Misantla Totonac

Misantla Totonac
Misantla Totonac
Spoken in Mexico
Region Veracruz
Native speakers approx. <500
Language family
Totozoque ?
Language codes
ISO 639-3 tlc

Misantla Totonac (Totonac: "Laakanaachiwíin". also, Southeastern Totonac) is an indigenous language of Mexico which is spoken by fewer than 500 indigenous Totonacs in central Veracruz. It belongs to the Totonacan family. Misantla Totonac is highly endangered and most speakers are elderly, and the language is no longer in daily use in the communities where it was spoken earlier. The language was spoken in the area between Misantla and Xalapa in central Veracruz, but no speakers live in either of those localities, the remaining speakers instead being found only in outlying towns and rural areas along the road from Xalapa to Misantla. The only town with a viable speech community is the town of Yecuatla, where 293 speakers were counted in 1990 (MacKay 1999). Other towns with speakers of Misantla Totonac include San Marcos Atexquilapan, Landero y Coss and Chiconquiaco.

In the eighteenth century Zambrano Bonilla published a grammar and Francisco Domínguez published a doctrina (a catechism) of the Totonac language of Naolinco, another town where Misantla Totonac is no longer spoken. Beginning in the 1980s, the American linguist Carolyn MacKay has done fieldwork in Misantla Totonac speaking communities. She has published a grammar (MacKay 1999) and several articles about the language.




Consonants of Misantla Totonac

IPA chart for Consonants of Misantla Totonac
  Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Stops p t   k q ʔ
Fricatives   s ɬ ʃ     h
Affricates   ts    
Approximants w   j      
Nasals m n        
Lateral l        


IPA chart for Vowels of Misantla Totonac
  front central back
  laryngealized plain laryngealized plain laryngealized plain
high ḭː i iː ṵː u uː
low a̰ː a aː



  • MacKay, Carolyn J.; Trechsel, Frank R. (Forthcoming), "Symmetrical Objects in Misantla Totonac", International Journal of American Linguistics 
  • MacKay, Carolyn J.; Trechsel, Frank R. (2003), "Reciprocal /laa-/ in Totonacan", International Journal of American Linguistics 69 (3): 275–306 
  • MacKay, Carolyn J. (1999), A Grammar of Misantla Totonac, Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, ISBN 0874804558 
  • MacKay, Carolyn J. (1994), "Dyadic structure in a Totonac narrative", Investigaciones lingüísticas en mesoamérica: Estudios sobre lenguas americanas, 1, México: UNAM 
  • MacKay, Carolyn J. (1994), "A sketch of Misantla Totonac phonology", International Journal of American Linguistics 60 (4): 199–248 
  • MacKay, Carolyn J. (1992), "Primary Stress in Misantla Totonac", Estudios de Lingüística Aplicada 15/16: 111–128 

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