Mexico City, May 29 (EFE).- Students at Mexico’s National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) are developing a mobile device application that will translate from Spanish to Mixtec, thus contributing to helping preserve that indigenous language.
The institution said in a communique that designing “MixtecApp,” which is compatible with the Android operating system and does not require an Internet connection to be used, took a whole year of research into the Mixtec language plus six months of programming.
After typing a word in Spanish into the app and pushing the “Translate” button, MixtecApp takes care of the rest, filtering and determining if there are orthographic errors. If the word has been entered correctly, the equivalent in the Indian language is displayed.
IPN said that Mixtec is the indigenous language with the fourth-largest number of speakers in Mexico – behind Nahuatl, Maya and Zapotec – and the 700,000 people who speak its more than 40 variations live mainly in the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero.
According to the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples (CNDI), “the loss of a language means a considerable deterioration for universal culture, since it implies the disappearance of the world view, the cosmogony and the traditional knowledge of a human group.”
There are 68 native languages in Mexico, of which 14 are in danger of disappearing.
The IPN says that in Mexico there are a total of 456,620 Mixtec Indians living in the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Baja California, Puebla, Sinaloa, Veracruz, Baja California Sur, Sonora, Morelos, Mexico, Mexico City and Hidalgo.
The project being undertaken by Ernesto Hernandez Bernal and Leo Zuriel Hernendez Castillo, students at the IPN’s Superior Mechanical and Electrical Engineering School, seeks to contribute to increasing communication among more and more people.