A Look at the Huamelutec Language

Method and Conclusion. See here.

Results. A ratings system was designed in terms of how difficult it would be for an English-language speaker to learn the language. In the case of English, English was judged according to how hard it would be for a non-English speaker to learn the language. Speaking, reading and writing were all considered.

Ratings: Languages are rated 1-6, easiest to hardest. 1 = easiest, 2 = moderately easy to average, 3 = average to moderately difficult, 4 = very difficult, 5 = extremely difficult, 6 = most difficult of all. Ratings are impressionistic.

Time needed. Time needed for an English language speaker to learn the language “reasonably well”: Level 1 languages = 3 months-1 year. Level 2 languages = 6 months-1 year. Level 3 languages = 1-2 years. Level 4 languages = 2 years. Level 5 languages = 3-4 years, but some may take longer. Level 6 languages = more than 4 years.

This post will look at the Huamelutec language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Hokan
Tequislatecan
Coastal Chantal

Huamelutec or Lowland Oaxaca Chantal, a Hokan language spoken in Mexico, has the odd glottalized fricatives , , ɬʼ and as its only glottalized consonants. They alternate with plain f, s, l and x. The , ɬʼ and sounds are extremely rare in the world’s languages, usually only found in 2-3 other languages, mostly in NW Caucasian. The sound occurs only in one other language – Tlingit. The sound is slightly more common, occurring in five other languages including Tlingit. In other languages, these odd sounds derived from sequences of basic sequences of consonant + q: Cq -> Cʔ -> glottalized fricative.

Sentence structure is odd:

“Hit the ball the man.”
“Hit the man the ball.”
“The man hit the ball.”

All mean the same thing.

Huamelutec gets a 6 rating, hardest of all.

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Filed under Applied, Language Families, Language Learning, Latin America, Linguistics, Mexico, Regional

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