Otomi (/ˌoʊtəˈmiː/; Spanish: Otomí Spanish: [otoˈmi]) is a
group of closely related indigenous languages of Mexico, spoken by
approximately 240,000 indigenous
Otomi people in the central altiplano
region of Mexico. It belongs to the Oto-Pamean branch of the
Oto-Manguean language family. It is a dialect continuum of closely
related languages, because many of the varieties are not mutually
intelligible. The word Hñähñu [hɲɑ̃hɲṹ] has been proposed as
an endonym, but since it represents the usage of a single dialect it
has not gained wide currency. Linguists have classified the modern
dialects into three dialect areas: the Northwestern dialects spoken in
Querétaro, Hidalgo and Guanajuato; the Southwestern dialects spoken
in the State of Mexico; and the Eastern dialects spoken in the
highlands of Veracruz, Puebla, and eastern Hidalgo and in villages in
Like all other Oto-Manguean languages, Otomi is a tonal language and
most varieties distinguish three tones. Nouns are marked only for
possessor; plural number is marked with a definite article and by a
verbal suffix, and some dialects maintain dual number marking. There
is no case marking. Verb morphology can be described as either
fusional or agglutinating depending on the analysis.[cn 1] In verb
inflection, infixation, consonant mutation, and apocope are prominent
processes, and the number of irregular verbs is large. The grammatical
subject in a sentence is cross-referenced by a class of morphemes that
can be analysed as either proclitics or prefixes and which also mark
for tense, aspect and mood. Verbs are inflected for either direct
object or dative object (but not for both simultaneously) by suffixes.
Grammar also distinguishes between inclusive 'we' and exclusive 'we'.
After the Spanish conquest Otomi became a written language when friars
taught the Otomi to write the language using the Latin script; the
written language of the colonial period is often called Classical
Otomi. Several codices and grammars were composed in Classical Otomi.
A negative stereotype of the Otomi promoted by the Nahuas and
perpetuated by the Spanish resulted in a loss of status for the Otomi,
who began to abandon their language in favor of Spanish. The attitude
of the larger world toward the
Otomi language began to change in 2003
when Otomi was granted recognition as a national language under
Mexican law together with 61 other indigenous languages.
2.1 Proto-Otomi period and later precolonial period
2.2 Colonial period and Classical Otomi
2.3 Contemporary status
2.4 Current speaker demography and vitality
3.2 Mutual intelligibility
4.2 Phonological diversity of the modern dialects
4.3 Tone and stress
5.1 Classical Otomi
5.2 Practical orthography for modern dialects
6.1 Pronominal system: Person and Number
6.3.1 Person, number, tense, aspect and mood
6.3.2 Transitivity and stative verbs
6.4.1 Word order
6.4.2 Clause types
7.1 Loan words
11 Further reading
12 External links
Otomi comes from the
Nahuatl word otomitl, which in turn possibly
derived from an older word, totomitl "shooter of birds."  It is an
exonym; the Otomi refer to their language as Hñähñú, Hñähño,
Hñotho, Hñähü, Hñätho, Hyųhų, Yųhmų, Ñųhų, Ñǫthǫ, or
Ñañhų, depending on the dialect.[cn 2] Most of those forms
are composed of two morphemes, meaning "speak" and "well"
The word Otomi entered the Spanish language through
Nahuatl and is
used to describe the larger Otomi macroethnic group and the dialect
continuum. From Spanish, the word Otomi has become entrenched in the
linguistic and anthropological literature. Among linguists, the
suggestion has been made to change the academic designation from Otomi
to Hñähñú, the endonym used by the Otomi of the Mezquital Valley;
however, no common endonym exists for all dialects of the
Proto-Otomi period and later precolonial period
Oto-Pamean languages are thought to have split from the other
Oto-Manguean languages around 3500 BC. Within the Otomian branch,
Proto-Otomi seems to have split from Proto-Mazahua ca. 500 AD. Around
1000 AD, Proto-Otomi began diversifying into the modern Otomi
varieties. Much of central
Mexico was inhabited by speakers of the
Oto-Pamean languages before the arrival of
Nahuatl speakers; beyond
this, the geographical distribution of the ancestral stages of most
modern indigenous languages of Mexico, and their associations with
various civilizations, remain undetermined. It has been proposed that
Proto-Otomi-Mazahua most likely was one of the languages spoken in
Teotihuacan, the greatest Mesoamerican ceremonial center of the
Classic period, the demise of which occurred ca. 600 AD.
Otomi people did not have a fully developed writing
system, but the largely ideographic
Aztec writing could be read in
Otomi as well as Nahuatl. The Otomi often translated names of
places or rulers into Otomi rather than using the
Nahuatl names. For
Nahuatl place name Tenochtitlān, "place of Opuntia
cactus", was rendered as *ʔmpôndo in proto-Otomi, with the same
Colonial period and Classical Otomi
Page written in 16th century Otomi from the
At the time of the Spanish conquest of central Mexico, Otomi had a
much wider distribution than now, with large Otomi speaking areas
existing in the modern states of
Jalisco and Michoacán. After the
Otomi people experienced a period of geographical
expansion as the Spaniards employed Otomi warriors in their
expeditions of conquest into northern Mexico. During and after the
Mixtón rebellion, in which Otomi warriors fought for the Spanish,
Otomis settled areas in
Querétaro (where they founded the city of
Guanajuato which previously had been inhabited by
nomadic Chichimecs. Because Spanish colonial historians such as
Bernardino de Sahagún
Bernardino de Sahagún used primarily Nahua speakers as sources for
their histories of the colony, the Nahuas' negative image of the Otomi
people was perpetuated throughout the colonial period. This tendency
towards devaluing and stigmatizing the Otomi cultural identity
relative to other Indigenous groups gave impetus to the process of
language loss and mestizaje, as many Otomies opted to adopt the
Spanish language and customs in search of social mobility.
"Classical Otomi" is the term used to define the Otomi spoken in the
early centuries of colonial rule. This historical stage of the
language was given Latin orthography and documented by Spanish friars
who learned it in order to proselytize among the Otomi. Text in
Classical Otomi is not readily comprehensible, since the
Spanish-speaking friars failed to differentiate the varied vowel and
consonant phonemes used in Otomi. Friars and monks from the Spanish
mendicant orders such as the Franciscans wrote Otomi grammars, the
earliest of which is that of Friar Pedro de Cárceres's Arte de la
lengua othomí [sic], written perhaps as early as 1580, but not
published until 1907. In 1605, Alonso de Urbano wrote a
trilingual Spanish-Nahuatl-Otomi dictionary, which also included a
small set of grammatical notes about Otomi. The grammarian of Nahuatl,
Horacio Carochi, is known to have written a grammar of Otomi, but no
copies have survived. He is probably the author of an anonymous
dictionary of Otomi (manuscript 1640). In the latter half of the
eighteenth century, an anonymous Jesuit friar wrote the grammar Luces
del Otomi (which is, strictly speaking, not a grammar but a report on
research about Otomi ), and Neve y Molina wrote a dictionary and a
During the colonial period, many Otomis learned to read and write
their language. In consequence, a significant number of documents in
Otomi exist from the period, both secular and religious, the most
well-known of which are the Codices of Huichapan and Jilotepec.[cn 4]
In the late colonial period and after independence, indigenous groups
no longer had separate status. At that time, Otomi lost its status as
a language of education, ending the period of
Classical Otomi as a
literary language. This led to a period of declining numbers of
speakers of indigenous languages as Indigenous groups throughout
Mexico adopted the Spanish language and Mestizo cultural identities.
Coupled with a policy of castellanización this led to a rapid decline
of speakers of all indigenous languages including Otomi during the
early 20th century.
Speakers of Otomi over 5 years of age in the ten Mexican states with
most speakers (2005 census) 
Rest of Mexico
During the 1990s, however, the Mexican government made a reversal in
policies towards indigenous and linguistic rights, prompted by the
1996 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights[cn 6]
and domestic social and political agitation by various groups such as
social and political agitation by the
EZLN and indigenous social
movements. Decentralized government agencies were created and charged
with promoting and protecting indigenous communities and languages;
these include the National Commission for the Development of
Indigenous Peoples (CDI) and the National Institute of Indigenous
Languages (INALI). In particular, the federal Ley General de
Derechos Lingüísticos de los Pueblos Indígenas ("General Law on the
Language Rights of the Indigenous Peoples"), promulgated on 13 March
2003, recognizes all of Mexico's indigenous languages, including
Otomi, as "national languages", and gave indigenous people the right
to speak them in every sphere of public and private life.
Current speaker demography and vitality
Currently, Otomi dialects are spoken by circa 239,000 speakers—some
5 to 6 percent of whom are monolingual—in widely scattered districts
(see map). The highest concentration of speakers is found in the
Valle de Mezquital region of Hidalgo and in the southern portion of
Querétaro, where some municipalities have concentrations of Otomi
speakers as high as 60–70%. Because of recent migratory
patterns, small populations of Otomi speakers can be found in new
Mexico and in the United States. In the second
half of the 20th century speaker populations began to increase again,
although at a slower pace than the general population, so that while
absolute numbers of Otomi speakers continue to increase, their numbers
relative to the rest of the Mexican population are falling.
Although Otomi is vigorous in some areas, with children acquiring the
language through natural transmission (e.g. in the Mezquital valley
and in the Highlands), overall it is an endangered language. Three
dialects in particular have reached moribund status: those of Ixtenco
Tlaxcala state), Santiago Tilapa (
Mexico state), and Cruz del Palmar
Guanajuato state). On the other hand, the level of monolingualism
in Otomi is as high as 22.3% in Huehuetla, Hidalgo, and 13.1% in
Texcatepec, Veracruz). Monolingualism is normally significantly higher
among women than among men. Due to the politics from the 1920s to
the 1980s that encouraged the "Hispanification" of indigenous
communities and made Spanish the only language used in schools, no
group of Otomi speakers today has general literacy in Otomi, while
their literacy rate in Spanish remains far below the national
Main article: Oto-Manguean languages
Otomi-speaking areas in Mexico.
Otomi language belongs to the Oto-Pamean branch of the
Oto-Manguean languages. Within Oto-Pamean it is part of the Otomian
subgroup which also includes Mazahua.
Otomi has traditionally been described as a single language, although
its many dialects are not all mutually intelligible. SIL
Ethnologue considers there to be nine separate Otomi
languages, based on needs for literature and the degree of mutual
intelligibility between varieties, and it assigns an ISO code to each
of these nine. INALI, the Mexican National Institute of Indigenous
Languages, avoids the problem of assigning dialect or language status
to Otomian varieties by defining "Otomi" as a "linguistic group" with
nine different "linguistic varieties",[cn 8] but for official purposes
each variety is considered a separate language. Other linguists,
however, consider Otomi to be a dialect continuum that is clearly
demarcated from its closest relative, Mazahua. For the purposes of
this article, the latter approach will be followed.
Dialectologists tend to group the languages into three main groups
that reflect historical relationships among the dialects: Northwestern
Otomi spoken in the
Mezquital Valley and surrounding areas of Hidalgo,
Queretaro and Northern
Mexico State, Southwestern Otomi spoken in the
valley of Toluca, and Eastern Otomi spoken in the Highlands of
Veracruz and Hidalgo, in
Tlaxcala and in two towns in
Toluca Valley, San Jerónimo Acazulco and Santiago Tilapa. The
Northwestern varieties are characterized by an innovative phonology
and grammar, whereas the Eastern varieties are more
The assignment of dialects to the three groups is as follows:[cn 9]
The Eastern group, including all dialects spoken east of the Valle del
Mezquital in the center of the State of Hidalgo plus two village
dialects from the State of Mexico; specifically: the Highland dialects
(the Ethnologue's Highland Otomi,
Texcatepec Otomi, and Tenango
Otomi), Otomi of Santa Ana Hueytlalpan, as well as three dialects
geographically distant from the preceding: the dialects of Tilapa and
Acazulco in the state of Mexico, and finally the dialect of Ixtenco
The Northwestern area, comprising the dialects of Mezquital,
Querétaro, and Guanajuato.
The Southwestern group, including the so called State of Mexico
dialect, Otomi of Chapa de Mota, Otomi of Jilotepec,
Toluca Otomi, and
Otomi of San Felipe los Alzatí, Michoacán. (In point of fact, all
the foregoing, except of course for Alzatí, are spoken in the
northern half of western lobe of the State of Mexico.)
Approximate number of speakers of all varieties of Otomí: ~212,000
Number of speakers
Highland Otomi language
Hidalgo, Puebla, Veracruz
Hidalgo Mezquital Valley, and 100 in North Carolina, 230 in Oklahoma
and 270 in
Texas United States
Otomi del Estado de Mexico
N México (state): San Felipe Santiago
Hñatho, Hñotho 
Otomi de Tlaxcala
Tlaxcala: San Juan Bautista Ixtenco
Otomi de Texcatepec
Northwestern Veracruz: Texcatepec, Ayotuxtla, Zontecomatlán
Municipio: Hueytepec, Amajac, Tzicatlán.
Otomí de Queretaro
Querétaro: Amealco Municipio: towns of San Ildefonso, Santiago
Mexquititlán; Acambay Municipio; Tolimán Municipio. Also small
numbers in Guanajuato.
Hñohño, Ñañhų, Hñąñho, Ñǫthǫ 
Otomi de Tenango
Hidalgo, Puebla: San Nicolás Tenango
Otomí de Tilapa
Santiago Tilapa town between D.F. and Toluca, State of México
Temoaya Municipio, State of México
Egland & Bartholomew
Tolimán (less Tecozautla)
Querétaro (incl. Mexquititlán)
Anaya (+ Zozea, Tecozautla)
(N: San Felipe) State of Mexico; (S: Jiquipilco) Temoaya
San Antonio – San Gregorio
Egland, Bartholomew & Cruz Ramos (1983) conducted mutual
intelligibility tests in which they concluded that eight varieties of
Otomi could be considered separate languages in regards to mutual
intelligibility, with 80% intelligibility being needed for varieties
to be considered part of the same language. They concluded that
Texcatepec, Eastern Highland Otomi, and Tenango may be considered the
same language at a lower threshold of 70% intelligibility. Ethnologue
finds a similar lower level of 70% intelligibility between Querétaro,
Mexico State Otomi. The
Ethnologue Temaoya Otomi is
split off from
Mexico State Otomi, and introduce
Tilapa Otomi as a
separate language; while Egland's poorly tested Zozea Otomi is
subsumed under Anaya/Mezquital.
The following phonological description is that of the dialect of San
Ildefonso Tultepec, Querétaro, similar to the system found in the
Valle del Mezquital variety, which is the most widely spoken Otomian
The phoneme inventory of the Proto-
Otomi language from which all
modern varieties have descended has been reconstructed as /p t k (kʷ)
ʔ b d ɡ t͡s ʃ h z m n w j/, the oral vowels /i ɨ u e ø o ɛ a
ɔ/, and the nasal vowels /ĩ ũ ẽ ɑ̃/.
Phonological diversity of the modern dialects
Modern dialects have undergone various changes from the common
historic phonemic inventory. Most have voiced the reconstructed
Proto-Otomian voiceless nonaspirate stops /p t k/ and now have only
the voiced series /b d ɡ/. The only dialects to retain all the
original voiceless nonaspirate stops are Otomi of Tilapa and Acazulco
and the eastern dialect of San Pablito Pahuatlan in the Sierra Norte
de Puebla, and Otomi of Santa Ana Hueytlalpan. A voiceless
aspirate stop series /pʰ tʰ kʰ/, derived from earlier clusters of
stop + [h], occurs in most dialects, but it has turned into the
fricatives /ɸ θ x/ in most Western dialects. Some dialects have
innovated a palatal nasal /ɲ/ from earlier sequences of *j and a
nasal vowel. In several dialects, the Proto-Otomi clusters *ʔm
and *ʔn before oral vowels have become /ʔb/ and /ʔd/,
respectively. In most dialects *n has become /ɾ/, as in the
singular determiner and the second person possessive marker. The only
dialects to preserve /n/ in these words are the Eastern dialects, and
in Tilapa these instances of *n have become /d/.
The tone system of Mezquital Otomi; most other dialects have similar
Many dialects have merged the vowels *ɔ and *a into /a/ as in
Mezquital Otomi, whereas others such as
Ixtenco Otomi have merged *ɔ
with *o. The different dialects have between three and five nasal
vowels. In addition to the four nasal vowels of proto-Otomi, some
dialects have /õ/.
Ixtenco Otomi has only /ẽ ũ ɑ̃/, whereas
Toluca Otomi has /ĩ ũ ɑ̃/. In the Otomi of Cruz del Palmar,
Guanjuato, the nasal vowels are /ĩ ũ õ/, the former *ɑ̃ having
changed to /õ/.[cn 11] Modern Otomi has borrowed many words from
Spanish, in addition to new phonemes that occur only in loan words,
such as /l/ that appears in some Otomi dialects instead of the Spanish
trilled [r], and /s/, which is not present in native Otomi vocabulary
Tone and stress
All Otomi languages are tonal, and most varieties have three tones,
high, low and rising.[cn 12] One variety of the Sierra dialect,
that of San Gregorio, has been analyzed as having a fourth, falling
tone. In Mezquital Otomi, suffixes are never specified for
tone, while in Tenango Otomi, the only syllables not specified for
tone are prepause syllables and the last syllable of polysyllabic
Stress in Otomi is not phonemic but rather falls predictably on every
other syllable, with the first syllable of a root always being
Sign written in Otomi and Spanish in the Mezquital Valley.
In this article, the orthography of Lastra (various, including 1996,
2006) is employed which marks syllabic tone. The low tone is unmarked
(a), the high level tone is marked with the acute accent (á), and the
rising tone with the caron (ǎ). Nasal vowels are marked with a
rightward curving hook (ogonek) at the bottom of the vowel letter: į,
ę, ą, ų. The letter c denotes [t͡s], y denotes [j], the palatal
sibilant [ʃ] is written with the letter š, and the palatal nasal
[ɲ] is written ñ. The remaining symbols are from the IPA with their
Colonial documents in
Classical Otomi do not generally capture all the
phonological contrasts of the Otomi language. Since the friars who
alphabetized the Otomi populations were Spanish speakers, it was
difficult for them to perceive contrasts that were present in Otomi
but absent in Spanish, such as nasalisation, tone, the large vowel
inventory as well as aspirated and glottal consonants. Even when they
recognized that there were additional phonemic contrasts in Otomi they
often had difficulties choosing how to transcribe them and with doing
so consistently. No colonial documents include information on tone.
The existence of nasalization is noted by Cárceres, but he does not
transcribe it. Cárceres used the letter æ for the low central
unrounded vowel [ʌ] and æ with cedille for the high central
unrounded vowel ɨ. He also transcribed glottalized consonants as
geminates e.g. ttz for [t͡sʔ]. Cárceres used grave-accented
vowels è and ò for [ɛ] and [ɔ]. In the 18th century Neve y Molina
used vowels with macron ē and ō for these two vowels and invented
extra letters (an e with a tail and a hook and an u with a tail) to
represent the central vowels.
Practical orthography for modern dialects
Orthographies used to write modern Otomi have been a focus of
controversy among field linguists for many years. Particularly
contentious is the issue of whether or not to mark tone, and how, in
orthographies to be used by native speakers. Many practical
orthographies used by Otomi speakers do not include tone marking.
Bartholomew has been a leading advocate for the marking of tone,
arguing that because tone is an integrated element of the language's
grammatical and lexical systems, the failure to indicate it would lead
to ambiguity. Bernard (1980) on the other hand, has argued that native
speakers prefer a toneless orthography because they can almost always
disambiguate using context, and because they are often unaware of the
significance of tone in their language, and consequently have
difficulty learning to apply the tone diacritics correctly. For
Mezquital Otomi, Bernard accordingly created an orthography in which
tone was indicated only when necessary to disambiguate between two
words and in which the only symbols used were those available on a
standard Spanish language typewriter (employing for example the letter
c for [ɔ], v for [ʌ], and the symbol + for [ɨ]). Bernard's
orthography has not been influential and in used only in the works
published by himself and the Otomi author Jesus Salinas
Practical orthographies used to promote Otomi literacy have been
designed and published by the Instituto Lingüístico de Verano[cn 13]
and later by the national institute for indigenous languages (INALI).
Generally they use diareses ë and ö to distinguish the low mid
vowels [ɛ] and [ɔ] from the high mid vowels e and o. High central
vowel [ɨ] is generally written ʉ or u̱, and front mid rounded vowel
[ø] is written ø or o̱. Letter a with trema, ä, is sometimes used
for both the nasal vowel [ã] and the low back unrounded vowel [ʌ].
Glottalized consonants are written with apostrophe (e.g. tz' for
[t͡sʔ]) and palatal sibilant [ʃ] is written with x. This
orthography has been adopted as official by the Otomi Language Academy
centered in Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo and is used on road signs in the
Mezquital region and in publications in the Mezquital variety, such as
the large 2004 SIL dictionary published by Hernández Cruz, Victoria
Torquemada & Sinclair Crawford (2004). A slightly modified version
is used by Enrique Palancar in his grammar of the San Ildefonso
Main article: Otomi grammar
The morphosyntactic typology of Otomi displays a mixture of synthetic
and analytic structures. The phrase level morphology is synthetic, and
the sentence level is analytic. Simultaneously, the language is
head-marking in terms of its verbal morphology, and its nominal
morphology is more analytic.
According to the most common analysis, Otomi has two kinds of bound
morphemes, proclitics and affixes. Proclitics differ from affixes
mainly in their phonological characteristics; they are marked for tone
and block nasal harmony.  Some authors consider proclitics to be
better analyzed as prefixes. The standard orthography writes
proclitics as separate words, whereas affixes are written joined to
their host root. Most affixes are suffixes and with few exceptions
occur only on verbs, whereas the proclitics occur both in nominal and
verbal paradigms. Proclitics mark the categories of definiteness and
number, person, negation, tense and aspect - often fused in a single
Suffixes mark direct and indirect objects as well as
clusivity (the distinction between inclusive and exclusive "we"),
number, location and affective emphasis. Historically, as in other
Oto-Manguean languages, the basic word order is Verb Subject Object,
but some dialects tend towards
Subject Verb Object word order,
probably under the influence of Spanish. Possessive constructions
use the order possessed-possessor, but modificational constructions
use modifier-head order.
From the variety of Santiago Mexquititlan, Queretaro, here is an
example of a complex verb phrase with four suffixes and a proclitic:
"He/she looks for us only (around) here"
The initial proclitic bi marks the present tense and the third person
singular, the verb root hon means "to look for", the -ga- suffix marks
a first person object, the -wi- suffix marks dual number, and tho
marks the sense of "only" or "just" whereas the -wa- suffix marks the
locative sense of "here".
Pronominal system: Person and Number
Originally, all dialects distinguished singular, dual and plural
numbers, but some of the more innovative dialects, such as those of
Querétaro and of the Mezquital area, distinguish only singular and
plural numbers, sometimes using the previous dual forms as a paucal
number. The Ixtenco dialect distinguishes singular, plural, and
mass plural numbers. The personal prefixes distinguish four
persons, making for a total of eleven categories of grammatical person
in most dialects. The grammatical number of nouns is indicated by
the use of articles; the nouns themselves are unmarked for number.
In most dialects, the pronominal system distinguishes four persons
(first person inclusive and exclusive, second person and third person)
and three numbers (singular, dual and plural). The system below is
1st person Incl.
nugóbé 'you and I'
nugóhé 'I and you guys'
1st Person Excl.
nugówí 'we two (not you)'
nugóhɨ́ 'We all (not you)'
nukʔígéwí 'you two'
nukʔígégɨ́ 'you guys'
nugégéwí 'the two of them'
The following atypical pronominal system from
Tilapa Otomi lacks the
inclusive/exclusive distinction in the first person plural and the
dual/plural distinction in the second person.
1st person Excl.
nyugambe 'we two (not you)'
nyugahɨ́ 'we all (both incl and excl.)'
1st Person Incl.
nugawi 'you and I'
nyukʔewi 'you two'
nyukʔehɨ́ 'you guys'
nyuyí 'they' (both dual and plural)
Otomi nouns are marked only for their possessor; plurality is
expressed via pronouns and articles. There is no case marking. The
particular pattern of possessive inflection is a widespread trait in
the Mesoamerican linguistic area: there is a prefix agreeing in person
with the possessor, and if the possessor is plural or dual, then the
noun is also marked with a suffix that agrees in number with the
possessor. Demonstrated below is the inflectional paradigm for the
word ngų́ "house" in the dialect of Toluca.
1st person Excl.
mą-ngų́-bé 'our house (me and him/her)'
mą-ngų́-hé 'our house (me and them)'
1st Person Incl.
mą-ngų́ 'my house'
mą-ngų́-wí 'our house (me and you)'
mą-ngų́-hɨ́ 'our house (me and you and them)'
ri-ngų́ 'your house'
ri-ngų́-wí 'the house of the two of you'
ri-ngų́-hɨ́ 'the house of you guys'
rʌ-ngų́ 'her/his/its house'
yʌ-ngų́-wí 'the house of the two of them'
yʌ-ngų́-hɨ́ 'their house'
Definite articles preceding the noun are used to express plurality in
nominal elements, since the nouns themselves are invariant for
grammatical number. Most dialects have rʌ 'the (singular)' and yʌ
'the (dual/plural)'. Example noun phrases:
rʌ ngų́ 'the house'
yʌ yóho ngų́ 'the two houses'
yʌ ngų́ 'the houses'
Classical Otomi, as described by Cárceres, distinguished neutral,
honorific, and pejorative definite articles: ąn, neutral singular; o,
honorific singular; nø̌, pejorative singular; e, neutral and
honorific plural; and yo, pejorative plural.
ąn ngų́ 'the house'
o ngų́ 'the honored house'
nø̌ ngų́ 'the damn house'
Verb morphology is synthetic and has elements of both fusion and
Verb stems are inflected through a number of different processes: the
initial consonant of the verb root changes according to a
morphophonemic pattern of consonant mutations to mark present vs.
non-present, and active vs. passive. Verbal roots may take a
formative syllable or not depending on syntactic and prosodic
factors. A nasal prefix may be added to the root to express
reciprocality or middle voice. Some dialects, notably the eastern
ones, have a system of verb classes that take different series of
prefixes. These conjugational categories have been lost in the Western
dialects, although they existed in the Western areas in the colonial
period as can be seen from Cárceres's grammar.
Verbs are inflected for either direct object or indirect object (but
not for both simultaneously) by suffixes. The categories of person of
subject, tense, aspect, and mood are marked simultaneously with a
formative which is either a verbal prefix or a proclitic depending on
analysis. These proclitics can also precede nonverbal
predicates. The dialects of
Toluca and Ixtenco distinguish the
present, preterit, perfect, imperfect, future, pluperfect,
continuative, imperative, and two subjunctives.
Mezquital Otomi has
additional moods. On transitive verbs, the person of the object is
marked by a suffix. If either subject or object is dual or plural, it
is shown with a plural suffix following the object suffix. So the
structure of the Otomi verb is as follows:
Person of Subject/TAM (proclitic)
Prefixes (e.g. voice, adverbial modification)
1st person emphatic suffix
Person, number, tense, aspect and mood
The present tense prefixes are di- (1st person), gi- (2nd person), i-
1st person Excl.
di-nú-bé 'we see (me and him/her)'
di-nú-hé 'we see (me and them)'
1st Person Incl.
di-nú 'I see'
di-nú-wí 'we see (me and you)'
mdi-nú-hɨ́ 'we see (me and you and them)'
gi-nú 'you see'
gi-nú-wí 'you two see'
gi-nú-hɨ́ 'you guys see'
i-nú 'she/he/it sees'
i-nú-wí 'the two of them see'
i-nú-hɨ́ 'they see'
The Preterite is marked by the prefixes do-, ɡo-, and bi-, the
Perfect by to-, ko-, ʃi-, the
Imperfect bydimá, ɡimá, mi, the
Future by ɡo-, ɡi-, and da-, and the
Pluperfect by tamą-, kimą-,
kamą-. All tenses use the same suffixes as the
Present tense for dual
and plural numbers and clusivity. The difference between Preterite and
Imperfect is similar to the distinction between the Spanish Preterite
habló 'he spoke (punctual)' and the Spanish
Imperfect hablaba 'he
spoke/he used to speak/he was speaking (non-punctual)'.
Toluca Otomi, the semantic difference between the two subjunctive
forms (A and B) has not yet been clearly understood in the linguistic
literature. Sometimes subjunctive B implicates that is more recent in
time than subjunctive A. Both indicate something counterfactual. In
other Otomi dialects, such as Otomi of Ixtenco Tlaxcala, the
distinction between the two forms is one of subjunctive as opposed to
irrealis. The Past and Present Progressive are similar in
meaning to English 'was' and 'is X-ing', respectively. The Imperative
is used for issuing direct orders.
Verbs expressing movement towards the speaker such as ʔįhį 'come'
use a different set of prefixes for marking person/TAM. These prefixes
can also be used with other verbs to express 'to do something while
coming this way'. In
Toluca Otomi mba- is the third person singular
Imperfect prefix for movement verbs.
mba-tųhų 'he came singing'
When using nouns predicatively, the subject prefixes are simply added
to the noun root:
drʌ-mǒkhá 'I am a priest'
Transitivity and stative verbs
Transitive verbs are inflected for agreement with their objects by
means of suffixes, while using the same subject prefixes as the
intransitive verbs to agree with their agents. However, in all
dialects a few intransitive verbs take the object suffix instead of
the subject prefix. Often such intransitive verbs are stative, i.e.
describing a state, which has prompted the interpretation that
morphosyntactic alignment in Otomi is split between active–stative
and accusative systems.
Toluca Otomi the object suffixes are -gí (first person), -kʔí
(second person) and -bi (third person), but the vowel /i/ may
harmonize to /e/ when suffixed to a root containing /e/. The first
person suffix is realized as -kí after sibilants and after certain
verb roots, and as -hkí when used with certain other verbs. The
second person object suffix may sometimes metathesise to -ʔkí. The
third person suffix also has the allomorphs -hpí/-hpé, -pí, -bí as
well as a zero morpheme in certain contexts.
1st person object
2nd person object
3rd person object
bi-ñús-kí 'he wrote me'
bi-ñús-kʔí 'he wrote you'
bi-kré-bi 'he believed it'
bi-nú-gí 'he saw me'
bi-nú-kʔí 'he saw you'
bi-hkwáhti-bí 'she/he hit him/her'
Object number (dual or plural) is marked by the same suffixes that are
used for the subject, which can lead to ambiguity about the respective
numbers of subject and object. With object suffixes of the first or
second person, the verbal root sometimes changes, often by the
deletion of the final vowel. For example:
bi-ñaš-kʔí-wí 'the two of them cut your hair' or
'he cut the hair of the two of you'
bi-ñaš-kí-hɨ́ 'they cut my hair' or 'he cut our hair'
A word class that refers to properties or states has been described
either as adjectives or as stative verbs. The members of
this class ascribe a property to an entity, e.g. "the man is tall",
"the house is old". Within this class some roots use the normal
subject/T/A/M prefixes, while others always use the object suffixes to
encode the person of the patient/subject. The fact that roots in the
latter group encode the patient/subject of the predicate using the
same suffixes as transitive verbs use to encode the patient/object has
been interpreted as a trait of Split intransitivity, and is
apparent in all Otomi dialects; but which specific stative verbs take
the object prefixes and the number of prefixes they take varies
between dialects. In
Toluca Otomi, most stative verbs are conjugated
using a set of suffixes similar to the object/patient suffixes and a
third person subject prefix, while only a few use the Present
Continuative subject prefixes. The following are examples of the two
kinds of stative verb conjugation in
with patient/object suffix
with subject/agent prefix
rʌ-nǒ-hkʔí 'I am fat'
drʌ-dǒtʔî 'I am short'
Otomi has the nominative–accusative alignment, but by one analysis
there are traces of an emergent active–stative alignment.
Some dialects have SVO as the most frequent word order, for example
Otomi of Toluca and of San Ildefonso, Querétaro, while VSO
word order is basic to other dialects such as Mezquital Otomi.
Proto-Otomi is also thought to have had VSO order as verb-initial
order is the most frequent basic word order in other Oto-Manguean
languages. It has been suggested that some Otomi dialects are shifting
from a verb-initial to a subject-initial basic word order under the
influence of Spanish.
Lastra (1997:49–69) describes the clause types in Ixtenco Otomi. The
four basic clause types are indicative, negative, interrogative and
imperative. These four types can either be simple, conjunct or complex
(with a subordinate clause). Predicative clauses can be verbal or
non-verbal. Non-verbal predicative clauses are usually equational or
ascriptive (with the meaning 'X is Y'). In a non-vebal predicative
clause the subject precedes the predicate, except in focus
constructions where the order is reversed. The negation particle
precedes the predicate.
ni-ngú ndɨ^té 'your house is big'
thɛ̌ngɨ ʔnį́ 'its red, the pepper' (focus)
Equational clauses can also be complex:
títa habɨ ditá yɨ khą́ ʔí 'the sweat house is where people
sweathouse where bathe the people
Clauses with a verb can be intransitive or transitive. In Ixtenco
Otomi, if a transitive verb has two arguments represented as free noun
phrases, the subject usually precedes the verb and the object follows
ngé rʌ ñôhɨ šʌ-hió rʌ ʔyo "the man killed the dog"
so the man killed the dog
This order is also the norm in clauses where only one constituent is
expressed as a free noun phrase. In
Ixtenco Otomi verb-final word
order is used to express focus on the object, and verb-initial word
order is used to put focus on the predicate.
ngɨ^bo di-pho-mi ma-ʔya-wi "our brains, we have them in our heads"
(focus on object)
brains we-have-them our-heads-plural
Subordinate clauses usually begin with one of the subordinators such
as khandi 'in order to', habɨ 'where', khati 'even though', mba
'when', ngege 'because'. Frequently the future tense is used in these
subordinate clause. Relative clauses are normally expressed by simple
juxtaposition without any relative pronoun. Different negation
particles are used for the verbs "to have", "to be (in a place)" and
for imperative clauses.
hingi pá che ngege po na chú "(s)he doesn't go alone because (s)he's
Interrogative clauses are usually expressed by intonation, but there
is also a question particle ši. Content questions use an
interrogative pronoun before the predicate.
té bi-khá-nɨ́ what's that?'
Like all other languages of the Mesoamerican linguistic area, Otomi
has a vigesimal number system. The following numerals are from
Classical Otomi as described by Cárceres. The e prefixed to all
numerals except one is the plural nominal determiner (the a associated
with -nʔda being the singular determiner).
11 eʔdɛta ma ʔda
There are also considerable lexical differences between the Otomi
dialects. Often terms will be shared between the eastern and
southwestern dialects, while the northwestern dialects tend toward
more innovative forms.[cn 14]
Otomi languages have borrowed words from both Spanish and Nahuatl. The
phonological structure of loanwords is assimilated to Otomi phonology.
Since Otomi lacks the trill /r/, this sound is normally altered to
[l], as in lódá from Spanish ruda 'rue (medicinal herb)', while
Spanish /l/ can be borrowed as the tap /ɾ/ as in baromaʃi 'dove'
from Spanish 'paloma'. The Spanish voiceless stops /p, t, k/ are
usually borrowed as their voiced counterparts as in bádú 'duck' from
Spanish pato 'duck'. Loanwords from Spanish with stress on the first
syllable are usually borrowed with high tone on all syllables as in:
sábáná 'blanket' from Spanish sábana 'bedsheet'.
include ndɛ̌nt͡su 'goat' from
Nahuatl teːnt͡soneʔ 'goat'
(literally "beard possessor"), and different forms for the Nahuatl
word for 'pig', pitso:tɬ. Both of these loans have obviously entered
Otomi in the colonial period after the Spanish introduced those
domestic animals. In the period before Spanish contact it appears
that borrowing between
Nahuatl and Otomi was sparse whereas there are
numerous instances of loan translations from that period, probably due
to widespread bilingualism.
Among the Aztecs the Otomi were well known for their songs, and a
specific genre of
Nahuatl songs called otoncuicatl "Otomi Song" are
believed to be translations or reinterpretations of songs originally
composed in Otomi. None of the songs written in Otomi during
the colonial period have survived; however, beginning in the early
20th century, anthropologists have collected songs performed by modern
Otomi singers. Anthropologists Roberto Weitlaner and Jacques Soustelle
collected Otomi songs during the 1930s, and a study of Otomi musical
styles was conducted by Vicente T. Mendoza. Mendoza found two
distinct musical traditions: a religious, and a profane. The religious
tradition of songs, with Spanish lyrics, dates to the 16th century,
when missionaries such as
Pedro de Gante
Pedro de Gante taught Indians how to
construct European style instruments to be used for singing hymns. The
profane tradition, with Otomi lyrics, possibly dates to pre-Columbian
times, and consists of lullabies, joking songs, songs of romance or
ballads, and songs involving animals. As in the traditions of other
Mesoamerican languages, a common poetic instrument is the use of
parallelism, couplets, difrasismos (Mesoamerican couplet metaphors,
similar to kennings) and repetition. In the 21st century a number
of Otomi literary works have been published, including the work ra hua
ra hiä by Adela Calva Reyes. The following example of an Otomi song
about the brevity of life was recollected by Ángel María Garibay K.
in the mid-twentieth century:[cn 18]
Dąthé thogi thogi
Ndąhi thogi thogi
Mʔbɨ́ y thogi...
The river passes, passes
it never stops
The wind passes, passes
it never stops
it never comes back
Collection of sermons in the
Otomi language from the 16th century
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Otomi language.
^ a b Palancar (2009:14): "Desde un punto de vista de la tipología
morfológica clásica greenbergiana el otomí es una lengua fusional
que se convertiría, por otro lado en aglutinante si todos los
clíticos se reanalizaran como afijos (From the point of view of the
classic Greenbergian morphological typologogy, Otomí is a fusional
language which would however turn into an agglutinating one if all the
clitics were reanalyzed as affixes)"
^ See the individual articles for the forms used in each dialect.
^ In most modern varieties of Otomi the name for "Mexico" has changed
to ʔmôndo (in Ixtenco Otomi) or ʔmóndá (in Mezquital Otomi). In
some varieties of
Highland Otomi it is mbôndo. Only
Tilapa Otomi and
Acazulco Otomi preserve the original pronunciation (Lastra, 2006:47).
^ The Huichapan
Codex is reproduced and translated in Ecker (2001).
^ Percentages given are in comparison to the total Otomi speaking
^ Adopted at a world linguistics conference in Barcelona, it "became a
general reference point for the evolution and discussion of linguistic
rights in Mexico" Pellicer, Cifuentes & Herrera (2006:132)
^ 33.5% of Otomi speakers are illiterate compared with national
average of 8.5% & INEGI (2009:74)
^ "A linguistic variety is defined as ‘a variety of speech (i) which
has structural and lexical differences in comparison with other
varieties within the same linguistic group, and (ii) which has a
distinct sociolinguistic mark of identity for their users, different
from the sociolinguistic identity born by speakers of other
varieties’" (translation by E. Palancar in Palancar (2011:247).
Originaltext in CLIN (2008:37)
^ The classification follows Lastra except in regard to the Amealco
dialect which follows Palancar (2009)
^ The phonology as described by Palancar (2009:2). The Tultepec
dialect is chosen here because it is the dialect for which the most
complete phonological description is available. Other descriptions
Temoaya Otomi Andrews (1949), and several different analyses
of Mezquital phonology Wallis (1968), Bernard (1973), Bernard (1967),
^ In the late 20th century,
Mezquital Otomi was reported to be on the
verge of losing the distinction between nasal and oral vowels. Bernard
noted that *ɑ̃ had become /ɔ/, that /ĩ ~ i/ and /ũ ~ u/ were in
free variation, and that the only nasal vowel that continued to be
distinct from its oral counterpart was /ẽ/.Bernard (1967)Bernard
^ During the mid-twentieth century, linguists differed regarding the
analysis of tones in Otomi.
Kenneth Pike Sinclair & Pike (1948),
Doris Bartholomew Bartholomew (1968);Bartholomew (1979) and Blight
& Pike (1976) preferred an analysis including three tones, but
Leon & Swadesh (1949)and Bernard (1966), Bernard (1974) preferred
an analysis with only two tones, in which the rising tone was analyzed
as two consecutive tones on one long vowel. In fact, Bernard didn't
believe that Otomi should be analyzed as being tonal, as he believed
instead that tone in Otomi was not lexical, but rather predictable
from other phonetic elements. This analysis was rejected as untenable
by the thorough analysis of Wallis (1968) and the three tone analysis
became the standard.
^ The ILV is the affiliate body of
SIL International in Mexico.
^ The table below is based on data from Lastra (2006: 43–62).
^ Here tʔɛɡí means 'bell'.
^ Borrowed from colonial Spanish tomín 'silver coin used in parts of
colonial Spanish America'.
^ Other highland dialects use mbɛhti (Tutotepec, Hidalgo) and menyu
^ Originally published in Garibay (1971:238), republished in phonemic
transcription in Lastra (2006:69–70)
INALI (2012) México: Lenguas indígenas nacionales
^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds.
Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute
for the Science of Human History.
^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds.
(2017). "Southwestern Otomi".
Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck
Institute for the Science of Human History.
^ a b c INEGI (2009:69)
^ a b c Lastra (2006:56–58)
^ a b Wright Carr (2005a)
^ a b c Hekking & Bakker (2007:436)
^ Palancar (2008:357)
^ a b Lastra (2006:33)
^ a b Wright Carr (2005b)
^ Lastra 2006, p. 26.
^ Lastra 2006, p. 132.
^ Lastra 2006, pp. 143–146.
^ Cárceres 1907.
^ Lope Blanch 2004, p. 57.
^ a b c d e Lastra (2006:37–41)
^ Zimmermann (2012)
^ Neve y Molina 2005.
^ a b Suárez (1983:167)
^ Pellicer, Cifuentes & Herrera 2006, pp. 132-137.
INALI [Instituto Nacional de Lenguas Indígenas] (n.d.).
"Presentación de la Ley General de Derechos Lingüísticos".
INALI (in Spanish). INALI, Secretaría de Educación
Pública. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
^ a b c d Lastra (2001:19–25)
^ "INEGI: Cada vez más mexicanos hablan una lengua indígena -
Nacional - CNNMéxico.com". Mexico.cnn.com. 2011-03-30. Archived from
the original on 2011-12-06. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
^ Lastra 2000.
^ INEGI 2009, p. 70.
^ Suárez 1983, p. 168.
^ Lastra 2006, pp. 32–36.
^ Campbell 2000.
^ Gordon (2013)  (a computer-generated list of Otomi varieties)
^ a b c Palancar 2011.
^ Lastra 2001.
^ Lastra 2006.
^ a b c Lastra (2006:57); Wright Carr (2005a)
^ a b Lastra (2006:58)
^ a b c d Lastra (2006:57)
^ Newman & Weitlaner 1950a.
^ Newman & Weitlaner 1950b.
^ Bartholomew 1960.
^ a b Lastra (2006:48)
^ a b Lastra (1998b)
^ a b c d Hekking & Bakker 2007.
^ a b Voigtlander & Echegoyen (1985)
^ Bartholomew (1979)
^ Blight & Pike 1976.
^ a b Smith-Stark (2005:32)
^ Smith-Stark 2005, p. 20.
^ Bartholomew (1968)
^ Bernard & Salinas Pedraza 1976.
^ Salinas Pedraza 1978.
^ Chávez & Lanier Murray 2001.
^ a b Palancar 2009.
^ Palancar 2009, p. 64.
^ Soustelle 1993, p. 143-5.
^ Andrews 1993.
^ Hekking 1995.
^ Lastra (2006:54–55)
^ Lastra 1997.
^ Lastra 1998b.
^ a b Lastra (1992:18–19)
^ Lastra 2001, p. 88.
^ Wallis (1964)
^ Voigtlander & Echegoyen 1985.
^ Palancar 2004b.
^ Palancar 2006a.
^ Palancar 2006b, p. 332.
^ a b c d e Palancar (2008)
^ a b Lastra (1996:3)
^ Lastra 1998a.
^ a b Lastra (1992:24)
^ Lastra 1992, pp. 226-225.
^ Lastra 1992, p. 34.
^ Lastra 1992, p. 20.
^ Palancar 2006b.
^ Lastra 1992, p. 21.
^ Lastra 1992, p. 56.
^ Palancar 2008, p. 358.
^ Hess 1968, pp. 79, 84–85.
^ Hekking & Bakker 2007, p. 439.
^ Wright Carr 2005b.
^ Lastra 2006, p. 69.
^ Garibay 1971, p. 231.
^ Lastra 2006, p. 64.
^ Bartholomew 1995.
Andrews, Henrietta (October 1949). "Phonemes and Morphophonemes of
Temoayan Otomi". International Journal of American Linguistics. 15
(4): 213–222. doi:10.1086/464047. JSTOR 1263147.
Andrews, Henrietta (1993). The Function of Verb Prefixes in
Southwestern Otomí. Summer Institute of Linguistics and the
Texas at Arlington publications in linguistics, 115.
Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
Bartholomew, Doris (October 1960). "Some revisions of Proto-Otomi
consonants". International Journal of American Linguistics. 26 (4):
317–329. doi:10.1086/464591. JSTOR 1263552.
Bartholomew, Doris (July 1968). "Concerning the Elimination of
Nasalized Vowels in Mezquital Otomi". International Journal of
American Linguistics. 34 (3): 215–217. doi:10.1086/465017.
Bartholomew, Doris (January 1979). "Otomi Parables, Folktales, and
Jokes [Book review]". International Journal of American Linguistics.
45 (1): 94–97. doi:10.1086/465579. JSTOR 1264981.
Bartholomew, Doris (1995). "
Difrasismo en la narración otomi". In
Yolanda Lastra de Suárez. Vitalidad e influencia de
las lenguas indígenas en Latinoamérica. Segundo Coloquio Mauricio
Swadesh. Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, UNAM.
pp. 449–464. ISBN 978-968-36-3312-5.
Bernard, H Russell (December 1966). "Otomi Tones". Anthropological
Linguistics. 8 (9): 15–19. JSTOR 30029194.
Bernard, H Russell (July 1967). "The Vowels of Mezquital Otomi".
International Journal of American Linguistics. 33 (3): 247–48.
doi:10.1086/464969. JSTOR 1264219.
Bernard, H Russell (January 1970). "More on Nasalized Vowels and
Morphophonemics in Mezquital Otomi: A Rejoinder to Bartholomew".
International Journal of American Linguistics. 36 (1): 60–63.
doi:10.1086/465093. JSTOR 1264486.
Bernard, H. Russell (July 1973). "Otomi Phonology and Orthography".
International Journal of American Linguistics. 39 (3): 180–184.
doi:10.1086/465262. JSTOR 1264569.
Bernard, H Russell (April 1974). "Otomi Tones in Discourse".
International Journal of American Linguistics. 40 (2): 141–150.
doi:10.1086/465300. JSTOR 1264352.
Bernard, H. Russel; Salinas Pedraza, Jesús (1976). Otomí Parables,
Folk Tales and Jokes. Native American Text Series, vol. 1, no. 2
(ISSN 0361-3399). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Bernard, H Russell (April 1980). "
Orthography for Whom?".
International Journal of American Linguistics. 46 (2): 133–136.
doi:10.1086/465642. JSTOR 1265019.
Blight, Richard C.; Pike, Eunice V. (January 1976). "The Phonology of
Tenango Otomi". International Journal of American Linguistics. 42 (1):
51–57. doi:10.1086/465386. JSTOR 1264808.
Campbell, Lyle (2000) . American Indian Languages: The
Historical Linguistics of Native America. Oxford Studies in
Anthropological Linguistics, 4 (OUP pbk ed.). Oxford: Oxford
University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-509427-5.
Cárceres, Pedro de (1907) ca. 1550–1600. Nicolás León, ed. "Arte
de la lengua othomí". Boletín del Instituto Bibliográfico Mexicano.
Chávez, Evaristo Bernabé; Lanier Murray, Nancy (2001). "Notas
históricas sobre las variaciones de los alfabetos otomíes" (PDF).
Publicaciones impresas. Instituto Lingüístico de Verano. Retrieved
CLIN, Catalogo de las lenguas indígenas nacionales, 2008 (2008).
Variantes Lingüísticas de México con sus autodenominaciones y
referencias geoestadísticas (PDF).
Mexico City.: Diario de la Nación
Ecker, Lawrence (trans.) (2001). Códice de Huichapan: paleografía y
Yolanda Lastra and
Doris Bartholomew (eds.). México,
D.F.: Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, UNAM.
ISBN 978-968-36-9005-0. (in Otomi) (in Spanish)
Egland, Steven; Bartholomew, Doris; Cruz Ramos, Saúl (1983). La
inteligibilidad interdialectal en México: Resultados de algunos
sondeos. México, D.F: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano.
Garibay, Ángel María (1971). "Poemas otomíes". Historia de la
literature náhuatl. Primera parte: Etapa autonoma: de c. 1430 a
1521. :Bibliotheca Porrúa 1 (2nd ed.). Mexico: Hnos. Porrúa.
Hekking, Ewald (1995). El Otomí de Santiago Mexquititlan:
desplazamiento linguïstico, préstamos y cambios grammaticales.
Hekking, Ewald; Bakker, Dik (2007). "The Case of Otomí: A
contribution to grammatical borrowing in crosslinguistic perspective".
In Yaron Matras; Jeanette Sakel. Grammatical Borrowing in
Cross-Linguistic Perspective. Empirical Approaches to Language
Typology [EALT], 38. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 435–464.
doi:10.1515/9783110199192.435. ISBN 978-3-11-019628-3.
Hernández Cruz, Luis; Victoria Torquemada, Moisés; Sinclair
Crawford, Donaldo (2004). Diccionario del hñähñu (otomí) del Valle
del Mezquital, estado de Hidalgo (PDF). Serie de vocabularios y
diccionarios indígenas "Mariano Silva y Aceves", 45 (in Spanish).
Tlalpan, D.F.: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano.
Hess, H. Harwood (1968). The Syntactic Structure of Mezquital Otomi.
Janua Linguarum. Series practica, 43. The Hague: Mouton.
INEGI, [Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografia] (2009). Perfil
sociodemográfico de la población que habla lengua indígena (PDF)
(in Spanish). INEGI. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
Lastra, Yolanda (1992). El Otomí de Toluca. México, D.F.: Instituto
de Investigaciones Antropológicas, UNAM.
ISBN 978-968-36-2260-0. (in Otomi) (in Spanish)
Lastra, Yolanda (1996). "Verbal Morphology of Ixtenco Otomi" (PDF).
Amérindia. 21: 93–100. ISSN 0221-8852. (PDF has a
different pagination from the original publication)
Lastra, Yolanda (1997). El Otomí de Ixtenco. México, D.F.: Instituto
de Investigaciones Antropológicas, UNAM.
ISBN 978-968-36-6000-8. (in Otomi) (in Spanish)
Lastra, Yolanda (1998a). Ixtenco Otomí. Languages of the
world/Materials series, 19. München: LINCOM Europa.
Lastra, Yolanda (1998b). "Otomí loans and creations". In Jane H.
Hill; P. J. Mistry; Lyle Campbell. The Life of Language: Papers in
Linguistics in Honor of William Bright. Trends in linguistics series.
Studies and Monographs, 108. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
pp. 59–101. ISBN 978-3-11-015633-1.
Lastra, Yolanda (2000). "Otomí language shift and some recent efforts
to reverse it". In Joshua Fishman. Can threatened languages be saved?
Reversing Language Shift, Revisited: A 21st Century Perspective.
Multilingual Matters. ISBN 978-1-85359-492-2.
Lastra, Yolanda (2001). Unidad y diversidad de la lengua. Relatos
otomíes (in Spanish). Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas,
UNAM. ISBN 978-968-36-9509-3.
Lastra, Yolanda (2006). Los Otomies – Su lengua y su historia (in
Spanish). Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, UNAM.
Leon, Frances; Swadesh, Morris (1949). "Two views of Otomi prosody".
International Journal of American Linguistics. 15 (2): 100–105.
doi:10.1086/464028. JSTOR 1262769.
Lope Blanch, Juan M. (2004). "Cuestiones de filología mexicana".
Publicaciones del Centro de Lingüística Hispánica, 52 (in Spanish).
México, D.F.: Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas, UNAM.
Neve y Molina, Luis de (2005) . Erik Boot, ed. Reglas de
Orthographia, Diccionario, y Arte del Idioma Othomi (PDF) (in
Spanish). Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies.
Newman, Stanley; Weitlaner, Roberto (1950a). "Central Otomian
I:Proto-Otomian reconstructions". International Journal of American
Linguistics. 16 (1): 1–19. doi:10.1086/464056.
Newman, Stanley; Weitlaner, Roberto (1950b). "Central Otomian
II:Primitive central otomian reconstructions". International Journal
of American Linguistics. 16 (2): 73–81. doi:10.1086/464067.
Palancar, Enrique L. (2004a). "Datividad en Otomi". Estudios de
cultura otopame. 4: 171–196.
Palancar, Enrique L. (2004b). "Verbal Morphology and Prosody in
Otomi". International Journal of American Linguistics. 70 (3):
251–78. doi:10.1086/425601. JSTOR 3652030.
Palancar, Enrique L. (2006a). "Intransitivity and the origins of
middle voice in Otomi". Linguistics. 44 (3): 613–643.
Palancar, Enrique L. (2006b). "Property in Otomi: a language with no
adjectives". International Journal of American Linguistics. 72 (3):
Palancar, Enrique L. (2008). "Emergence of Active/Stative alignment in
Otomi". In Mark Donohue; Søren Wichmann. The Typology of Semantic
Alignment. New York: Oxford University Press.
Palancar, Enrique L. (2009). Gramática y textos del hñöñhö Otomí
de San Ildefonso Tultepec, Querétaro. Vol 1. Universidad Autónoma de
Querétaro: Plaza y Valdés. ISBN 978-607-402-146-2.
Palancar, Enrique L. (2011). "The conjugations of Colonial Otomi".
Transactions of the Philological Society. 109: 246–264.
Pellicer, Dora; Cifuentes, Bábara; Herrera, Carmen (2006).
"Legislating diversity in twenty-first century Mexico". In Margarita
G. Hidalgo. Mexican Indigenous Languages at the Dawn of the
Twenty-first Century. Contributions to the Sociology of Language, 91.
Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 127–168.
Salinas Pedraza, Jesús (1978). Rc Hnychnyu = The Otomí. Albuquerque,
N.M.: University of New
Sinclair, Donald; Pike, Kenneth (1948). "Tonemes of Mesquital Otomi".
International Journal of American Linguistics. 14 (1): 91–98.
doi:10.1086/463988. JSTOR 1263233.
Smith-Stark, Thomas (2005). "Phonological Description in New Spain".
In Otto Zwartjes; Maria Cristina Salles Altman. Missionary Linguistics
II = Lingüística misionera II:
Orthography and Phonology. Second
International Conference on Missionary Linguistics, São Paulo,
10–13 March 2004. Amsterdam studies in the theory and history of
linguistic science. Series III: Studies in the history of the
language sciences, 109. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.
pp. 3–64. ISBN 978-90-272-4600-4.
Soustelle, Jacques (1993) . La familia Otomí-Pame del México
central. Sección de Obras de Historia (in Spanish). Nilda Mercado
Baigorria (trans.) (Translation of: "La famille Otomí-Pame du Mexique
central", doctoral thesis ed.). México, D.F.: Centro de Estudios
Mexicanos y Centroamericanos, Fondo de Cultura Económica.
Suárez, Jorge A. (1983). The Mesoamerian Indian Languages. Cambridge
Language Surveys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Voigtlander, Katherine; Echegoyen, Artemisa (1985) . Luces
Contemporaneas del Otomi: Grámatica del Otomi de la Sierra. Serie
gramáticas de lenguas indígenas de México, 1 (in Spanish). Mexico,
D.F.: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano.
Wallis, Ethel E. (1964). "
Mezquital Otomi Verb Fusion". Language.
Language, Vol. 40, No. 1. 40 (1): 75–82. doi:10.2307/411926.
Wallis, Ethel E. (1968). "The Word and the Phonological Hierarchy of
Mezquital Otomi". Language. Language, Vol. 44, No. 1. 44 (1): 76–90.
doi:10.2307/411465. JSTOR 411465.
Wright Carr, David Charles (2005a). "Precisiones sobre el término
"otomí"" (PDF). Arqueología mexicana. 13 (73): 19. Archived from the
original (PDF) on May 9, 2008. Retrieved 2006-12-06. (in
Wright Carr, David Charles (2005b). "Lengua, cultura e historia de los
Arqueología mexicana (in Spanish). 13 (73): 26–2.
Archived from the original on 2011-02-26.
Zimmermann, Klaus (2012). "El autor anónimo de 'Luces del otomí'
(manuscrito del siglo XVIII): ¿El primer historiógrafo de la
lingüística misionera?". In Alfaro Lagorio, Ma Consuelo/ Rosa, Ma
Carlota/ Freire, José Ribamar Bessa (eds.). Políticas de línguas no
Novo Mundo. Rio de Janeiro: Editora da UERJ.
pp. 13–39. CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
Bartholomew, Doris (1963). "El limosnero y otros cuentos en otomí".
Tlalocan (in Spanish). 4 (2): 120–124. ISSN 0185-0989.
Hensey, Fritz G. (1972). "Otomi Phonology and Spelling Reform with
Reference to Learning Problems". International Journal of American
Linguistics. 38 (2): 93–95. doi:10.1086/465191.
Lastra, Yolanda (1989). Otomi de San Andrés Cuexcontitlan, Estado de
México (PDF). Archivo de Lenguas Indígenas de México, 13 (in
Spanish). México D.F.: El Colegio de México.
Palancar, Enrique L. (2007). "Cutting and breaking verbs in Otomi: An
example of lexical specification". Cognitive Linguistics. 18 (2):
Palancar, Enrique L. (2008). "Juxtaposed Adjunct Clauses in Otomi:
Expressing Both Depictive and Adverbial Semantics". International
Journal of American Linguistics. 74 (3): 365–392.
Wallis, Ethel E. (1956). "Simulfixation in Aspect Markers of Mezquital
Otomi". Language. 32 (3): 453–59. doi:10.2307/410566.
Otomi language test of at Wikimedia Incubator
Otomi Vocabulary List (from the World Loanword Database)
Comparative Otomi Swadesh vocabulary list (from Wiktionary)
ELAR archive of
Otomi language documentation materials
Estado de México Otomi
Italics indicate extinct languages
Languages of Mexico
Chontal de Tabasco
Chontal of Oaxaca
Mexican Sign Language
Mayan Sign Language
Note: The list of official languages is ordered by decreasing size of