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Alacatlatzala Mixtec

(ISO code mim)
Embroidered cloth

Alacatlatzala is a town of about 1500 people, in the municipality of Malinaltepec, Guerrero. There are a number of nearby towns where the inhabitants of each of these towns can understand people from the others, but can tell where people are from by the slight variations in their way of speaking Mixtec. These towns are located in the municipalities of Xalpatlahuac, Atlamajalcingo del Monte, Copanatoyac and Tlapa de Comonfort. The Mixtec-speaking inhabitants of those towns number about 20,000 people.

Location of Alacatlatzala in Mexico
Location of Alacatlatzala in Guerrero

The Mixtec people are skilled in many traditional activities, such as working in the corn fields, preparing tortillas and other typical foods, building houses of adobe, weaving palm hats, and more.


grinding salsa
Preparing salsa in a mortar
tortilla
Tortilla puffing up on a comal

The traditional Mixtec culture was historically founded on agriculture, especially the cultivation of corn. Still today, the majority of people in Alacatlatzala work in the fields and raise animals. Nonetheless, many people have left the town to study or work in the city.


Corn field
Corn field
Adobe house under construction
Adobe house under construction

Although the people of Alacatlatzala can readily understand the Mixtec spoken in the areas mentioned above, there are variations in the words and grammatical features among various towns. For example, in Alacatlatzala, they say si̱ta̱ for "tortilla", but in neighboring towns people say xi̱ta̱.


Vista
The town of Alacatlatzala
View of Alacatlatzala
View of Alacatlatzala from a distance

The Mixtecs in this area call their language tu'un savi, which literally means "words of the rain." Since ancient times the Mixtec people were known as the "people of the rain," na savi, and the area in which they lived was called ñuu savi, "town of the rain." The Mixtecs in Alacatlatzala use the words to̱'on sávi̱, na̱ sávi̱ and ñoo sávi̱, respectively.


--Carol Zylstra

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