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Nahuatl Language Facts and Information

Information About Nahuatl Language

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Extinct: no
Family: Other
Branch: Uto-Aztecan
Continent: North America
Country: Mexico
 
Region: CENTRAL: States of Tlaxcala and Puebla. CLASSICAL: Central Mexico, Tenochtitlán, Aztec Empire. COATEPEC: State of Mexico, Coatepec Costales, Tlacultlapa, Texcalco, Tonalapa, Maxela, Machito de las Flores, Chilacachapa, Miacacsingo, Los Sabinos, and Acapetlahuaya, all west of Iguala, Guerrero. The language has strongest usage in Coatepec Costales and Chilacachapa. DURANGO: Southern Durango, San Pedro de la Jicoras and San Juan de Buenaventura. One day trail from nearest air strip or highway. GUERRERO: Balsas River, Guerrero. HUASTECA, ESTE: Huautla, Hidalgo is the center; also in Puebla and Veracruz. 1,500 villages. HUASTECO OESTE: Tamazunchale, San Luis Potosí is the center; also in Hidalgo. 1,500 villages. HUAXCALECA: Puebla, towns of Chichiquila and Chilchotla. ISTMO-COSOLEACAQUE: Veracruz, Cosoleacaque, Oteapan, Jáltipan de Morelos, Hidalgotitlán, Soconusco. ISTMO-MECAYAPAN: Southern Veracruz, Mecayapan Municipio, Mecayapan and Tatahuicapan towns. ISTMO-PAJAPAN: Veracruz, Pajapan, San Juan Volador, Santanón, Sayultepec, Jicacal. IXHUATLANCILLO: Veracruz, Ixhuatlancillo Municipio, town of Ixhuatlancillo, just 15 minutes north of Orizaba city. MICHOACÁN: Michoacán near the coast around Pómaro. MORELOS: Morelos, towns of Cuentepec, Santa Catarina Tepoztlán, Tetela del Volcán, Hueyapan, Temixco, Xocotitlán, Tepetlapa, Puente de Ixtla. OAXACA NORTE: Northwestern Oaxaca, near Southeast Puebla Náhuatl, towns of Santa María Teopoxco, San Antonio Nanahuatipan, San Gabriel Casa Blanca, Teotitlán del Camino, San Martín Toxpalan, Ignacio Zaragosa, Apixtepec, El Manzano de Mazatlán, Cosolapa, Tesonapa (one of the last 2 towns is in Veracruz). In Puebla: Coxcatlán. OMETEPEC: Southern Guerrero, Arcelia, Acatepec, Quetzalapa de Azoyú, Rancho de Cuananchinicha, and El Carmen; and some in Oaxaca, Juxtlahuaca District, Cruz Alta and San Vicente Piñas towns; and Putla District, Concepción Guerrero town. ORIZABA: Veracruz, Orizaba area. PUEBLA CENTRAL: South of Puebla City (97" 08" 56 W Long, 17" 10" 27 N Lat), Teopantlán, Tepatlaxco de Hidalgo, Tochimilco, Atoyatempan, Huatlathauca, Huehuetlán (near Molcaxac). PUEBLA NORTHE: Naupan, northern Puebla. PUEBLA SURESTE: Southeast Puebla, Tehuacán region, Chilac and San Sebastián Zinacatepec area. PUEBLA, SIERRA: Northeast Puebla. SANTA MARÍA LA ALTA: Puebla, Santa María la Alta, Atenayuca. A pocket northwest of Tehuacán, off the Puebla-Tehuacán highway. TABASCO: State of Tabasco, towns of Cupilco and Tecominoacan. TEMASCALTEPEC: State of Mexico, towns of San Mateo Almomoloa, Santa Ana, La Comunidad, and Potrero de San Jose, southwest of Toluca. TENANGO: North of Puebla City, just south of Zacatlán, Puebla, 8 km. on a road which branches to the east. 6 towns: San Miguel Tenango, Yehuala, Cuacuila, Tetelatzingo, Zonotla, Zoquitla. TETELCINGO: State of Morelos, town of Tetelcingo. TLALITZLIPA: Near Zacatlán, Puebla, 1 village. TLAMACAZAPA: Tlamacazapa, 1 hour from Taxco on a good road.
Countries Where Spoken: CENTRAL: 40,000 speakers with 1,000 monolinguals (1990 census). Ethnic population 63,000 in 1986. Speakers of all Náhuatl varieties: 1,376,898 (1980 census). CLASSICAL: None COATEPEC: 1,400 speakers including 15 monolinguals (1990 census). DURANGO: 1,000 (1990 census). GUERRERO: 150,000 to 200,000 (1998 SIL). HUASTECA, ESTE: 410,000 (1991 SIL). HUASTECO OESTE: 400,000 (1991 SIL). HUAXCALECA: 7,000 speakers, including 55 monolinguals (1990 census). 800 speakers are over 50. 2% under 20 speak Náhuatl. 40 of the monolinguals are over 50. The population in about 12 municipios no longer speak Náhuatl. ISTMO-COSOLEACAQUE: 5,144 speakers, including 12 monolinguals (1990 census). ISTMO-MECAYAPAN: 20,000 (1994 SIL). ISTMO-PAJAPAN: 7,000 speakers, including 500 monolinguals (1990 census). IXHUATLANCILLO: 4,000 speakers, including 600 monolinguals or more (1990 census). MICHOACÁN: 3,000 (1990 census). MORELOS: 15,000 speakers, including possibly 200 to 500 monolinguals (1990 census). OAXACA NORTE: 9,000 including 1,400 monolinguals (1990 census). OMETEPEC: 433 (1990 census), 12 towns. ORIZABA: 120,000 (1991 SIL). PUEBLA CENTRAL: 16,000 speakers, including 1,430 monolinguals, 800 in Teopantlán, 600 in Huatlatlauca (1998 SIL). PUEBLA NORTHE: 60,000 (1990 census). PUEBLA SURESTE: 130,000 (1991 SIL). PUEBLA, SIERRA: 125,000 (1983). SANTA MARÍA LA ALTA: 2,000 to 3,000 speakers, including at least 9 monolinguals (1992 SIL). TABASCO: None TEMASCALTEPEC: 311 speakers in 4 communities (1990 census). There may be fewer actual speakers. TENANGO: 1,500 to 2,000 (1999 SIL). TETELCINGO: 3,500 (1990 census). TLALITZLIPA: 108 speakers (1990 census). TLAMACAZAPA: 1,548, including 12 monolinguals (1990 census).
Countries Where Official: Mexico
   
Native Speakers: 1,376,898
Speakers Total: 1,376,898
  
Phrasebase members who speak Nahuatl at a native level: 0
Phrasebase members who speak Nahuatl at a conversational level: 0
Phrasebase members primary language they are trying to learn is Nahuatl: 0
Phrasebase members secondary language they are trying to learn is Nahuatl: 0
  
Three Letter Code: NHN
Alternative Names: CENTRAL AZTEC, TLAXCALA-PUEBLA NÁHUATL, CLASSICAL AZTEC, MEXICANERO, DURANGO AZTEC, GUERRERO AZTEC, EASTERN HUASTECA AZTEC, HIDALGO NÁHUATL, HUASTECA NÁHUATL, WESTERN HUASTECA AZTEC, TAMAZUNCHALE NÁHUATL, HUASTECA NÁHUATL, HUAXCALECA AZTEC, CHICHIQUILA NÁ
Dialects:
 
Summary: CENTRAL: The most monolingual location is northeast of Puebla City about 15 km. Spanish is used by a few. There are some monolingual children. CLASSICAL: Extinct. NT 1833. COATEPEC: 54% intelligibility of Santa Catarina (Morelos), 48% of Atliaca (Guerrero), 35% of Copalillo Guerrero, 28% of Zongolica (Orizaba). Bilingualism in Spanish. It is reported that only those over 40 speak the language. 11 monolinguals are over 50 (1990 census). Investigation needed: bilingual proficiency. DURANGO: 76% intelligibility with Michoacán Náhuatl (closest). Moderate bilingualism in Spanish. All ages. Vigorous. "Mexicanero" is the local name. GUERRERO: Bilingual level estimates for Spanish are 0 5%, 1 20%, 2 40%, 3 20%, 4 10%, 5 5%. SVO, nontonal, long words, affixes, clitics. Desert. Mountain mesa. Peasant agriculturalists. 600 to 2,200 meters. Traditional religion, Christian. NT 1987. HUASTECA, ESTE: 85% intelligibility between Eastern and Western Huasteca Náhuatl. Survey of other dialects needed. Southeastern Huasteca Náhuatl may need separate materials. Bilingual level estimates for Spanish are 0 50%, 1 10%, 2 10%, 3 10%, 4 19%, 5 1%. Nontonal, SVO, long words, affixes. Radio programs. Scrub forest. Mountain mesa. Swidden agriculturalists. 0 to 2,000 meters. NT 1984. HUASTECO OESTE: 85% intelligibility between Eastern and Western Huasteco Náhuatl. Separate literature may be needed for 100,000 speakers of a Central dialect. Bilingual level estimates for Spanish are 0 50%, 1 10%, 2 10%, 3 10%, 4 19%, 5 1%. Investigation needed: intelligibility with Central Huasteca. Nontonal, SVO, long words, affixes. Radio programs. Scrub forest. Mountain mesa. Swidden agriculturalists. 0 to 2,000 meters. NT 1986. HUAXCALECA: 87% intelligibility of Sierra de Puebla Náhuatl, 85% on Orizaba Náhuatl. ISTMO-COSOLEACAQUE: 84% intelligibility of Pajapan, 83% of Mecayapan, 46% on Xoteapan. Bilingualism in Spanish. Most of the monolinguals are over 50 years old. Investigation needed: bilingual proficiency. ISTMO-MECAYAPAN: It may be intelligible with Pipil of Honduras and El Salvador. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible portions 1952. ISTMO-PAJAPAN: 7,000 speakers, including 500 monolinguals (1990 census). IXHUATLANCILLO: 67% intelligibility of Chilac (Southeastern Puebla), 60% of Zautla, 50% of Canoa and Teopoxco, 48% of Orizaba, low intelligibility of other Náhuatl. All ages. 50% of children are totally monolingual upon entering school. 60% to 70% of each age group is monolingual. There are primary schools and 1 secondary. Animal husbandry: cattle; agriculturalists: sugarcane; merchants. 4,500 feet. MICHOACÁN: Bilingual level estimates for Spanish are 0 0%, 1 0%, 2 0%, 3 45%, 4 50%, 5 5%. SVO, VSO, long words, affixes. Literacy rate in first language: 5% to 10% (mainly children). Literacy rate in second language: 35%. Scrub forest. Mountain slope. Sedentary pastoralists, swidden agriculturalists. 200 meters. NT 1998. MORELOS: 72% inherent intelligibility of Cuaohueyalta (Northern Puebla), 69% of Atliaca (Guerrero), 54% of Macuilocatl (Western Huasteca), 40% of Yahualica (Eastern Huasteca), 36% of Pómaro (Michoacán), 34% of Tetelcingo, 27% of Chilac (Southeast Puebla), 19% of Tatóscac (Highland Puebla), 0% on Mecayapan (Isthmus). Dialects in Canoa, Tlaxcala, and northern Puebla need to be compared with this. Bilingual level estimates for Spanish are 0 0%, 1 5%, 2 10%, 3 45%, 4 30%, 5 10%. Only a few children do not speak Náhuatl. Cuentepec has the most vigorous language use. There is a secondary school. Nontonal, SVO, long words, affixes. There is a bilingual primary school. Deciduous forest. Mountain mesa. Peasant agriculturalists. 4,000 feet or higher. OAXACA NORTE: 80% intelligibility of Orizaba Náhuatl, 76% of Southeast Puebla and Canoa, 75% of North Puebla, 48% of Tatóscac. OMETEPEC: Intelligibility testing in Quetzalapa yielded 77% on Santa Catarina, Mexico (near Texcoco) and 70% on Atliaca, Guerrero. May be 3 languages. Bilingualism in Spanish. Investigation needed: intelligibility with dialects, bilingual proficiency. ORIZABA: 79% intelligibility with closest Náhuatl (Morelos). Bible portions 1995. PUEBLA CENTRAL: 87% intelligibility of Zongolica, Ver.; 82% of Chilac, Pue. and Tlaxpanaloya, Pue.; 69% of Zautla, Pue.; 68% of Canoa, Pue.; 60% of Teopoxco, Oax. Bilingualism in Spanish. 70% to 80% of children entering school in some towns do not speak Spanish. In other towns the younger generation are not learning Náhuatl. There are schools in most towns. Agriculturalists, mat makers, laborers to other areas. 5,000 feet or more. PUEBLA NORTHE: Bilingual level estimates for Spanish are 0 20%, 1 30%, 2 30%, 3 15%, 4 5%, 5 0%. SVO, nontonal, long words, affixes, clitics. Pine forest. Mountain slope. Swidden, peasant agriculturalists. 2,000 meters. NT 1979. PUEBLA SURESTE: Approximately 60% intelligibility with Morelos Náhuatl. Bilingual level estimates for Spanish are 0 30%, 1 20%, 2 20%, 3 20%, 4 10%, 5 10%. Nontonal, long words, affixes. Desert. Mountain slope, plains. Peasant, intensive agriculturalists with irrigation. Bible portions 1992-1995. PUEBLA, SIERRA: Bilingual level estimates for Spanish, Totonaca are 0 20%, 1 30%, 2 30%, 3 10%, 4 5%, 5 5%. VSO, nontonal, long words, affixes. Tropical forest. Mountain slope. Pastoralists, peasant agriculturalists. 1,000 to 1,500 meters. NT 1979. SANTA MARÍA LA ALTA: 60% intelligibility of Pómaro (Michoacán), 53% of Huatlatlauca, Puebla; 50% of Zautla (Highland Puebla), Chilac (Southeastern Puebla); 40% of Zongolica (Orizaba); 33% of Mecayapan, Veracruz (Isthmus); 30% of Canoa, Puebla. Reported to be bilingual in Spanish. Investigation needed: bilingual proficiency in Spanish. TABASCO: Recently extinct. Extinct. TEMASCALTEPEC: 53% intelligibility of Coatepec, Guerrero; 45% of Pómaro, Michoacán; 40% of Santa Catarina, Morelos; 10% of Tlaxpanaloya, Puebla. Reported to be bilingual in Spanish. Investigation needed: bilingual proficiency. TENANGO: Close to Southeastern Puebla Náhuatl, but mother tongue speakers of both discovered many differences over a 2-day period. About 50% to 60% intelligibility with Sierra Náhuatl and Northern Puebla Náhuatl, about 80% to 90% with Southeastern Puebla Náhuatl. Most speakers can apparently speak some Spanish, but are more comfortable in Náhuatl. Children play in Náhuatl. Positive attitudes toward Náhuatl. Agriculturalists: corn, peas, chilicayotes. 2,000 meters. Christian. TETELCINGO: Distinct from Morelos Náhuatl. Bilingual level estimates for Spanish are 0 1%, 1 5%, 2 30%, 3 24%, 4 30%, 5 10%. Grammar. SVO, VSO, VOS (order of frequency), nontonal, long words, affixes, clitics. Savannah. Mountain slope, plains. Agriculture. 1,500 to 1,800 meters. NT 1980. TLALITZLIPA: 77% inherent intelligibility of Tlaxpanaloya (North Puebla), 58% of Macuilocatl (Western Huasteco Náhuatl), 41% of Tatóscac (Highland Puebla). Nearly extinct. TLAMACAZAPA: Different from Morelos Náhuatl and Guerrero Náhuatl. 79% inherent intelligibility of Guerrero. Some young children are speakers.
 

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