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Zapotec Language    Zapotec Religion    Zapotec Symbols

Zapotec Language

Pre-Hispanic Zapotec writing was very complicated. While our writing is phonetic and uses letters to make words from combinations of sounds, pre-Hispanic Zapotec writing was partly phonetic (where some glyphs represented sounds) and partly ideographic (where certain glyphs represented ideas). Not surprisingly, many features of ancient Zapaotec writing and symbols remain to be deciphered.

Today, Zapotec is one of eleven languages spoken in Oaxaca. Of the eleven languages spoken, Amuzgo, Chatino, Zapotec, Chinantec, Chocho, Ixcatec, Mazatec, Popoloco, Cuicatec, Mixtec, and Trique, belong to the Otomangue family.

Mixe and Zoque belong to the Mixe-Zoque family. And Chontal, Hahuantl, and Huave represent their own families. The Otomangue languages are tonal; the meaning of a word may depend on the register in which it is pronounced. The languages in the Otomongue family have common roots but are totally different languages and not simply dialects.


A few Zapotec translations:

Good afternoon

Guens sa bisui yubtu
Zac chil
Cayacchilauteu chiru

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