Chontal Maya love poem
A yëts' tan nen
Jin ump'e kë pitsilt'an
La'ix të jëmlëwe, bixe u chen
Jindaba u xupiba kë "Dakobalet"
Hablante del Yokot'an (Chontal de Tabasco) y certificado por el gobierno
→ French poem ←
Chontal de Centla language
I present here my love poem translated into Yokot'an (yoko = true, t'an = language), exactly in the Chontal dialect of Centla which is one of the central dialects.
Other names and dialect names that can be found are: Chontal de Centla, Chontal Maya, Chontal de Tabasco central, Chontal de Tabasco del Norte, Yocot'an, Buena Vista Chontal, Chontal de Tabasco del Sureste, Tamulté de las Sábanas Chontal, Chontal de Tabasco del Este, Tabasco Chontal, Chontal de Tabasco, Chontal, Miramar Chontal.
Centla is a swampy area, and Tabasco Chontal is one of the many Mayan languages in the area. This Mayan language of the Ch'ol language group developed from a proto Mayan language that was still alive 4 millennia ago.
The word chontal which means foreigner in Nahuatl, is the word that the Mexicans used to designate this people and their language.
The different variants of the Tabasco chontal, group together the dialects: east, south-east and central. These dialects are each others understandable even if they have some differences in structure or lexicon.
The majority of Chontales are now bilingual with Spanish and the number of speakers follows their growing demographics. If it is around 35,000, it should be noted that Mexican assimilation policy has just left some elder monolingual speakers today.
After a government desire to assimilate the indigenous populations, for 50 years, efforts have been made to preserve the chontal language. Bilingual teachings have been created, and numerous efforts have been made to change the prejudices attached to indigenous languages.
Chontal Maya people
We find Chontal Maya people (yoko yinikob, yoko ixikob = real men, real women), in Mexico, in the Chontalpa, in the north and center of the state of Tabasco. Those who speak the variant of Centla, that I present here, live in the northeast of Tabasco.
The Chontal Maya are probably the descendants of the Mayan Putún and should not be confused with the Chontal of Oaxaca.
When the Spaniards arrived, the Chontal were the most numerous in present-day Tabasco, which they shared with the Nahuas, Choles and Zoques. They traded throughout the region through well established trade channels.
They were then decimated by the conflicts, by their exploitation as a labor force in the haciendas, and especially because of the epidemics from the old world.
These are the Chontal Maya who defeated by Cortes, ceded to him the Malinche (Malintzin, Marina), which during another war had been ceded to them.
Today the Chontal Maya have a population whose demography is growing again, and if they have adapted to modernity, they continue to keep their traditions alive.