Oaxaca stands out among the states of Mexico for its high proportion of indigenous inhabitants, with an estimated one-third of Oaxaca’s population speaking an indigenous language natively. Going even further, around 50% of these indigenous language speakers are monolingual, unable to converse in Mexico’s national lingua franca of Spanish. The majority of Oaxaca’s indigenous languages come from the Oto–Manguean family (notably the state’s largest indigenous languages, Zapotec and Mixtec), with some Mixe–Zoque languages thrown into the mix as well. But Huave stands out as a language isolate.
Huave (also spelled Wabe) boasts around 20,000 native speakers in Oaxaca, so it’s far from the vibrant state’s biggest indigenous language. But Huave generally enjoys vigorous use in its key communities, with ample revitalization efforts also helping pave the way to a flourishing linguistic future. An indigenous radio station called Radio Ikoots—drawing from the Huave people’s name for themselves—broadcasts in Huave, and teenagers whose parents don’t speak Huave have even begun texting in the endangered language as a form of secret communication. But Huave remains endangered nonetheless, and translation services for the language are scarce. So we here at TranslationServices.com decided to put together our own Huave translation team.
Anyone who’d like to see a free quote for our Huave translation services should message us today to request one!
Diving into Huave, Oaxaca’s unique language isolate
A language isolate is a language with no discernable relation to any known language family, and that’s what Huave is, completely unrelated to the Oto–Manguean and Mixe–Zoque languages that otherwise populate Oaxaca. The Huave people live in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southeastern Oaxaca, principally in four communities—San Mateo del Mar, San Dionisio del Mar, San Francisco del Mar, and Santa María del Mar—and have inhabited the region for more than 3,000 years.
Grammatically, Huave exhibits certain similarities to nearby languages, including the Mayan languages, but is ultimately very unique. Its default word order is subject-verb-object, like in English, but in intransitive sentences (i.e., sentences without an object), the verb comes before the subject. Reduplication is common in Huave, with reduplication of a verb intensifying the action or indicating repetition. Huave verbs undergo significant inflection, marked for person, tense, aspect, and more, but perhaps the trickiest part of Huave is its ergative alignment. Ergative languages treat the object of transitive sentences the same way as the subject of intransitive sentences, which explains the change in word order between transitive and intransitive sentences.
Proudly providing Huave translation services you can rely on
Endangered as Huave may be, it’s still widely used across most aspects of social life in the southeastern Oaxaca communities where it’s spoken. We want to offer the Huave people—and anyone else around the world interested in Huave translation—access to high-quality, reliable Huave translation services, which is why we’ve put together a team of the best Huave translators from all four Huave-speaking communities. Our translators are native Huave speakers who are proud of their unique language, and their passion drives them to tirelessly strive for translation quality.
You may be wondering what the scope of our Huave translation service is. It’s as wide as possible—not only do we offer translation services both to and from all dialects of Huave, but we also accommodate translation needs from a wide range of fields and domains. Business translation? No problem! Academic translation? We’ll do our best, with some of our Huave translators boasting expertise in supplementary fields! Literary translation? We’d love to help you spread Huave stories around the world—or bring new content, in the form of novels, poems, websites, apps, games, and more, to the Huave-speaking people, helping to legitimize and promote their culturally important and unique language.
Would you like Huave translation services? Contact us today to get started, no matter what kind of translation project you have!