NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – It’s no secret that there are many things that are different and unique about New Mexico, that includes unique dialect of the Spanish language. A new project is underway to preserve the way of speaking that particular dialect.

Anyone with knowledge of the Spanish language knows you’ve come across a unique version of it in Northern New Mexico. That dialect is in danger of being lost. In the last three months, a group headed by Zackary Quintero, the Acting Director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center has started The Legacy Project to save the special dialect.

“The recent archives that have been published by different parts of national newspapers saying that specific form of Spanish spoken in rural Northern New Mexico particular is set to be extinct in 18 and a half years,” said Quintero. To save the language the group is asking community members to donate materials that could help them demonstrate how long it has been in use. Just last week, the center received one historic document that dates back to the 1800s.

Quintero said having a document like this will help in the preservation efforts. The work of the project will be carried out in three stages; the first, is traveling to different parts of the state to gather examples and conduct family interviews.

The final stage of the project will include publishing the group’s findings which will be available to the public at the NHCC. They hope to have their first public presentation by next year.