Tol language

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Tol
(Eastern) Jicaque, Jicaque de la Flor
Tolpan
Region Honduras
Ethnicity 19,600 Tolupan (1990)[1]
Native speakers
almost 500 (2012)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 jic
Glottolog toll1241[3]

Tol, also known as Eastern Jicaque, Tolupan, and Torupan, is spoken by approximately 500 Tolupan people in La Montaña de la Flor reservation in Francisco Morazán Department, Honduras. It was also spoken in much of Yoro Department, but only a few speakers were reported in the Yoro Valley in 1974. Native speakers of this language refer to themselves as the Tolpán people but are referred to as Turrupanes or Jicaque by Hondurans who speak Spanish.[4]

There are no distinct dialects that exist but some presume that the language may be distantly related to the Subtiaba language of Nicaragua, Malinaltepec Me’phaa of Mexico, or the Hokan languages.[5] Although the number of native speakers has usually remained lower than one thousand, there are around 250-350 native speakers worldwide currently.[6]

According to sources such as UNESCO and The Endangered Languages Project, the Tol language is considered endangered.[7]

Tol used to be spoken from the Río Ulúa in the west, to modern-day Trujillo in the east, and to the Río Sulaco in the inland south. This area included the areas around modern-day El Progreso, La Ceiba, and possibly also San Pedro Sula. Most Tolupan had fled the Spanish from coastal regions by the early 1800s. The Tol speakers at La Montaña de la Flor fled the Yoro Valley in 1865 to avoid being conscripted into forced labor by the local governor (Campbell & Oltrogge 1980:206, Hagen 1943, Chapman 1978).

Classification[edit]

The classification of this language is Jicaquean.[8] The Jicaquean languages, also known as Tolan, are a small language family in Honduras. There are two Jicaquean languages, Tol language (Eastern Jicaque), and Western Jicaque language. Tol is the only language between the two that has survived.[9]

History[edit]

The Tolpán people were said to have migrated from the North coast due to pressure from colonial power. They are said to have organized into six tribes, with the majority being in San Juan, Intibucá and the minority being in La Ceiba. Most Tolupán had fled the coastal regions by the early 1800s.[10]

Areas where the language used to be spoken include modern-day El Progreso, La Ceiba, and possibly the San Pedro Sula area. The language was also spoken in the Yoro Valley but in 1974 a study conducted found that there were little to no speakers in this area. The Tol speakers that had migrated to la Montaña de la Flor fled the Yoro Valley in 1865 to avoid being recruited into forced labor by the local governor.

Research[edit]

Although there were many figures who conducted some form of research about the Tol language, the key researchers that played enormous roles in collecting most of the data that we know about it include Lyle Campbell,[11][12] David Oltrogge,[13] Dennis Holt, and Steffen Haurholm-Larsen.[14][15]

Geographic Distribution[edit]

The Tol language is spoken only in the country of Honduras and is not considered the official language of any country. Currently the peoples who speak this language live in the Montaña de la Flor reservation in the Francisco Morazán department of Honduras. There are between 250-500 speakers of the language.

There are no distinct dialects of Tol. It may be distantly related to Subtiaba language of Nicaragua, Malinaltepec Me’phaa of Mexico, and the Hokan languages, however.[16]

Grammar[edit]

Constituent Order[edit]

The constituent order of Tol is SOV as the language displays a consistently head final order. This means that verbs follow the subject and the object, prepositions follow the nouns they refer to, and subordinating conjunctions appear at the end of subordinate clauses.[17]

Inflection[edit]

Verbs and nouns are inflected for person, number and, in the case of verbs, tense, using a number of different morpho-syntactic means which often conflate various meanings (polyexponentiality). These means include, prefixing, suffixing and infixing, ablaut and stress shift and the use of independent pronouns. Tense is also expressed by the use of particles. Number is only marked in noun phrases with animate referents.[18] Some examples are given below.

m-wayúm 'my husband' w-y-ayúm 'your husband' woyúm 'her husband' khis wayúm 'our husband' his wayúm 'your husband' his wayúm 'their husband'

naph üsü müʔüs 'I am drinking water' hiph üsü müs 'you are drinking water' huph üsü mü 'he is drinking water' kuph üsü miskhékh 'we are drinking water' nun üsü müskhé 'you are drinking water' yuph üsü miʔün 'they are drinking water'


Most nouns take one of three suffixes:

  • -(sV)s
  • -(V)N
  • -(V)kh

Examples include the following:

  • wa/ wo-sís 'house'
  • sith / sith-ím 'avocado'
  • khan / khon-íkh 'bed'

Furthermore, body parts and kinship terms never take suffixes.

Vocabulary and Phrases[edit]

Phrase English Translation
m-wayúm 'my husband'
m-y-ayúm 'your husband'
woyúm 'her husband'
his wayúm 'your husband'
khis wayúm 'our husband'
hiph üsü müs 'you are drinking water'
huph üsü mü 'he is drinking water'
kuph üsü miskhékh 'we are drinking water'
yuph üsü mi ün 'they are drinking water'

The Threat of Extinction[edit]

Due to the small area where the Tolpán have been confined to over time, the Tol language now faces the possibility of Extinction. This is also due to a lack of documentation and preservation efforts.[19] The Endangered Languages Project, a web-based service, directly combats language disappearance and extinction by providing users with the most recent information and resources regarding a particular language.[20] The service provides information regarding the Tol language along with many other languages in the surrounding regions that also face the possibility of extinction.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tol at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Haurholm-Larsen, Steffen. 2012. ¿A quién le importa? Una encuesta sociolingüística de la lengua tol o jicaque de Honduras. Talk given at 54th Congress of Americanists. Vienna.
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Tol". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ Campbell, Lyle; Oltrogge, David (1980-07-01). "Proto-Tol (Jicaque)". International Journal of American Linguistics. 46 (3): 205–223. ISSN 0020-7071. doi:10.1086/465655. 
  5. ^ "Mesoamerican Indian languages". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  6. ^ "Did you know Tol is endangered?". Endangered Languages. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  7. ^ "Did you know Tol is endangered?". Endangered Languages. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  8. ^ "Did you know Tol is endangered?". Endangered Languages. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  9. ^ Campbell, Lyle; Oltrogge, David (1980-07-01). "Proto-Tol (Jicaque)". International Journal of American Linguistics. 46 (3): 205–223. ISSN 0020-7071. doi:10.1086/465655. 
  10. ^ Haurholm-Larsen. "Steffen" (PDF). 
  11. ^ Campbell, Lyle; Oltrogge, David (1980-07-01). "Proto-Tol (Jicaque)". International Journal of American Linguistics. 46 (3): 205–223. ISSN 0020-7071. doi:10.1086/465655. 
  12. ^ "Mesoamerican Indian languages". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  13. ^ Campbell, Lyle; Oltrogge, David (1980-07-01). "Proto-Tol (Jicaque)". International Journal of American Linguistics. 46 (3): 205–223. ISSN 0020-7071. doi:10.1086/465655. 
  14. ^ Haurholm-Larsen, Steffen. "¿A quién le importa? Una encuesta sociolingüística de la lengua tol (jicaque) de Honduras". 
  15. ^ "Exploring grammatical categories of Tol" (PDF). 
  16. ^ "Tol". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  17. ^ "Exploring grammatical categories of Tol" (PDF). 
  18. ^ Haurholm-Larsen, Steffen. "Exploring grammatical categories of Tol" (PDF). 
  19. ^ "Did you know Tol is endangered?". Endangered Languages. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  20. ^ "Endangered Languages Project". www.endangeredlanguages.com. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  • Campbell, Lyle, and David Oltrogge (1980). "Proto-Tol (Jicaque)." International Journal of American Linguistics, 46:205-223
  • Dennis, Ronald K. (1976). "La lengua tol (jicaque): los sustantivos." Yaxkin 1(3): 2-7.
  • Fleming, Ilah. (1977). "Tol (Jicaque) phonology." International Journal of American Linguistics 43(2): 121-127.
  • Holt, Dennis. (1999). Tol (Jicaque). Languages of the World/Materials 170. Munich: LincomEuropa.

Further reading[edit]