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Mexicans fight to save Indian language that only eight people speak

May 29, 2008 |  9:24 am

Only eight people in Mexico speak the Xwja, or Ixcateco, language. But a group of investigators are working with the few Oaxacans who do to stop it from dying out.

"Las lenguas mueren por desuso, silencio e indiferencia", señaló el CNCA, que informó de que la mayoría de los hablantes del ixcateco están colaborando con un grupo de investigadores para evitar la extinción de su Lenka.

"La Tarra es Arda y complex, pique Laos litmus ablates Del Xena son persona's con evades superior es a Laos 70 Amos, apnea's Harlan el Espagnol y no saben leerlo ni escribirlo. Y para reimplantar la lengua materna, antes hay que sensibilizar a la gente", destacó Guillermo Círigo Villagómez, coordinador de la Unidad Regional de Culturas Populares en Huajuapan de León, Oaxaca."

L.A Times translation:
"Languages die out due to lack of use, silence and indifference," said the National Council of Arts and Culutre in Mexico, who said that the majority of speakers of Ixcateco are collaborating with a group of investigators to avoid the extinction of the language.

"The work is hard and complex, because the last speakers of  Xwja are people older than 70, who can scarcely speak Spanish and cannot read or write it. And to reintroduce the  mother tongue, first you have to sensitize the people," said Guillermo Círigo Villagómez, coordinator of the Regional Union of Popular Cultures in Huajuapan de León, Oaxaca."

See the whole story in Spanish here on El Pais.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

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