Journal of Undergraduate Research


Jicaquean, Tol, acoustic phonetic analysis






Tol is one of the languages belonging to the language family referred to as Jicaquean in the linguistic literature. It has roughly 200 speakers remaining in a single community in northern Honduras, called Montaña de la Flor. Some relatively recent grammatical descriptions of the language provide useful but incomplete information on the grammatical principles of Tol (Holt, 1999; Dennis, 1992; Dennis & Dennis, 1983), and they contradict each other. The need for a correct understanding of Tol is increased by the fact that Tol is an endangered language. Additionally, it is currently a language isolate and is not similar to any other living language, and is primarily a spoken language only, leaving it more likely to die in the near future. This is not only a loss of a language, but a loss of culture, stories, and unique ideologies and values. A correct understanding of the distinctive sounds of Tol leads to the ability to create a writing system and grammar materials to distribute to the Tol speaking community for language preservation. The community of speakers is very engaged in language revitalization and has requested language materials. This study aimed to provide information about the phonetic and phonological structure necessary for the creation of future materials.