OTOMI (/ˌoʊtəˈmiː/ ; Spanish: Otomí Spanish: ) is a group of
closely related indigenous languages of
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. 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
* 1 Language name
* 2 History
* 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 Classification
* 3.1 Dialectology * 3.2 Mutual intelligibility
* 4 Phonology
* 5.1 Classical Otomi * 5.2 Practical orthography for modern dialects
* 6 Grammar
* 6.1 Pronominal system: Person and Number
* 6.2 Nouns
* 6.2.1 Articles
* 6.3 Verbs
* 6.3.1 Person, number, tense, aspect and mood * 6.3.2 Transitivity and stative verbs
* 6.4 Syntax
* 6.4.1 Word order * 6.4.2 Clause types
* 6.5 Numerals
* 7 Vocabulary
* 7.1 Loan words
* 8 Poetry * 9 Notes * 10 References * 11 Further reading * 12 External links
The name Otomi comes from the
The word Otomi entered the Spanish language through
PROTO-OTOMI PERIOD AND LATER PRECOLONIAL PERIOD
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
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 , written perhaps as early as 1580, but not published
until 1907. In 1605, Alonso de Urbano wrote a trilingual
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. 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
Speakers of Otomi over 5 years of age in the ten Mexican states with most speakers (2005 census) REGION COUNT PERCENTAGE
Federal District 12,460 5.2%
Hidalgo 95,057 39.7%
Rest of Mexico 2,537 1.20%
TOTAL: 239,850 100%
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
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
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
Main article: Oto-Manguean languages Otomi-speaking areas in Mexico.
Otomi has traditionally been described as a single language, although
its many dialects are not all mutually intelligible. SIL
Dialectologists tend to group the languages into three main groups
that reflect historical relationships among the dialects: Northwestern
Otomi spoken in the
The assignment of dialects to the three groups is as follows:
* 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
Highland Otomi ,
Texcatepec Otomi , and Tenango
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 ,
APPROXIMATE NUMBER OF SPEAKERS OF ALL VARIETIES OF OTOMí: ~212,000
OTOMI LANGUAGE WHERE SPOKEN OWN NAME ISO 639-3 NUMBER OF SPEAKERS
Otomí de Queretaro
Temoaya Otomi Temoaya Municipio, State of México Ñatho ott 37,000
70% EGLAND (S: Jiquipilco) Temoaya
* — Tilapa
San Antonio – San Gregorio Eastern Highland
San Nicolás Tenango
* Ixtenco Ixtenco
Egland, Bartholomew 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 variety.
BILABIAL DENTAL ALVEOLAR PALATAL VELAR GLOTTAL
tʼ tsʼ tʃʼ kʼ
UNASPIRATED p t t͡s t͡ʃ k ʔ
VOICED b d
FRICATIVE VOICELESS ɸ θ s ʃ x h
NASAL m n
FRONT CENTRAL BACK
ORAL NASAL ORAL NASAL ORAL NASAL
CLOSE i ĩ ɨ
NEAR-OPEN ɛ ɛ̃
The phoneme inventory of the Proto-
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 + , 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 systems
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/. 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 , and /s/, which is not present in native Otomi vocabulary either.
TONE AND STRESS
All Otomi languages are tonal , and most varieties have three tones, high, low and rising. 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 words.
Stress in Otomi is not phonemic but rather falls predictably on every other syllable, with the first syllable of a root always being stressed.
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 , y denotes , the palatal sibilant is written with the letter š, and the palatal nasal is written ñ. The remaining symbols are from the IPA with their standard values.
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 and æ with cedille for the high central unrounded vowel ɨ. He also transcribed glottalized consonants as geminates e.g. ttz for . Cárceres used grave-accented vowels è and ò for and . 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 , v for , and the symbol + for ). Bernard's orthography has not been influential and in used only in the works published by himself and the Otomi author Jesus Salinas Pedraza.
Practical orthographies used to promote Otomi literacy have been designed and published by the Instituto Lingüístico de Verano and later by the national institute for indigenous languages ( INALI ). Generally they use diareses ë and ö to distinguish the low mid vowels and from the high mid vowels e and o. High central vowel is generally written ʉ or u̱, and front mid rounded vowel is written ø or o̱. Letter a with trema , ä, is sometimes used for both the nasal vowel and the low back unrounded vowel . Glottalized consonants are written with apostrophe (e.g. tz' for ) and palatal sibilant 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 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 proclitic. 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: Bi=hon-ga-wi-tho-wa "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
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 from the Toluca dialect.
SINGULAR DUAL PLURAL
1ST PERSON INCL. * nugóbé 'you and I' nugóhé 'I and you guys'
1ST PERSON EXCL. nugó 'I' nugówí 'we two (not you)' nugóhɨ́ 'We all (not you)'
2ND PERSON nukʔígé 'you' nukʔígéwí 'you two' nukʔígégɨ́ 'you guys'
3RD PERSON gégé 'she/he/it' nugégéwí 'the two of them' nugégéhɨ́ 'they'
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.
SINGULAR DUAL PLURAL
1ST PERSON EXCL. * nyugambe 'we two (not you)' nyugahɨ́ 'we all (both incl and excl.)'
1ST PERSON INCL. nyugá 'I' nugawi 'you and I' *
2ND PERSON nyukʔe 'you' nyukʔewi 'you two' nyukʔehɨ́ 'you guys'
3RD PERSON nyuaní 'she/he/it' * 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.
SINGULAR DUAL PLURAL
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)'
2ND PERSON ri-ngų́ 'your house' ri-ngų́-wí 'the house of the two of you' ri-ngų́-hɨ́ 'the house of you guys'
3RD PERSON 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:
SINGULAR DUAL PLURAL
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 agglutination.
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) Root formative Object suffix 1st person emphatic suffix Plural/Dual suffix
Person, Number, Tense, Aspect And Mood
The present tense prefixes are di- (1st person), gi- (2nd person), i- (3rd person).
SINGULAR DUAL PLURAL
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)'
2ND PERSON gi-nú 'you see' gi-nú-wí 'you two see' gi-nú-hɨ́ 'you guys see'
3RD PERSON 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)'.
In 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' 3rd person/movement/Imperfect-sing
When using nouns predicatively , the subject prefixes are simply added to the noun root: drʌ-mǒkhá 'I am a priest' I/Present/Continuative-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.
In 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'
he/past-write-me he/past-write-you he/past-believe-it
bi-nú-gí 'he saw me' bi-nú-kʔí 'he saw you' bi-hkwáhti-bí 'she/he hit him/her'
he/past-see-me he/past-see-you he/she/past-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:
DUAL OBJECT/SUBJECT PLURAL OBJECT/SUBJECT
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 Toluca Otomi:
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' your-house big thɛ̌ngɨ ʔnį́ 'its red, the pepper' (focus) red pepper
Equational clauses can also be complex: títa habɨ ditá yɨ khą́ ʔí 'the sweat house is where people bathe' 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 it. 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 afraid"
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?' what it-is
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).
1 anʔda 2 eyoho 3 ehių 4 ekoho 5 ekɨtʔa 6 eʔdata 7 eyoto 8 ehyąto 9 ekɨto 10 eʔdɛta 11 eʔdɛta ma ʔda 20 eʔdote 40 eyote 60 ehyąte
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.
Gundhó (Mezquital) San Ildefonso, Amealco TOLUCA TILAPA IXTENCO Huehuetla (Highland)
PAPER hɛ̌ʔmí hɛ̌ʔmi cųhkwá cɨ̌hkó cuhkwá cø̌hkwą́
MOTHER ną́ną́ nóno mé mbé ną́ną́ mbé
METAL bɛkhá bøkhǫ́ tʔéɡí tʔɛ̌ɡi tʔɛɡi tʔɛ̌ki
MONEY bokhą́ bokhǫ́ domi mbɛhti tʔophó tʔophó
MUCH/A LOT ndųnthį́ nzɛya dúnthí pongí chú ʃøngų́
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 , 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'. Nahuatl
loanwords include ndɛ̌nt͡su 'goat' from
Among the Aztecs the Otomi were well known for their songs, and a
specific genre of
Dąthé thogi thogi hínkhąbɨ thege Ndąhi thogi thogi hínkhąbɨ thege Mʔbɨ́ y thogi... hínkhąbɨ pɛ̌ngi The river passes, passes it never stops The wind passes, passes it never stops Life passes... it never comes back
Collection of sermons in the
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 which dialect uses which terms.
* ^ 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
Acazulco Otomi preserve the original pronunciation (Lastra,
* ^ The Huichapan
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 (n.d.). "Presentación de la Ley General de Derechos
Lingüísticos". Difusión de
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. Retrieved
* ^ 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 -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em;">
Andrews, Henrietta (October 1949). "Phonemes and Morphophonemes of
International Journal of American Linguistics . 15
(4): 213–222. doi :10.1086/464047 .
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 .
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
* v * t * e
* Tlahuica * Matlatzinca
* Central Pame * Northern Pame * Southern Pame * Chichimeca Jonaz
Italics indicate extinct languages
* v * t * e