Xo̱jo̱n ts'e̱ 'én-ná Versión en español

chitate
Mazatec of Eloxochitlán de
Flores Magón, Oaxaca

(ISO code maa)


Listen to a
greeting in Mazatec.

The Mazatec language of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón, Oaxaca, is spoken, along with closely related variants, in a large area of the Sierra Mazateca of northern Oaxaca. Some other towns whose speech is close to that of Eloxochitlán are San Pedro Ocopetatillo, Santa Cruz Acatepec, San Jerónimo Tecóatl, and San Lucas Zoquiapan. The variants spoken in San Francisco Huehuetlán, Santa Ana Ateixtlahuaca, and San Lorenzo Cuanecuiltitla, are related somewhat more distantly. Speakers of all of these have considerable difficulty understanding the prestigious variant spoken in Huautla de Jiménez (mau).


Map: location of Eloxochitlán in Mexico
Map: regional location of Eloxochitlán
Map: Eloxochitlá in the Mazatec area

According to the 2000 INEGI census the population of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón is 4149. More than 96% of the population speak Mazatec. The town has two municipal agencies - San José Buenavista and Aguancha. The name of the town in Mazatec is Nguixó.

The town center of Eloxochitlán
Eloxochitlán is the birthplace of Ricardo Flores Magón, one of the intellectual authors of the Mexican Revolution.

The Mazatec language has a unique and complex sound system. Many words are distinguished only by subtle changes in tone, combinations of consonants which include aspirated and pre-aspirated consonants as well as glottalized consonants. There is also a contrast between nasal and oral vowels


Accurate representation of each of these subtle contrasts is essential for an effective practical orthography .

List of similar words:

chà - people dance
chá - man
chjá - difficult
chja̱ - he speaks
chján - it is cooked
jcha̱à - they will dance
jchá - old
jchán - sober, angry
jcha̱n - orphan
'chá - a load
'chà - you(pl) take
chan - brown
chaán - finally
tse - big
tsje - clean
tsjè - hot
tsje̱ - guaje (tree)
'tse̱ - his
'tse - lazy
jtse - guava
jtsé - sore, boil
jts'é - rotten (corn)
jts'én - sprout
tsjén - honey
tsjèn - left pending (up to the edge)
'tse̱n - violent

One important and ancient craft of Eloxochitlán is the making of chitates, such as the one pictured at the top of this page. This is the only place in the Sierra Mazateca which continues to preserve this artisan skill. Large sized chitates are commonly used by the people to transport products that require care in handling. They are also used for harvesting corn and for draining wet coffee when it is washed. Small sized chitates are used during the coffee harvest and for planting.

Making a chitate
Making chitates
(November, 2004)

--Leonardo Avendaño Bautista, Daniel M. Agee

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