The Triqui (/ˈtriːki/), or Trique, languages are Oto-Manguean languages of Mexico spoken by the Trique people of the state of Oaxaca and the state of Baja California (due to recent population movements). They belong to the Mixtecan branch together with the Mixtec languages and Cuicatec.
Ethnologue lists three major varieties:
Mexico's federal agency for its indigenous languages, Instituto Nacional de Lenguas Indígenas (INALI), identifies four varieties of Trique in its Catálogo de las lenguas indígenas nacionales published in early 2008. The variants listed by INALI are:
|Variant (name in Spanish)||Autonym||Localities|
|Triqui de San Juan Copala||xnánj nu' a||Oaxaca: Santiago Juxtlahuaca|
|Triqui de La Media||sná'ánj nì'||Oaxaca: San Martín Itunyoso|
|Triqui de La Alta||nánj nï'ïn||Oaxaca: Putla Villa de Guerrero|
|Triqui de La Baja||tnanj ni'inj||Oaxaca: Constancia del Rosario, Putla Villa de Guerrero|
All varieties of Triqui are tonal and have complex phonologies. The tone system of Copala Triqui is the best described and has eight tones.
Tones in Triqui languages are typically written with superscript numbers, so that chraa5 'river' indicates the syllable chraa with the highest (5) tone, while cha3na1 'woman' has the middle (3) tone on the first syllable and the lowest (1) tone on the second syllable.
Of the Triqui languages, the Copala dialect has undergone the most vowel loss, with many non-final syllables losing their vowels. The result, as in many other Oto-Manguean languages, is a complex set of consonant clusters. So, for instance, the word si5kuj5 'cow' in Itunyoso Triqui corresponds to skuj5 in Copala Triqui.
The tonal phonology of other Triqui languages is more complex than Copala Triqui. The tone system of Itunyoso Triqui has nine tones. The tone system of Chicahuaxtla Triqui has at least 10 tones  but may have as many as 16.
Triqui has been written in a number of different orthographies, depending on the intended audience. Linguists typically write the language with all tones fully marked and all phonemes represented. However, in works intended for native speakers of Triqui, a practical orthography is often used with a somewhat simpler representation.
The following Copala Triqui example is written in both the linguistic and the practical orthographies:
|Gloss||wh||3rd person||to||speak||2nd person||interrogative|
'To whom are you speaking?' (¿Con quién estás hablando?)
Triqui morphology is fairly limited. Verbs take a /k-/ prefix (spelled c- or qu-) to show completive aspect:
A'mii32 zo'1. 'You are speaking'.
C-a'mii32 zo'1. 'You spoke'.
The same /k-/ prefix plus a tonal change shows the potential aspect:
C-a'mii2 zo'1. 'You will speak.'
The tonal changes associated with the potential aspect are complex but always involve lowering the tone of the root (Hollenbach 1984).
There are also complex phonological processes that are triggered by the presence of root-final clitic pronouns. These pronouns (especially the first- and the second-person singular) may change the shape of the stem or alter its tone.
As a language subfamily, Triqui is interesting for having a large tonal inventory, complex morphophonology, and interesting syntactic phenomena, much of which has yet to be described.
Copala Triqui has a verb-subject-object word order:
'Maria put the tortilla in the tenate.'
Copala Triqui has an accusative marker maa3 or man3, which is obligatory for animate pronominal objects but optional otherwise:
'Maria saw the tortilla.'
'Maria saw you.'
This use of the accusative before some objects and not others is what is called differential object marking.
The following example (repeated from above) shows a Copala Triqui question:
|wh||3rd person||to||speak||2nd person||interrogative|
'To whom are you speaking?' (¿Con quién estas hablando?)
As this example shows, Copala Trique has wh-movement and pied-piping with inversion.
Copala Triqui syntax is described in Hollenbach (1992).
Triqui is interesting for having toggle processes as well. For negation, a completive aspect prefix signifies the negative potential. A potential aspect prefix in the same context signifies the negative completive.
The following is a sample of Copala Triqui taken from a legend about the sun and the moon. The first column is Copala Triqui, the second is a Spanish translation, and the third is an English translation.
||(1) Esta es una historia antigua que les voy a relatar a ustedes, para tí, para cualquier persona que pueda escuchar esto.
(2) Erase una vez, cuando nació el universo, una abuela que se llamaba Ca'aj.
(3) Vivía la abuela Ca’aj, quien deseaba mucho tener hijos.
(4) Deseaba mucho tener hijos, pero aquel tiempo era tiempo de tinieblas.
(5) Se preocupó, se preocupó la abuela Ca’aj.
(6) Entonces ella dijo, “Tengo esposo!”
(1) Here is an ancient legend that I am going to tell you all, you, and anyone who can hear this.
(2) Once upon a time, when the universe was born, they say that there lived a grandmother named Ca’aj.
(3) There lived our Grandmother Ca’aj, who wanted to have children very much.
(4) She wanted to have children very much, but that time was a time of darkness.
(5) Our Grandmother Ca’aj worried, worried.
(6) Then she said, “I have a husband!”
Triqui-language programming is carried by the CDI's radio stations XEQIN-AM, based in San Quintín, Baja California, and XETLA, based in Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca.
As of 2012, the Natividad Medical Center of Salinas, California was training medical interpreters bilingual in one of the Oaxacan languages (including Trique, Mixteco, or Zapotec), as well as in Spanish. In March 2014, Natividad Medical Foundation launched Indigenous Interpreting+, "a community and medical interpreting business specializing in indigenous languages from Mexico and Central and South America," including Trique, Mixteco, Zapotec, and Chatino.