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Comparison of the Mixtec spoken
in four towns near Tlaxiaco
Fiigure of ram woven from palm fiber

To the northwest, Magdalena Peñasco borders on San Cristóbal Amoltepec, and to the southeast, it borders on San Agustín Tlacotepec. To the south, San Agustín borders on San Mateo Peñasco. (See the maps on the main page for Mixtec of Magdalena Peñasco.) Each one of these communities has its own customs, its own legends, and its own variant form of the language. Even though they all share many words and grammatical patterns and they can understand each other, there are many important differences. Here is a small sample of words that are different in these four communities.


MEANING MAGDALENA SAN CRISTÓBAL SAN AGUSTÍN SAN MATEO
PRONOUNS        
he (adult) de de te de
it (wooden object) tnu nu tnu nu
I (informal) ri ri rri li
         
OTHER
GRAMMATICAL
MARKERS
       
plural (future) jin ji ku ju
the (article) ma yuun un
future tense
(of some verbs)
ko- ku- ku- ku-
         
NOUNS        
dog la ina ti ina, tina ina ina
skunk lañi'i tiñi'i chi'in sorriyu
sheep ndikachi tikachi tsikachi lanchi
child (offspring) sa'ya se'e sa'a se'e
mouse tniñi leko leko linki
peach nde'ya nde'a ndia'a nde'e
feather tnumi tnuu tnumi tumi
tree morning glory tnu ni'ma tu ti'ma tnu lotsi tu tu'ma
         
VERBS        
count ka'vi ka'vi ka'vi ka'vi
read ka'vi kanuu ka'vi ka'vi
wash ndakate ndakete ndakete ndakete
be baptized kuandute kuandute koso ndute koso ndute
look konde'ya kunde'a kundia'ya kunde'e
         
OTHER WORDS        
thus sukan siukan sukuan sukan
evil u'vi u'u u'u u'u
all ndaka taka taka taka
how naxe nasa naxi nasa, ndexi


Given these variant forms, the sentence, “They are going to read the story about the mouse.” will have the following form in each of these four variants:
  MAGDALENA Jin ka'vi de kuentu tniñi ma.
  SAN CRISTÓBAL Ji kanuu de kuentu leko yuun.
  SAN AGUSTÍN Ku ka'vi te kuentu leko.
  SAN MATEO Ju ka'vi de kuentu linki un.

Barbara E. Hollenbach



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