Juchitán, Oax.- By creating books on insects, colors, numbers, crossword puzzles, puzzles and educational activities in his diidxazá (Zapotec), the linguist Víctor Cata collaborates with the teaching and rescue of his mother tongue from orality and the writing.
He shared this linguistic heritage from his grandparents with children and adults from Ixhuatán, a municipality on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec where Few speakers remain, barely 2%.
“We are in time to rescue our diidxazá (Zapotec)”, said the historian, sharing that in 15 days the girls and boys knew this language and can even speak it.
The Zapotec workshop was an invitation made by the municipal president, Felipe López Matus, with the sole intention of promoting the language.
Cata divided the workshop into two groups, one for children and the other for adults. She shared with the minors stories, riddles, lotteries and endless activities, while the adults elaborated sentences, learned numbers and They managed to strike up a dialogue.
The teaching of the Zapotec language has its complexities like any language, but the teacher has adapted it to the needs of learning.
“The children were able to carry on a conversation in Zapotec, they also presented a traditional story that the grandparents told on a full moon,” he said.
With the adults, the teacher conducted a fence with names of towns in Zapotecso whoever arrives in Ixhuatán will be able to observe the names in this language.
Discrimination against native languages
The conclusion of the workshop was held in an event on the main esplanade of Ixhuatán and it was done massively so that the whole society gets involved for its revitalization.
Teacher Cata is concerned about the lack of speakers in this municipality since in the Zapotec region “only 2% of the locals speak Zapotec in Ixhuatán, we are losing it, we must all get involved from home and society,” he said.
He explained that it was in the mid-nineteenth century that Mexico as a country adopted the public policy of disappearing indigenous languages for considering them “dialects”, which impeded the development of the country, and “which made the speaking population more ignorant and stupid”.
What this reflected was discrimination against the native languages of our country, which instead of being seen as a linguistic wealth, were classified as languages that hinder the development of the nation.
“Now we are fighting against that 19th century policy that erased many languages from Mexico. Fortunately we still have Zapotec speakers and women occupy a very important place, especially grandmothers because they are transmitters of words, songs, of jokes and of all Zapotec thought and culture,” he explained.
The historian, who is currently carrying out philological research with the Zapotec elders to gather information on sounds and words, reported that in addition to Juchitán, towns such as Santa María Xadani, San Blas Atempa and Álvaro Obregón known as (Gui’ xhi Ro’) are those who have preserved their language the most, because their boys and girls speak it fluently and even sing and make rhymes and jokes with Zapotec in more than 90%.