Tepecano language

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Region Mexico: Jalisco
Extinct 1980–2000
  • Piman (Tepiman)
    • Tepecano
Language codes
ISO 639-3 tep
Glottolog tepe1278[1]

The Tepecano language is an extinct indigenous language of Mexico belonging to the Uto-Aztecan language-family. It was formerly spoken by a small group of people in Azqueltán (earlier Atzqueltlán), Jalisco, a small village on the Río Bolaños in the far northern part of the state, just east of the territory of the Huichol people. Most closely related to Southern Tepehuán of the state of Durango, Tepecano was a Mesoamerican language and evinced many of the traits that define the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area. So far as is known, the last speaker of Tepecano was Lino de la Rosa (born September 22, 1895), who was still living as of February 1980.[2]

Map of Tepecano and neighboring Chichimeca nations during the 16th century

Research on Tepecano was first carried out by the American linguistic anthropologist John Alden Mason in Azqueltán during the period 1911-13. This work led to the publication of a monographic grammatical sketch (1916) as well as an article on native prayers in Tepecano that Mason had collected from informants (1918). Later field-research was conducted by American linguist Dennis Holt in 1965 and 1979–80, but none of his results have so far been published.[3]


Tepecano is an agglutinative language, where words use suffix complexes for a variety of purposes with several morphemes strung together.


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Tepecano". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ Holt 2001: 30
  3. ^ Dennis Holt, personal communication


Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America. Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics, no. 4. William Bright (series general ed.) (OUP paperback [2000] ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509427-1. OCLC 32923907. 
Holt, Dennis (Spring 2001). "Valedictory: Lino de la Rosa" (PDF online facsimile). Ogmios Newsletter (Bath, England: Foundation for Endangered Languages) 2.4 (16): 30. ISSN 1471-0382. OCLC 223025309. 
Mason, J. Alden (June 1916). "Tepecano, a Piman Language of Western Mexico" (digitized reproduction online at Internet Archive). Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (New York: the Academy) 25 (2): 309–416. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1916.tb55171.x. ISSN 0077-8923. OCLC 1946633. 
Mason, J. Alden (May 1918). "Tepecano Prayers" (digitized reproduction online at Wikisource). International Journal of American Linguistics (New York: Douglas C. McMurtrie) 1 (2): 91–153. doi:10.1086/463718. ISSN 0020-7071. OCLC 31838203.