Tojolabal is a Mayan language spoken in Chiapas, Mexico. It is related to the Chuj language spoken in Guatemala. Tojolabal is spoken especially in the departments of the Chiapanecan Colonia of Las Margaritas by about 20,000 people.
|51,733 (2010 census)|
The name Tojolabal derives from the phrase [tohol aˈbal], meaning "right language". Nineteenth-century documents sometimes refer to the language and its speakers as "Chaneabal" (meaning "four languages", possibly a reference to the four Mayan languages -- Tzotzil, Tzeltal, Tojolabal, and Chuj—spoken in the Chiapas highlands and nearby lowlands along the Guatemala border).
Anthropologist Carlos Lenkersdorf has claimed several linguistic and cultural features of the Tojolabal, primarily the language's ergativity, show that they do not give cognitive weight to the distinctions subject/object, active/passive. This he interprets as being evidence in favor of the controversial Sapir-Worf hypothesis.
- Lenkersdorf, Carlos (1996). Los hombres verdaderos. Voces y testimonios tojolabales. Lengua y sociedad, naturaleza cite y cultura, artes y comunidad cósmica. Mexico City: Siglo XXI. ISBN 968-23-1998-6.
- Tojolabʼal Collection of Jill Brody at the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America, including audio recordings. Access is restricted but available to researchers by request.