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Language Information

Nahuatl, with the stress on the first syllable, was the language of the great empire of the Aztecs. At one time spoken over all of present-day Mexico, it is still the most important Indian language in the country. Its 1½ million speakers live mainly in the states of Puebla, Veracruz, Hidalgo, and Guerrero, to the north, east, and south of Mexico City. Nahuatl belongs to the Uto-Aztecan family, which also includes a number of languages of the western United States. English words of Nahuatl origin include tomato, chocolate, avocado, coyote, and ocelot.

At the time of the Spanish conquest Aztec writing was entirely pictographic. The Spanish introduced the Roman script and soon recorded a large body of Aztec prose and poetry. The full text of the prayer to Tlaloc, the god of rain, runs about 200 lines.

Nahuatl is spoken/used in the following countries:
Mexico, United States of America.

Language Family
Family: North American Indian
Subgroup: Uto-Aztecan

Copyright © Kenneth Katzner, The Languages of the World, Published by Routledge.

Writing Sample

Writing Sample


Perhaps now is coming true, now is coming to pass,
what the men and women of old knew, what they handed down:
that the heavens over us shall sunder,
that the demons of the air shall descend
and come to destroy the earth and devour the people,
that darkness shall prevail, that nothing be left on earth.
Our grandmothers and grandfathers knew it,
they handed it down, it was their tradition
that it would come to pass, that it would come to be.

A Prayer to Tlaloc

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