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We’ve Just Added Zuni to Our Translation Repertoire



In the past, the North American continent was alight with a plethora of indigenous ethnolinguistic groups, each speaking their own, unique language. The arrival of European settlers dramatically impacted the cultures and languages of these native peoples, but they live on even today, some still speaking their ancestral language. This is particularly true in the American Southwest, where several indigenous languages retain a comparatively high number of speakers. One example is Zuni.


Zuni boasts around 9,600 speakers today, making it one of the most widely spoken indigenous languages in the United States (nearby Navajo is by far the largest, with around 200,000 speakers). Additionally, Zuni enjoys relatively high vitality, since the language is still learned by considerable numbers of Zuni children. Nonetheless, Zuni is still an endangered language, as some ethnic Zuni people are abandoning it in favor of the more dominant and prestigious English. As the Zuni language community mounts efforts to revitalize their precious language, we here at TranslationServices.com would like to do what we can do to help, too. That’s why we put together our own Zuni translation service.


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Zuni: a prominent language isolate of the American Southwest

Zuni speakers are found mostly in New Mexico, with small numbers of speakers in Arizona. Zuni’s location means it has sustained linguistic influence from nearby languages, including Hopi, Keresan, Tanoan, and, to a lesser extent, Navajo, all of which hail from different language families. Zuni itself has been classified as a language isolate, with linguists unable to identify it as belonging to any known language family. In a sense, this gives Zuni an added level of uniqueness and makes its preservation all the more important.


Zuni, or Shiwi’ma, as speakers call their language, has a relatively free word order but gravitates toward subject-object-verb, the most common word order among the world’s languages. The language features pronouns in three numbers (singular, dual, and plural) but only two persons (first and second, with no third-person pronouns). The pronouns come in subject, object, and possessive variants, with different forms for the subject and possessive pronouns depending on whether the pronoun is in the middle or at the end of an utterance. A unique feature of Zuni is the avoidance of adult names, which are considered very personal.


Zuni translation services for just about any document

Translating between Zuni and English may not be easy, but our Zuni translators are always up for the challenge. As proud native speakers of Zuni, our translators are passionate about both sharing Zuni texts with broader audiences and localizing content into their endangered native language. That means we can translate nearly anything you might have—including historical documents or traditional literature in Zuni! If you’re a researcher or government agency, we can help you translate surveys into Zuni to reach speakers in their native language, and if you’re a language activist, we can translate educational content, books, games, poems, websites, apps, and more into Zuni, which both helps learners pick up Zuni and native speakers enjoy their native in more domains. With experience in various types of translation, our Zuni translators are ready to help.


Why not get started on your Zuni translation project today? Just tell us what you’re looking for!

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