Tzotzil language

Tzotzil language

Infobox Language
nativename=Bats'i k'op
speakers=329,937 (2005 census)
lc1=tzc|ld1=Tzotzil, Chamula|ll1=none
lc2=tzu|ld2=Tzotzil, Huixtán|ll2=none
lc3=tzs|ld3=Tzotzil, San Andrés Larrainzar|ll3=none
lc4=tzz|ld4=Tzotzil, Zinacantán|ll4=none
lc4=tzu|ld4=Tzotzil, Huixtán|ll4=none
lc4=tzo|ld4=Tzotzil, Venustiano Carranza|ll4=none
lc4=tzz|ld4=Tzotzil, Zinacantán|ll4=none

Tzotzil (native name: Bats'i k'op; IPA [ɓats'i k'opʰ] is a Maya language spoken by the indigenous Tzotzil Maya people in the Mexican state of Chiapas. According to an [ I.N.E.G.I.] ("Instituto Nacional de Estadística Geografía e Informática") 2005 census, there are 329,937 speakers of Tzotzil in Mexico, making it the 6th most spoken indigenous language in the country. Most speakers are bilingual in Spanish as a second language. In Central Chiapas, some primary schools and a secondary school are taught in Tzotzil. [ Resumen Gramatical] Tzeltal is the most closely related language to Tzotzil and together they form a Tzeltalan sub-branch of the Mayan language family. Tzeltal, Tzotzil and Ch'ol are the most widely spoken languages in Chiapas.

There are six dialects of Tzotzil with varying degrees of mutual intelligibility, named after the different regions of Chiapas where they are spoken: Chamula, Zinacantán, San Andrés Larráinzar, Huixtán, Ch'enalho', and Venustiano Carranza. [ [ Ethnologue report for Mexico ] ]

"Centro de Lengua, Arte y Literatura Indígena" (CELALI) suggested in 2002 that the name of the language (and the ethnicity) should be spelled Tsotsil, rather than Tzotzil. Native speakers and writers of the language are picking up the habit of using "s" instead of "z". Fact|date=February 2007



Tzotzil has five vowels. o and u can fluctuate between rounded and unrounded.

The prefix listed first is the one used before a root starting with a vowel, the prefix listed second is the one used before a root starting with a consonant. For example, k+ok "kok" "my foot", j+ba "jba" "my face"

The absolute suffix is usually "il" but can also have the form "el", "al", or "ol": "k'ob-ol" "hand (of some unspecified person)" [cite book | last = García de León | title = "op. cit."| year = 1971]


Verbs receive affixes of aspect, tense, pronominal subject and object and formatives of state, voice, mood and number. They can also form compounds in three ways:

*verb+noun "tzob-tak'in" "to raise money"
*verb+verb "mukul-milvan" "to murder"
*attributive+verbo "ch'ul-totin" "to become a godfather" [cite book | last = García de León | title = "op. cit." | year = 1971]


Attributives are words that can function as predicates, but are neither verbs nor nouns. Often they can be translated into English as adjectives. Unlike verbs, they do not inflect for aspect, and unlike nouns, they cannot head a noun phrase or combine with possessive affixes. The composition of attributives occurs in three ways:

*verbal root+noun "ma'-sat" "blind" (negative-eye)

For colors:

*attributive of color+verbal root+formative "-an" "shadow, shade (of color)" "k'an-set'-an" "shade of yellow"
*attributive of color reduplicated+t-ik "type of plural" "tzoj-tzoj-t-ik" < "tzoj" "red" This construction implies intensity in the color. [cite book | last = García de León | title = "op. cit." | year = 1971]


The basic word order of Tzotzil is VOS (verb-object-subject). Subjects and direct objects are not marked for case. The predicate agrees in person, and sometimes in number, with its subject and direct object. Non-emphatic personal pronouns are always left out. [cite book | last = Aissen | year = 1987 | title = "op. cit." ]

Verb agreement

Since the agreement system in Tzotzil is ergative-absolutive, the subject of an intransitive verb and the direct object of a transitive verb are marked by the same set of affixes, while the subject of a transitive is marked with a different set of affixes. For example, compare the affixes in the following sentences:

*l- i- "tal" -otik "We (inclusive) came."
*'i j- "pet" -tik lok'el ti vinik -e "We (inclusive) carried away the man."

In the first sentence, the intransitive verb "tal" ("come") is affixed by -i-...-otik to show that the subject is the 1st person plural inclusive "we," but in the second sentence, since the verb "pet" ("carry") is transitive, it is affixed by j-...-tik to mark the subject as the 1st person plural inclusive "we."

*l- i- s- "pet" -otik "He carried us (inclusive)"

From this sentence we can see that the 1st person plural inclusive object "us" is being marked the same as the 1st person plural inclusive intransitive subject "we" using -i-...-otik. Thus, -i-...-otik is the absolutive marker for 1st person plural inclusive and j-...-tik is the ergative marker for 1st person plural inclusive.

Also from the sentence l- i- s- "pet" -otik "He carried us (inclusive)" it is possible to see the 3rd person ergative marking s-, which contrasts with the 3rd person absolutive marking Ø in the sentence 'i- "tal" "He/she/it/they came." [cite book | last = Aissen | year = 1987 | title = "op. cit." ]


With many nouns, numbers must be compounded to numeral classifiers that correspond to the physical nature of the object being counted. This precedes the noun being counted. For example, in "vak-p'ej na" "six houses" the classifier "-p'ej" "round things, houses, flowers, etc." is compounded to the number "vak" "six" and precedes the noun "na" "house(s)." [cite book | last = Haviland | year = 1981 | title = "op. cit." ]

ample Lexicon

There are also many Spanish loanwords in Tzotzil, such as:
* rominko < "domingo" "Sunday"
* pero < "pero" "but"
* preserente < "presidente" "president"
* bino < "vino" "wine" [cite book | last = Haviland | year = 1981 | title = "op. cit." ] [cite book | last = Laughlin | year=1975 |title="op. cit."]

Dictionaries and grammars

In 1975, the Smithsonian Institution produced a dictionary of Tzotzil, [The work in question is Laughlin (1975); a revised and enlarged edition is Laughlin (1988).] containing some 30,000 Tzotzil-English entries, and half that number of English-Tzotzil entries, the most comprehensive resource on Tzotzil vocabulary to that date. Tzotzil word-lists and grammars date back to the late 19th century, most notably in Otto Stoll's "Zur Ethnographie der Republik Guatemala" (1884). [See Dienhart (1997), [ "Data Sources Listed by Author"] . ]


Tzotzil-language programming is carried by the CDI's radio stations XEVFS, broadcasting from Las Margaritas, Chiapas, and XECOPA, based in Copainalá, Chiapas.



:cite book | author=aut|Aissen, Judith |authorlink=Judith Aissen | title = Tzotzil Clause Structure | publisher = Springer | location = Berlin | year = 1987 | isbn = 9027723656 : cite web |author=aut|Dienhart, John M. |year=1997 |title=The Mayan Languages- A Comparative Vocabulary |format=electronic version |url= |publisher=Odense University |accessdate=2007-08-20:cite book | author=aut|García de León, Antonio |authorlink= Antonio García de León | title = Los elementos del Tzotzil colonial y moderno | publisher = Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México | location = México | year = 1971 es icon: cite book | author=aut|Haviland, John |authorlink=John Haviland| title = Sk'op Sotz'leb: El Tzotzil De San Lorenzo Zinacantan | publisher = Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México | location = México | year = 1981 | isbn = 9685800561 es icon: cite book |author=aut|Laughlin, Robert M. |year=1975 |title=The Great Tzotzil Dictionary of San Lorenzo Zinacantán |series=Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology series, #19 |location=Washington D.C |publisher=Smithsonian Institution Press; U.S. Government Printing Office |oclc=1144739: cite book |author=aut|Laughlin, Robert M. |year=1988 |title=The Great Tzotzil dictionary of Santo Domingo Zinacantán: with grammatical analysis and historical commentary |series=Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology series, #31 |location=Washington D.C |publisher=Smithsonian Institution Press; U.S. Government Printing Office : cite book |author=aut|Stoll, Otto |authorlink=Otto Stoll |year=1884 |title=Zur ethnographie der republik Guatemala |location=Zürich |publisher=Orell Füssli |oclc=785319: cite book |author=aut|Stoll, Otto |authorlink=Otto Stoll |year=2001 |origyear=1886 |title=Guatemala. Reisen und Schilderungen aus den Jahren 1878&ndash;1883 |series=Elibron Classics series |edition=Replica of 1886 edition by F. A. Brockhaus, Leipzig (unabridged) |publisher=Adamant Media Corporation |location=Boston |isbn=1421207664 |oclc=2369330: cite book |author=aut|Vázquez López, Mariano Reynaldo |year=2004 |title=Chano Bats'i K'op: Aprenda Tsotsil |location=Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas |publisher=Centro Estatal de Lenguas, Arte y Literatura Indígenas (CELALI); Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas |edition= ["Learn Tzotzil"] |isbn=9706970975 |oclc=76286101 es icon

External links

* [ Sk'op Sotz'leb, an online grammar, with glossary and pronunciation examples for Zinacantan]
*El Tzotzil Zinacanteco, [ Resumen Gramatical] es icon

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