al, Q'anjob'al, Akateko, Popti', and Mocho' which, together with the Ch'olan branch, forms the Western branch of the Mayan family. The Chujean branch emerged approximately 2,000 years ago.[3] In Guatemala, Chuj speakers mainly reside in the municipalities of San Mateo Ixtatán, San Sebastián Coatán and Nentón in the Huehuetenango Department. Some communities in Barillas and Ixcán also speak Chuj. The two main dialects of Chuj are the San Mateo Ixtatán dialect and the San Sebastián Coatán dialect.[4]

The Chuj language has been influenced by Spanish, and Chuj speakers have a tendency to borrow Spanish words or code-mix. It is estimated that 70% of the Chuj language is purely Chuj.[5] There are language conservation and revitalization efforts taking place in San Mateo Ixtatán, through groups like the Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala.[6]

Phonology[edit]

Phonemic Inventory[7][edit]

Chuj vowels
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a
Chuj consonants
Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Plain Implosive Plain Ejective Plain Ejective Plain Ejective Plain Ejective Plain Plain
Oral stops p ɓ t k ʔ
Oral stops v
Fricative s ʃ χ
Affricates t͡s t͡s' t͡ʃ t͡ʃʼ
Nasals m n ŋ
Liquids l   r
Glides j

Orthography [8][9][edit]

Orthography IPA Example Translation
a /a/ atz'am salt
b' /ɓ/ b'eyi to walk
ch /t͡ʃ/ chich rabbit
ch' /t͡ʃʼ/ ch'al thread
e /e/ ewi yesterday
i /i/ ix woman
j /χ/ jun one
k /k/ kukay firefly
k' /k'/ k'atzitz firewood
l /l/ lolonel word
m /m/ much bird
n /n/ nun parent
nh /ŋ/ nhab' rain
o /o/ ok' foot
p /p/ pat house
r /r/ retet woodpecker
s /s/ sak white
t /t/ tut beans
t' /t'/ t'oy soft
tz /t͡s/ tzatz hard
tz' /t͡s'/ tz'i' dog
u /u/ unin child
w /v/ winak man
x /ʃ/ xanhap shoe
y /j/ yax green
' /ʔ/ 'onh avocado

The letter 'h' is conventionally used in words with initial vowels to distinguish them from words that begin with a glottal stop.

Grammar[edit]

Verb stem morphology[10][edit]

Below is a template for the verbal stem in Chuj. Verbal predicates in Chuj appear with a status suffix: -a with transitive verbs and –i with intransitive verbs. Finite clauses inflect for Tense-Aspect, person, and number.

Verb structure
Tense/aspect/mood Absolutive marker Ergative marker Verb root Status suffix
tz- ach- in- chel- a'
Imperfective 2nd person sg. absolutive 1st person sg. ergative hug transitive
tzachinchela' 'I am hugging you.'

Non-verbal predicates[edit]

Non-verbal predicates are non-verbal words like adjectives, nouns, positionals, or directionals that act as the main predicate and are semantically stative. These constructions do not inflect for Tense-Aspect, but do inflect for person and number.[11] There is no overt copula in Chuj and copula constructions are expressed through non-verbal predicates.

Chuj: a ix Malin k'ayb'um ix.
Gloss: top/foc CL Maria teacher CL
English: Maria is a teacher.

Chuj: Ay ix hin-nun niwakil ix.
Gloss: top/foc CL my-mother large CL
English: My mother is large.

Person-markers[edit]

Chuj is an ergative-absolutive language. The subject of an intransitive verb and the object of a transitive verb are both cross-referenced with an absolutive marker, which appears in the verbal stem. The subject of a transitive verb is cross-referenced with an ergative marker in the verbal stem.

Person markers [12]
Ergative marker Absolutive marker
Pre-consonantal Pre-vocalic Pre-consonantal/Pre-vocalic
1 Person Sg hin- w- hin-
2 Person Sg ha- h- hach-
3 Person Sg s- y- Ø
1 Person Pl ko- k- honh-
2 Person Pl he- hey- hex-
3 Person Pl s-... heb' y-... heb' heb'

Tense-Aspect[edit]

Chuj has four attested Tense-Aspect markers.[9][12] Finite clauses inflect obligatorily for Tense-Aspect.

Tense-Aspect markers[7]
Marker Meaning
tz- imperfective
ix- perfective
lan progressive
ol- prospective


Nominal classifiers[edit]

Chuj nominal classifiers represent a closed class of approximately a dozen words. They specify gender for humans, and the base material for objects, such as wood (te') for houses and metal (k'en) for knives.

Nominal classifiers [7][9]
Classifier Domain
a' water
anh plant [grow from ground]
atz'am salt
chanh vine
ix female
ixim grain
k'ak cloth
k'en metal
lum earth
nok' animal
te' wood
waj male name
winh male


Chuj nominal classifiers have two main functions: they act as articles for referential nouns, and as pronouns. They have a lexical origin, but have undergone semantic bleaching and may therefore refer to a larger semantic field than the nominals that they are derived from.


Articles for referential nouns

Chuj: Heb‘ winh unin ix-s-lo‘ [te‘ manzan] heb‘ winh.
Gloss: Pl cl.masc child prfv-a3s-eat cl.wood apple pl cl.masc
English: As for the boys, they ate the apple.


Pronouns

Chuj: Ol-s-lo te’ ix.
Gloss: Prosp-b3s-a3s-eat cl.wood cl.fem
English: She (Elsa) will eat it (the apple).


Numbers 1 through 10 in Chuj[edit]

San Mateo Ixtatán / San Sebastián Coatán

  1. Ju'un / Jun[13]
  2. Cha'ab' / Cha'ab'/chab'
  3. Oxe' / Oxe'
  4. Chanhe' / Chanhe'
  5. Hoye' / O'e'
  6. Wake' / Wake'
  7. Huke' / Huke'
  8. Wajxake' / Wajxke'
  9. B'alunhe' / B'alnhe'
  10. Lajunhe' / Lajnhe'

A tongue twister in Chuj from San Sebastián Coatán[edit]

Nok' Xankatat yet' nok'xe'en[14]

Xenhxni xekxni xanhxni hinb'eyi

Xankatak xanhb' wek' a stixalu

Xchi nok' xankat a nok' xe'en,

Xwila xwabi, xelab'a to ojinwekla,

to jinxekla manhx ojinwekla.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Chuj at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Chuj". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Stzolalil Stz'ib'chaj Ti' Chuj, ALMG, 2007, p.34
  4. ^ Robertson, John S. (1992). A history of tense/aspect/mood/voice in the Mayan verbal complex. Austin, Texas: University of Texas press. 
  5. ^ Yumal Skuychaj Ti' Chuj, ALMG, 2006, p.234
  6. ^ "Comunidad Lingüística Chuj -Historia". Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala. Retrieved 2009-01-20. [dead link]
  7. ^ a b c Buenrostro, Cristina (2009). Chuj de San Mateo Ixtatán. Mexico City: El Colegio de México. 
  8. ^ Stzolalil Sloloni-Spaxtini Heb' Chuj, ALMG, 2007, p. 66
  9. ^ a b c Hopkins, Nicholas A. (2012). A dictionary of the Chuj (Mayan) language. Florida: Jaguar Tours. 
  10. ^ Grinevald, Collette; Peake, Marc (2012). Giles Authier; Kathleen Haude, eds. "Ergativity and voice in Mayan: A functional-typological approach". Ergativity, valency, and voice: 15–29. 
  11. ^ Mateo-Toledo, B'alam Eladio. "The finiteness of nonverbal predicates in Q’anjob’al (Maya).". New Perspectives in Mayan Linguistics: 162–168. 
  12. ^ a b Domingo Pascual, Pascual Martín (2007). Gramática normativa Chuj. Guatemala City: ALMG. 
  13. ^ Stzolalil Sloloni-Spaxtini Heb' Chuj, ALMG, 2007, p. 145
  14. ^ Yumal Skuychaj Ti' Chuj, ALMG, 2006, p.197

References[edit]

Buenrostro, Cristina (2009). Chuj de San Mateo Ixtatán. Mexico City: El Colegio de México. 
Domingo Pascual, Pascual Martín (2007). Gramática normativa Chuj. Guatemala City: ALMG. 
Grinevald, Collette; Peake, Marc (2012). Giles Authier; Kathleen Haude, eds. "Ergativity and voice in Mayan: A functional-typological approach". Ergativity, valency, and voice: 15–29. 
Hopkins, Nicholas A. (2012). A dictionary of the Chuj (Mayan) language. Florida: Jaguar Tours. 
Mateo-Toledo, B'alam Eladio. "The finiteness of nonverbal predicates in Q’anjob’al (Maya).". New Perspectives in Mayan Linguistics: 162–168. 
Robertson, John S. (1992). A history of tense/aspect/mood/voice in the Mayan verbal complex. Austin, Texas: University of Texas press. 

External links[edit]