Sierra Popoluca (Nuntajɨyi)

Sierra Popoluca is a member of the Zoque branch of the Mixe-Zoquean language family. It is spoken by about 36,000 people in the south of the State of Veracruz in southeastern Mexico. The majority of speakers are found in the municipalities of Soteapan, Tatahuicapan and Hueyapan de Ocampo, and also in Catemaco, Piedra Labrada and Santa Rosa Cintepec.

People of all ages speak Sierra Popoluca, particularly in rural areas. In larger towns, however, Sierra Popoluca children are more likely to speak Spanish. The language is influenced by Spanish and Nahuatl.

Sierra Popoluca is also known Soteapanec, Soteapan Zoque or Highland Popoluca. The word popoluca is Nahuatl for "gibberish", and some linguists prefer to call the language Soteapanec, after Soteapan, the largest town where it is spoken. Native speakers do not appear to mind, and call their language Nuntajɨyi and themselves Nundajɨypappɨc.

There are two main ways to write Sierra Popoluca with the Latin alphabet: one developed by the Academia Veracruzana de las Lenguas Indígenas (AVELI), and one developed by SIL International. Other orthographies are available.

Sierra Popoluca alphabets

Sierra Popoluca alphabet


In the SIL alphabet, an acute accent on a vowel (á), indicates that it is followed by a glottal stop.

Download alphabet charts for Sierra Popoluca (Excel)

Sample text

Wiñɨc núc ja̱ma iga tɨts nɨ. Jesíc tsa̱m táŋca mu ipátyaj me̱x uxaŋ nɨ iucyajpa. Jesɨc tu̱m jon iyaachpát tu̱m maycuy iniit́wɨɨp uxaŋ nɨ, pero d́a wɨa̱p ictsɨ́y iga ñoco jém ijɨp. Icunúc jɨ̱xi jém jon. Moj ipiŋ xuxut́ tsa icot majco̱m hasta wɨa̱ mu ictsɨ́y jém nɨ. Jempɨgam yaj mu iuc jém nɨ it́wɨɨp id́ɨc majco̱m.

Translation (Spanish)

Cierto día, hizo falta agua en todas partes. Era muy difícil encontrar una poca para beber. Por casualidad, un pájaro encontró con un cántaro con un poco de agua en él, pero no podía beberla porque el pico no alcanzaba. Se le ocurrió una idea. Recogió piedrecitas y las echó dentro del cántaro, hasta que pudo alcanzar el aqua con el pico. De esta manera bebió el agua del cántaro.

Source: Animat icuento (Cuentos de animales / Animal Stories), by Benjamin F. Elson.

Sample videos in Sierra Popoluca


Information about Sierra Popoluca

Zoque languages

Chimalapa Zoque, Sierra Popoluca, Texistepec

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page created: 02.01.24. Last modified: 02.01.24


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