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
Grant id: MDP0351
Funding body: ELDP
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

Acknowledgement and citation


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

Deposit Statistics

Data from 2018 December 12 to 2018 December 12
Deposit hits:1
Downloaded files
Without statistics

Showing 1 - 10 of 104 Items

Margarita Carranza continues talking about her life.

Recorded on: 2017-05-24

Lucia Salazar tells about the different types of tortillas that were traditionally made in the village.

Recorded on: 2017-06-02

Florina Martínez talks about an anecdote from a swamp, about some traditional games and about the work she did in the field.

Recorded on: 2017-07-08

Josefina Romero and Guadalupe Guzman tell a variety of anecdotes that range from how they used to cook before to whether their children speak and understand the indigenous language. They comment on the need to speak Matlatzinca in various situations that may be alien to the community and that usually involve interacting with strangers.

Recorded on: 2017-06-16

Rafael Hernández asks Luz María Avilés for permission to conduct the interview.

Recorded on: 2017-07-26

Armando Salazar and Rafael Hernández talk about the stealing of the bells from the chruch in San Francisco in 2012.

Recorded on: 2017-05-21

Anselmo García tells how they used to get the different beverages to sell in their store so as to be able to get some money to support themselves.

Recorded on: 2017-11-11

Luz María Avilés talks about how births ook place in the community what type of midwife care there was. She also talks about some traditional remedies for a number of discomforts.

Recorded on: 2017-07-26

Funny recording at the end of the formal recording with Martha Hernández.

Recorded on: 2017-05-26