In Oaxaca, promoters of the Zapotec language motivate people to speak in their mother tongue with art and games

Through the Lotery game, they motivate people to practice Zapotec (Photo: José Luis López)

Irma Pineda Santiago, Member of the Permanent Assembly for Indigenous Affairs at the United Nations Organization (UN) , announced that the defenders of indigenous languages ​​are their own speakers.

(OAXACA – UN).- The range of options and alternatives for teaching and learning Zapotec from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is varied, and the promoters of this indigenous language have resorted to artistic, recreational and playful resources, such as musicnarratives and educational games .

“Each group of speakers is doing its own thing through various forms that they create themselves, community radios, music, websites, for example, young artists in places like Yucatan are rapping in their own language, written or audio materials, videos, a lot is going on, and I think that young people are having an active participation right now in strengthening their languages”,

Irma Pineda.

In Mexico there are 78 indigenous languages, of which – estimates the National Institute of Indigenous Languages ​​- 60 percent are on the verge of extinction.

We are talking about 47 indigenous tongues, as the Ixcateco in Oaxaca, with only six older adult speakers. Ayapaneco, in Tabasco, with only two speakers left and one recently died. The Kiliwa , from Baja California. Awakateco, from Campeche. Nebajeño Ixil and Kaqchikel , from Quintana Roo; just to name a few.

According to UNESCO in the next 10 years many languages ​​will be lost in the world, including many in Mexico, “This is discouraging, that is why it was proposed in the UN General Assembly to make an International Decade of Indigenous Languages, so that the Member States that there are 193 countries commit to the design of public policies and above all to the allocation of resources, so that these languages ​​that are still spoken in their territories can be saved”.

In the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, strategies have been implemented such as the creation of a lottery, designed by the Colectivo Binni Cubi (New People) of Unión Hidalgo, Oaxaca, which consists of printing images with names written in Zapotec. This same method has been used by other groups that have used photographs, or have even created their lotteries in this indigenous language.

Another of the most popular projects has been promoted by the rappers of the region, who, making use of their talent in Hip-Hop, have created dozens of songs, with verses in indigenous languages, one of these groups is Juchi-Rap , which videos became popular among the youth population.

In the same dynamic of the promotion of the language, the creation of the project known as Saa Scuidi (Children’s Party) arises, from the Independent Space for Cultural and Artistic Expression Los Galácticos, which are bilingual songs made by the members of this group, in Zapotec- Spanish , which aims to bring children closer to this mother tongue. The songs have been used to create educational videos where the correct pronunciation of the words is explained.

In addition to these works, the work of Felipa de Jesús Noriega has also become popular. Felipa tells tales from the coziness of her house, using new technologies, and making videos where she naarrates stories in the Zapotec language, aimed at boys and girls from this ethnic group.

Her videos went viral and her project will now be part of a municipal program to promote reading in her hometown of Juchitán, Oaxaca.

The Yucatan Times
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