Published November 16, 2018
This video was recorded by Daniel Bogre Udell in Peru and features native speaker Zeferino. His variety of Totonac, Ozumatlán Totonac, was spoken by around 1,610 people as of a 2000 census, and that number was observed to be decreasing. Part of a cluster known as the Totonacan family, Ozumatlán Totonac together with 11 other closely related languages are spoken in Veracruz, Puebla, and Hidalgo, Mexico, but prior to the Spanish conquest thrived all along the gulf coast of Mexico. Ozumatlán Totonac, sometimes referred to as Cerro del Xinolatépetl, is one of a group of languages collectively holding official status in Mexico, according to the General Law of Linguistic Rights of the Indigenous Peoples. Although a genealogical connection between the Totonacan languages and other groups has not yet been firmly established, they do share many areal features with regional neighbors such as Mayan and Nahuatl. Brown et al. has proposed a potential link with the Mixe-Zoque language family. There are two main branches of Totonacan, and Ozumatlán Totonac occupies the highly diverse branch known as Totonac, comprised of 9 of the 12 Totonacan languages. The family is highly agglutinative and polysynthetic, lacks noun case marking and prepositions, and makes use of a complex system of causatives, applicatives, and prefixes for body parts and parts of objects.