Quioquitani Zapotec
(Quierí Zapotec)


The language spoken in Santa Catarina Quioquitani (ISO code ztq) is a member of the Zapotec language family. The language area is located in the mountains south of Oaxaca City, in southern Mexico (see map), in the district of San Carlos Yautepec.

Map: Where Quioquitani is located


The variety of Zapotec spoken in Santa Catarina Quioquitani is similar to that spoken in other towns of the district: Santa Catalina Quierí, Santo Tomás Quierí, Santo Domingo Lachivitó, San Pedro Leapi, Santiago Lachivía, San Pedro Martir Quiechapa and San Baltazar Chivaguela. In the towns of San Pedro Martir Quiechapa and San Baltazar Chivaguela, only the elderly continue to speak Zapotec. Though the people of the various towns are, for the most part, able to communicate in Zapotec, there are differences in speech from one town to the next. The total of Zapotec speakers in all the towns is approximately 4,000 (1990).


Quioquitani house
Santa Catarina Quioquitani kitchen


Santa Catarina Quioquitani is named after a large rock surface on the side of a hill at the edge of town. The people refer to themselves as the people of "ktañ" (which refers to the rock). The elders recall that at one time they lived among the people of Santa Catalina Quierí. Consequently, the dialects they speak are very similar. Santa Catalina Quierí is located further down the mountain at the side of a river. Their altitudes are approximately 7,000 and 6,500 feet respectively. Both towns are bounded by pine forest.




Quioquitani Zapotec has no plural morpheme. To indicate plurality one must use numbers or other quantifying adjectives.

Whereas many varieties of Zapotec use a prefix consisting of a retroflex alveolar flap (like r in Spanish or the sound in the middle of "ladder" in English) for the habitual aspect, the Quioquitani Zapotec Habitual aspect is a voiceless palatal affricate before vowels ("ch") and a voiceless palatal fricative ("sh") before consonants.


--Michael Ward


Publications available on this site


Ward, Michael, Emiliano Zurita Sánchez, Steve Marlett. Ilustraciones fonéticas de lenguas amerindias: Santa Catarina Quioquitani. (consulted Sept. 1, 2014) 

Marlett, Stephen A. and Velma B. Pickett. 2001. Pluralization in Zapotec Languages. Instituto Lingüístico de Verano, A.C.