Hiaki Language Dictionary

Imagine going to a new country or a new place that you have never been before and have no way of communicating or finding ways to express what you are feeling or wanting to the people of the area. It is for that reason that it is important to save the many thousands of languages that are spoken throughout the world. One of the important factors in not only saving a language but in teaching the language to others is the collection of words, or a dictionary.

A dictionary provides a source in helping to bridge the gap between languages and communication. Although the Hiaki language is still spoken in Mexico, the number of fluent speakers in Arizona has declined rapidly.

Mrs. Leyva is compiling a dictionary that will be useable by all who are interested in the Hiaki language, as it has the unique feature of being trilingual: Hiaki/Spanish/English. Many elder Hiaki speakers speak only Hiaki and Spanish, while many of the younger learners speak mainly only English. Many, like Mrs. Leyva herself, are trilingual.

This dictionary will help to bridge the divide across speech communities within the Pascua Yaqui tribe. It will be especially helpful to younger learners trying to interact with older fluent speakers. The older generation may be able to provide a translation of a Hiaki word into Spanish, but not English, but the younger learners may not have a large Spanish vocabulary, and consequently have difficulty grasping the meaning of the Hiaki word. In such cases, they will be able to turn to this dictionary to find good equivalents in all three languages.

Sample entry

bwania   (verb)
English: to volunteer, to offer
Spanish: ofrecer, encomendar
      Aman em emo bwania.
            English: “Offer your services over there.”
            Spanish: “Ofrescan sus servicios alla.”