Documentation of Matlatzinca, an Oto-Manguean language of Mexico

Documentation of Matlatzinca, an Oto-Manguean language of Mexico

Language: Matlatzinca (ISO639-3:mat)
Depositor: Enrique L. Palancar
Location: Mexico
Deposit Id: 0455
ELDP Id: MDP0351
Level: Deposit

Summary of deposit
This project will document Matlatzinca, an endangered Oto-Manguean language of Mexico, spoken in the village of San Francisco Oxtotilpan in the State of Mexico. High-quality videos about a range of different communicative events in the language will be transcribed, translated, and analyzed in ELAN/Toolbox. The project will also produce a book with texts on Matlatzinca folklore and history and a community dictionary on a digital platform with entries reflecting Matlatzinca material culture, toponymy and flora and fauna. Most of the documentation activities will be carried out by members of the community based in San Francisco Oxtotilpan.

Group represented

Language information
Matlatzinca is spoken in Mexico in the village of San Francisco Oxtotilpan, municipality of Temascaltepec in the State of Mexico. The closest language to Matlatzinca is Tlahuica (also known as Ocuiltec or Atzingo Matlatzinca). They are sister languages although mutually unintelligible. They both derive from a common ancestor language once spoken in the 5th c. AD by the different Matlatzinca tribes living in the Toluca Valley of Central Mexico. This valley was known as "Matlatzinco" in Nahuatl, thus the name "Matlatzinca" for both the inhabitants and their language. Matlatzinca and Tlahuica form the Atzincan branch of Otomian, and they are distantly related to Mazahua and the Otomi languages. All such languages belong to the Oto-Pamean branch of the Oto-Manguean phylum of Mesoamerica.

Special characteristics

Deposit contents

This deposit is a corpus of linguistic and cultural data of the Matlatzinca people through many testimonies in the Matlatzinca language. The database will consist of 30 hours of linguistic and cultural manifestations of San Francisco Oxtotilpan. The deposit includes 15 hours of transcribed materials translated into Spanish, and of these, 10 hours are glossed and annotated. The inguistic data contains narrative texts, spontaneous conversations, instructions and other natural uses of the language in cultural context. The deposit also includes samples of the ‘choyata speech’; a special speech used for ceremonial purposes still mastered by a few members of the community. The samples of choyata speech include a version with a careful articulation, annotated and translated, and samples in actual, natural performance. To the audio-visual materials, we have also annotated one hour of a collection of few raw materials dating from the 90's archived in AILLA.

The deposit also includes a book of selected oral narratives on Matlatzinca folklore, mythology and history of San Francisco Oxtotilpan compiled from the database. The book includes an edited version of the texts in both Matlatzinca and Spanish followed by the texts in their natural oral rendition. There is also a glossary and a basic grammar of Matlatzinca.

There is also a small dictionary of Matlatzinca that includes terms for representative items of the material culture of the village, terms for the flora and fauna, and an addendum of toponyms for both natural accidents and settlements. The dictionary was the outcome of community efforts and is intended to serve as material for use in language revitalization workshops.

Deposit history

Other information



Resources yet to be deposited


Enrique L. Palancar
Affiliation: CNRS - Structure et Dynamique des Langues (SeDyL), Paris-Villejuif

Deposit Statistics

Data from 2017 November 20 to 2017 November 20
Deposit hits:1
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Habla sobre la elaboración de un mole tradicional que ella misma ha modificado, también, de la elaboracion de chiles chiplotes y chiles manzanos en vinagre./// Lucía talks about the elaboration of mole that she herself has modified from the traditional recipe. She also talks about the elaboration of chilies in vinegar (chiplotle and ‟chile manzano”)

Recorded on: 2017-06-02