Every day, indigenous languages in Latin America are slipping away.
“wa2 nkeq3 lo4 sa24 a?”
That's Chatino for: “Is lunch ready?"
There are more than 360 different indigenous languages in Mexico today and social media is providing an outlet to preserve what's left of the ancient unwritten languages, according to The Christian Science Monitor.
The Eastern Chatino language, made up of unwritten sounds, has found a new home on Twitter and Facebook thanks to native speakers like Hilaria Cruz from Texas.
Away from her family, Cruz, a doctoral candidate in linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin, and others, created an alphabet for their language allowing people to communicate on Facebook.
The Chatino Language Documentation Facebook group includes Cruz and 336 other members eager to learn and elevate the conversation.
The page is sprinkled with postings like, "ji2 ta1 qa1 yaq3 ytsana42 kyo4" meaning "I got soaking wet."
Here's a breakdown:
ji2 ta1 qa1 yaq3=mucho (a lot)
ytsanq42= mojarse primera persona, pasado (to get wet in the first person)
Facebook groups like this one are helping unlock native languages from Mexican communities into Spanish and English, bringing second- and third-generation Latinos in the United States closer to their roots like never before.
There are more than 140 indigenous or minor languages on Twitter, according to The Christian Science Monitor. Experts estimate that indigenous languages are used by more than 300,000 users or as few as one.
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