Mixtec Language

Mixtec is one of eight branches of the Otomanguean language family, a family accounting for about a third of all the indigenous language speakers in Mexico today. Mixtecan and Zapotecan are two of the largest branches of this family.

Mixtec is spoken primarily in the state of Oaxaca, but there are significant groups of Mixtec speakers in the states of Puebla and Guerrero. In addition, migration has had the effect of creating significant Mixtec communities in the U.S., primarily in California.

Greetings are important in Mixtec culture. One must learn the proper greetings for each town or village visited. If a visitor arrives and can greet the people in their language, then that visitor is accepted as a member of the community. If the visitor does not know the greetings, then that person will be considered an outsider.

The market is a meeting place for the community and neighboring communities. It provides an important social function of bringing people together.