Z is for … Zapotec

This is the last of a fabulous series of brief, entertaining, informative articles. If you missed any of the 26 languages described by linguist extraordinaire, Lynne Fellows, click on over to Lynne’s blog and catch up what you missed. You’ll thank me!

Just 4 My Books

Blogging from A to Z

Theme: Languages of the World


Zapotec is the name not of a single language, but of a group of 58 languages that, together with related Chatino group, belongs to the Otomanguean linguistic stock. Zapotec is one of the largest families in the Oto-Manguean stock in terms of the number of speakers since the Zapotecs are the third largest indigenous ethnic group in Mexico, after the Nahua and the Mayan people. Zapotec has more varieties than any other member of the Otomanguean linguistic stock with almost as many varieties as there are pueblos in which it is spoken.

There are approximately 450,000 speakers of Zapotec most of whom live in the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Veracruz. While most are proficient in Spanish, there are also many who speak only one or more varieties of their native Zapotec.

Of the 58 varieties of Zapotech listed…

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