Coatepec Totonac (CTot) is a Sierra or Highland variety of the Totonac-Tepehua language family, spoken in the town of Coatepec, Puebla, a town of approximately 1000 inhabitants at the end of a side road branching off the carretera interserrana which crosses the northern Sierra of the state of Puebla.
CTot is a member of the Totonac-Tepehua (a.k.a. Totonacan) family which encompasses several languages spoken by ca. 240,000 people (INEGI 2010), in the area where the states of Puebla, Veracruz and Hidalgo meet. The family consists of two branches––Tepehua and Totonac, which in turn is divided into four groups, Misantla, Northern, Lowland, and Sierra. Coatepec Totonac is a Sierra or Highland language.
CTot is an agglutinating, polysynthetic language. It is predicate initial (VO:VS), with nominative-accusative alignment. It has an elaborate system of TAM categories, it marks subject and non-subject in the verb complex, which shows an extensive system of valency altering operations: several applicatives, a couple of causatives, two operations that delete subject: the anticausative and the non-specified subject construction, one that deletes the object that is theme. As it is often the case with polysynthetic languages, many other categories are expressed in the verb complex: several types of associated motion and direction, the repetitive, the desiderative, the totalitative, etc. Several languages of the Totonacan branch have been described to a larger or lesser extent. I refer the reader to Beck (to appear) for an overview of the language family.