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EL UNIVERSAL (Mexico)

Worldcrunch

MEXICO CITY - Linguistic experts have identified as many as 364 different dialects in modern Mexico, with at least 100 people speaking each linguistic variation. But this wealth of language diversity risks disappearing.

Javier López Sánchez, director of the National Indigenous Languages Institute in Mexico (INALI), says that currently 64 dialects face serious risk of disappearing forever.

During a recent visit to Boca del Río in the state of Veracruz, to celebrate the “National Day of the Mother Tongue”, López recognized that one of the main problems that they face in the efforts to try to preserve these dialects is the discrimination towards the populations that communicate in languages other than Spanish.

For example, the Kiliwa dialect from the state of Baja California is one of the dialects that risks extinction since there are only 10 speakers still alive, who may not transfer the language to their descendants.

Other examples are the Diapaneca dialect from the state of Tabasco with only 21 speakers, as well as some variants of the Zapoteca dialect from the State of Oaxaca such as the Chocholteco and the Nahual from the state of Veracruz

López Sánchez explained that according to data gathered by the National Statistics and Geography Institute in Mexico (INEGI), in the last census, 16 million people in Mexico are considered indigenous, but only 7 million of them speak a prehispanic dialect.

The Mexican Government has set up a program to help the speakers of these “almost forgotten” tongues transcribe the Mexican Constitution and their documents into their dialects.

Here's a video report about dying dialects in Mexico:

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