Mixtec 1

The speaker is Fausto Sánchez from San Juan Mixtepec in the Juxtlahuaca District of western Oaxaca.   The terms used to identify the different variants of Mixtec raise important issues and point to a deeper conflict that has not yet been resolved between linguists who study these languages and the peoples themselves.  INALI  designates this Mixtec variant as  sa'an ntavi  or  “mixteco de oeste central.”  Mr. Sánchez, however, chooses to refer to his language as tu’un savi and sa’a savi, which translate as “word of the rain” and “language of the rain.”  The “ntavi” used by INALI is similar to “da’vi” referred to in variant #3 spoken by Jesus Estrada.  Both men point out that ntavi and  da’vi translate as “poor”  and was used to distinguish their language from that spoken by Spaniards.  The Mixtec term for “Spanish” is  sa’a stchila, meaning “rich language” (or: important, powerful or privileged language.)  While these labels may have been accurate descriptions of the relative economic and political status of the two groups, contemporary Mixtecs reject any notion of inferiority and are seeking to restore a sense of dignity and pride regarding their heritage and language.