Nahuatl is an Uto-Aztecan language spoken by about 1.5 million people in Mexico. The majority of speakers live in central Mexico, particularly in Puebla, Veracruz, Hildago, San Luis Potosi, Guerrero, Mexico (state), El Distrito Federal, Tlaxcala, Morelos and Oaxaca, and also in El Salvador. There are smaller numbers of Nahuatl speakers throughout the rest of Mexico, and in parts of the USA. There are numerous dialects of Nahuatl, some of which are mutually unintelligible. Most Nahuatl speakers also speak Spanish, with the exception of some of most elderly. Classical Nahuatl was the language of the Aztec empire and was used as a lingua franca in much of Mesoamerica from the 7th century AD until the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. The modern dialects of Nahuatl spoken in the Valley of Mexico are closest to Classical Nahuatl.

Nahuatl is not currently taught on the IU campus, but we do have access to some study materials. Contact the IU American Indian Studies Research Institute for additional historical materials. Learn more about Nahuatl here.