Poemo Sayula Popoluca

This poem was written in his native languageby Panuncio Isidoro Rafael, a resident of the town Sayula de Aleman, State of Veracruz, Mexico, and a former school-teacher. The language is Sayula Popoluca, a language of the Mixe branch of the Mixe-Zoque language-family, whose six or seven remaining languages are spoken in the southern region of Mexico. Sayula Popoluca is believed to still have about 3000 fluent speakers, almost all of them living in and around Sayula de Alemen.

In my transcription of the original poem I have had to employ a couple of special spelling-conventions so as to avoid the need to use unusual characters: capital U -- here represents a high central vowel (which in the standard orthography of Sayula Popoluca is written as a lower-case u with a strike-through); and the apostrophe, somewhat more conventionally, represents a glottal stop. j conforms to Spanish orthographic practice, representing an h-like sound; while the digraph sh is pronounced more or less as in English; the colon represents a long vowel.

holt poem

Poemo Sayula Popoluca

My grampa says to my granma
Put on some really nice clothes
Because today we're going dancing
Kutraktak, kutraktak, kutraktak

We've got our spending-money
And we're feeling really fine
Since today we're going dancing
Kutraktak, kutraktak, kutraktak

We'll dance on that hard wooden floor
With our hands and our shoes
We'll make that wooden floor say
Kutraktak, kutraktak, kutraktak

Her earrings and her flowers
My granma's dancing is lovely
And she makes the wooden floor resound
Kutraktak, kutraktak, kutraktak

My grampa's sweating quite a bit now
My granma's feet hurt a lot
Because they're making their feet say
Kutraktak, kutraktak, kutraktak

My shirt and your dress are lovely
That's why everyone's watching us
As so beautifully we dance
Kutraktak, kutraktak, kutraktak

© 2002 - (translation - Dennis Holt)
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