Huave is a language isolate spoken in several villages on the southern side of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca, Mexico. In the village of San Mateo del Mar, most of the population is bilingual in Spanish and Huave, although there are some monolingual Huave speakers. Children learn Huave and Spanish at home and elementary schools are bilingual. In other villages Huave is much less widely used. The total number of speakers is probably under 20,000.

San Mateo speakers often refer to the Huave language as ombeayiiüts ('our language') and to Huave people as ikoots ('us'). Some prefer to avoid the nonnative term Huave altogether.


Fact sheets: Film: Hombres y mujeres ikoots (in Spanish, with some subtitled Huave speech)

Photos from our July 2006 fieldtrip

Sound samples:

Text samples:

Academic papers/presentations:

    Phrasal tone domains in San Mateo Huave - slides from an informal presentation I gave at Penn in November 2006. Includes some sound samples as well as an overview of Rolf Noyer's 1991 paper. A more detailed writeup of this material is available here. Both of these files are drafts; please contact me beforehand if you wish to cite anything.

Page created and maintained by Marjorie Pak, Department of Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania