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A pocket guide to Totonac, an endangered language.

May 30, 2018

Fascinating. What an amazing find.

The Top Shelf

As the digitization of the Sons of the Republic of Texas Mexican Manuscript Collection (SRT) in its entirety progresses, I continue to be amazed and pleasantly surprised by some of the hidden gems that are buried in the unassuming SRT filing cabinets in the Special Collections vault. One of those wonderful moments happened recently when I came upon document 5794, “Vocabulario de la lengua Totonaca.” The vague title featured in the metadata does not do this incredibly interesting document justice. Document 5794 is so much more than just a “vocabulary.” Its cover contains a striking  example of calligraphy, the contents are interesting, unique, and exciting. The document provides a glimpse into the diversity of eighteenth-century Mexico. It features one of the 68 indigenous languages officially recognized by the Mexican government that are still spoken today.

txsau-srt-5794_00001 not cropped

The name Totonac ecompasses a cluster of approximately 9 closely-related languages still spoken by…

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