Tilquiapan Zapotec
San Miguel Tilquiápam
RegionOaxaca in Mexico
Native speakers
5,000 (2007)[1]
Latin script
Language codes
ISO 639-3zts

Tilquiapan Zapotec (Zapoteco de San Miguel Tilquiápam) is an Oto-Manguean language of the Zapotecan branch, spoken in southern Oaxaca, Mexico.

Santa Inés Yatzechi Zapotec is close enough to be considered a dialect, and Ocotlán Zapotec is also close. They were measured at 87% and 59% intelligibility, respectively, in recorded text testing.[2]



Vowel phonemes of Tilquiapan Zapotec[3]
Front Central Back
Close i ɨ u
Mid ɘ o
Open a

Each vowel can also be glottalized, a phenomenon manifested as either creaky voice throughout the vowel or, more commonly, as a sequence of a vowel and a glottal stop optionally followed by an echo of the vowel.[4]


Consonant phonemes of Tilquiapan Zapotec[5]
Bilabial Dental/
Palatal Velar
plain labialized
Nasal m n
Plosive b d tːʃ ɡ kːʷ ɡʷ
Fricative z ʃː ʒ
Approximant central j
lateral l͡d l

As with other Zapotec languages, the primary distinction between consonant pairs like /t/ and /d/ is not of voicing but between fortis and lenis (measured in length[6]), respectively, with voicing being a phonetic correlate.[5] There are two exceptions to this in Tilquiapan:

Neither is voiceless, but /nˑ/ is pronounced a little longer and /ld/ replaces /l/ in certain causative verbs in ways similar to other fortis/lenis consonantal changes (e.g. [blaˀa] 'get loose' vs. [bldaˀa] 'let loose').[5]



  • Egland, Steven; Cruz Ramos, Saúl; Bartholomew, Doris (1978), La inteligibilidad interdialectal en México: resultados de algunos sondeos [Interdialectal intelligibility in Mexico: study results] (in Spanish), México: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano, ISBN 9683100031
  • Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquiapan Zapotec" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 38 (1): 107–114, doi:10.1017/S0025100308003344
  • Nellis, Donald G.; Hollenbach, Barbara E. (1980), "Fortis versus lenis in Cajonos Zapotec phonology", International Journal of American Linguistics, 46 (2): 92–105, doi:10.1086/465639, S2CID 144452370