The Opata languages are agglutinating languages. They have also been known as Teguima / Tehui, Sonori, Dohema, Ópata, Ore, Hure, Hegue, Hegui, Jova / Joval, Aivino, Eudebe, Isoribe, Ocorini and even Tehueco. The distant mother language Proto Uto-Aztecan constitutes the most remote origin known by scholars. It is later believed to have been influenced by the languages of the southwest U.S. languages, Northwest Mexico and Nahuatl.
The Opata Language is as musical as Tarascan, as sonorous and philosophical as Nahuatl, than it is for intrinsic verses and poetry like Quechua, which is as rich and varied in precise morphic elements as Cakchiquel and very interesting for the study of the pre-Hispanic archeology of Mexico as the Maya; but it has qualities that have not been sufficiently studied, such as, among others, the richness of its synonymy with respect to voices of special interest for the study of the biological sciences. Since few indigenous languages have so varied in interesting nomenclature to distinguish varieties of plant and animal species.
▼Southern Uto-Aztecan (53)
Here is our latest official alphabet (version 2.5) in English and Spanish:
Link to the document
Here the ZIP file with the audio files of the words used as examples in the alphabet:
Link to the audio files
Noraguas Opatas, brothers of other peoples of the region and non-native people, the Opata language is not extinct, but is temporarily “inactive”, but what is not the same? Many of you will ask, and we will explain it below in an entertaining way and without going into many details.
It is important to mention the languages considered “extinct” as “inactive” are those that no longer have fully competent L1 speakers, but these two terms have their differences which we explain below:
Although “inactive” language is not used for daily life, there is an ethnic community (we the Opatas) that is associated with an inactive language and sees language as a symbol of the identity of that community that still retains some social uses.
In contrast, an extinct language is no longer claimed by any existing community as the language of its heritage identity and therefore with the lack of social uses. It should be noted that some extinct languages, such as Latin, may continue to be used as second languages only for specific, restricted, often vehicular functions, which are generally not related to ethnic identity.
Currently, there is an ongoing project in our nation for the organization and creation of resources for the revitalization, teaching and learning of our Ópata language, thanks to volunteers including linguist experts such as Michael Everdell and Christian Ruvalcaba and Jesus Acuña (Yoeme; yaqui ) who have decided to invest part of their time for this cause with the hope of completing it by 2024.
At the same time, we are working with the volunteers of “Indigenous Languages of Mexico on the Web” for the dissemination of our language through info-graphics and the creation of other info-graphics of the animals of the Opata region internally.