Highland Oaxaca Chontal

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Highland Oaxaca Chontal
Slijuala xanuk
EthnicityOaxaca Chontal
Native speakers
4,394 (2010 census)[1]
Hokan ?
Language codes
ISO 639-3chd

Highland Oaxaca Chontal, or Chontal de la Sierra de Oaxaca, is one of the Chontal languages of Oaxaca. It is sometimes called Tequistlatec, but is not the same as Tequistlatec proper, which is extinct.



Highland Chontal has a medium-sized inventory of 23 native consonants, along with four borrowed consonants from Spanish /β ð ɾ r/. It distinguishes ejective consonants, including the cross-linguistically unusual ejective labiodental fricative /f'/.

Labial Alveolar Palato(-alveolar) Velar Glottal or placeless
Central Lateral
Stop Plain p t k ʔ
Voiced b d g
Affricate Plain ts
Ejective tsʼ tɬʼ tʃʼ
Fricative Plain f ɬ ʃ x~h
Ejective f'
Voiced (β) (ð)
Nasal m n ɴ̥
Glide j w
Tap (ɾ)
Trill (r)

Turner (1966) transcribes the ejective lateral affricate [tɬʼ] as an ejective fricative /ɬʼ/.[3] It is not clear whether the ejective labiodental fricative // might likewise be a phonetic affricate [p̪fʼ] or similar.

The placeless voiceless nasal /ɴ̥/ assimilates to the place of articulation of the consonant following it, e.g. /ɴ̥t/ > [n̥t]. Thus it has four allophones [m̥ n̥ ɲ̊ ŋ̊]. Its place of articulation before glottal consonants, vowels or pause is unclear, if it occurs in these environments at all.


Highland Chontal has an inventory of five vowels, an arrangement similar to Spanish and many other world languages:

Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

The distinction between /e/ and /a/ is neutralized before /j/.

There is no vowel hiatus (since all syllables begin with a consonant), nor any phonemic diphthongs.


  1. ^ INALI (2012) México: Lenguas indígenas nacionales
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Highland Oaxaca Chontal". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Turner, Paul Raymond (1966). Highland Chontal Grammar. University of Chicago.

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