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There are about 60 Zapotecan languages spoken in Mexico. They are part of the Oto-Manguean family of languages and there is mutual intelligibility between some of them. About half a million people speak these languages in southern Mexico, especially in the states of Oaxaca, Puebla, and Guerrero, and they can be divided into four groups: Northern Zapotec (Zapoteco de la Sierra Norte), Valley Zapotec, Southern Zapotec (Zapoteco de la Sierra Sur), and Isthmus Zapotec.

Names of varieties of Zapotec include Diidxazá in Juchitán (Isthmus of Tehuantepec), Didxsajin in Mitla, Diža'xon in Zoogocho, and Tiits Së in Santa Catarina Quioquitani.

Between 500 BC and 1000 AD an ancient form of Zapotec was written with a logophonetic script somewhat similar to Mayan.

Isthmus Zapotec (Diidxazá) alphabet and pronunciation

Zapotec alphabet and pronunciation


Sample texts

Zapotec (Güilá)

Ra'ta ra bu:unny ra:aaly liebr cëhnn te'bloh deree'ch cëhnn dignidaa. Ra:alyne:erih gahll ri:e:eny cëhnn saalyb, chiru' na:a pahr ga:annza'crih loh sa'rih.

Zapotec, Miahuatlán

Diti mien ndied xa yent kuan nkie xa nak rieti xa diba xa rola.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)


Information about Zapotec languages

Zapotec Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

Yatzachi Zapotec dictionary

Conjugation types of Zapotec verbs (Yalálag Zapotec)

Ancient Zapotec script

Oto-Manguean languages

Chinanteco, Mazahua, Mazatec, Mixtec, Otomi, Zapotec

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet

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