ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Phonological Analysis of the Mixtec Language

Updated on October 3, 2017


The Mixtec languages are those that are related with the language of the Mexico’s Otomanguean language family and they also forge a close association with the Cuicatec and Trique languages. These groups of languages are spoken by more than 500000 individuals. The complexity in the relationship among the various Mixtec languages and their number makes it hard to identify its number. However, it is projected that at the current level, there are more than fifty Mixtect languages existing (McKendry, 2001). In this hub, we are going to conduct a phonological analysis of the Mixtec Language with a focus on such linguistic aspects as the language’s phenomes, tone, and its syllable structure.

  1. The Phonemes


Generally, consonants of the Mixtec languages are pronounced in a softer touch compared with their English counterparts., Z = zh, X = sh. The speaker has to let some air to escape as you speak them. In other words, air has to be hastily cut off before articulating a given syllable. Additionally, the sound “N”has to be pronounced for every consonant word Ny", (water). Furthermore, the sound which the crossed “I” symbol represents has a close resemblance to the sound of the letter “I” in English words such as “mitt” or “kit”. It need to be taken into consideration that the written Mixtex does not put much emphasis on capitalizing or not capitalizing the commencement of a sentence or the use of exclamation or question marks as a form of punctuation.


In general, Mixtec has six vowels which differ from one another in nasality. a = ah; e = ay; i = ee; o = oh; u = oo. There is also a nasalization of these vowels following a nasal consonant. For example, na3n4/’dark’ is expressed as na3’a 4’. Content words are chiefly minimally bimoraic, constituting of a monosyllable that contains a long vowel (creaky and modal voice). It can also be a dissyllable with vowels that are more shorter such as taa/ ‘man’ or keta/ entering. Although majority of the words contains this form of structure, maximal words are normally trimoraic in nature such as ki3ja4 which is to begin and kunika/ being iside.


The language has no diphthong in composition and structure

  1. 2. Allophones

The Mixtec language is mainly featured by nasalization. Some of the sounds such as /w/, and /m/ are categorized as allophones owing to their nasalization. Furthered, nasalization mostly occurs on the right-most morpheme of the word while spreading leftwards until hitting an obstruent consonant (such as /p,t,k/). For instance, the word ‘yati' would be nasalized to /i/ but cannot spread since it is obstructed by an obstruent on the left side. On the other hand, the word “nani'/ long would have a nasalization of /i/ and would spread to the entire word since there is no obstruction to by the obstruent. Each of the 6 vowels harbors some form of nasalized form. If written, the vowel that is to be nasalized has to be marked with a small ‘n’ in the upper right hand corner of the letter. However, nasalized vowels that are adjacent to their nasalized variants become less nasalized.


Mixtec is normally considered a tonal language. This implies that a single word, written or spoken can have a divergence of meanings depending on the stress and tone used by the speaker in its pronunciation. Currently, three basic linguistic tones exist: low, medium and high. For instance, the word yaa, may be used to mean tongue, ashes, or music depending on hot it has been pronounced. On the other hand, the word koo, can either mean mean sitting down or a snake.

Written Tones

high tone


mid tone


low tone


  1. Syllable structure

The basic presentation of the Mixtec phenomes is featured by internal differences of the language families. Furthermore, the languages status as a vernacular language has been a significant obstacle to establishing its alphabet. However, Academy of the Mixtec Language has adopted an alphabet with the following letters:

a, tʃ, ð, e, f,g,I, ɨ,x,k,l,m,n, nᵈ, ŋ, ɲ, o, p,r,s,t, ts,u, β, ʃ, ʒ, ˀ


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)