From Huehuetla to Turtle Island: a collaborative model for Indigenous language preservation and revitalization- CNERG

May 29, 2023
Lhima'alh'ama' living dictionary logo

Rita Palacios, PhD, School of Interdisciplinary Studies

The Lhima'alh'ama' Project is an initiative aimed at creating a comprehensive dictionary for the Lhi’ma’alh’ama' language, also known as Huehuetla Tepehua. This language is spoken by the Ma’alh’ama people of Huehuetla, Hidalgo, and is currently at risk of extinction, with less than 1600 speakers, most of whom are over the age of forty, according to UNESCO. 

To accomplish this goal, a team from Conestoga collaborated with a group in Huehuetla, Hidalgo, who gathered lexical lists, images, and audio recordings. The Conestoga team was responsible for meticulously editing and organizing this valuable data. The end result was the creation of a dynamic dictionary focused on common medicinal plants, utilizing the collected information from the Hidalgo team. 

This living dictionary goes beyond a mere compilation of words and definitions. It incorporates audio recordings and photographs, providing a rich multimedia experience. To encourage further preservation and contribution to the dictionary, it is made available under a Creative Commons license and produced in Lhima'alh'ama', Spanish, and English. By adopting this approach, the project aims to ensure the ongoing vitality of the Lhi’ma’alh’ama' language and facilitate its accessibility to a wider audience. 

Learn more on the project website.

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