A to Z challenge · Bloggers · languages

N is for … Nahuatl

Blogging from A to Z

Theme: Languages of the World


The term Nahuatl (nawatlahtolli) covers a number of closely related languages that form the southernmost branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. It serves as a general name for 27 linguistic variants, some mutually unintelligible, that are spoken by over 1.6 million people in Mexico today. There are more speakers of Nahuatl than of any other indigenous language in Mexico today. The name Nahuatl means ‘something that sounds good’. The term sometimes also refers to Classical Nahuatl, the administrative language of the Aztec empire that served as a lingua franca in Central America from the 7th to the 16th century AD when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the New World.

The Nahua peoples are thought to have originated in what is now the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, and to have split off from the other Uto-Aztecan peoples and migrated into central Mexico around 500 AD, eventually spreading and becoming the dominant people in central Mexico.

Smile – you do not own all the world’s problems 🙂

Fascinating facts about the Aztecs

The Aztec capital was called Tenochtitlan and it was in the middle of a lake. Today it’s known as Mexico City and the lake is mostly drained

They were one of the first societies to mandate education for kids

Their language N’ahuatl had a picture-like, hieroglyphic alphabet

Legend has it that the Aztecs arranged battles with their enemies in order for each side to acquire prisoners/human sacrifices

They often played a ball game called Ullamaliztli which consisted of trying to get a rubber ball through impossibly small hoops without it touching the ground. You could only use your knees, elbows, head, and hips

Aztecs, along with other Central American civilizations, were the first to introduce chocolate to the Europeans. In fact, the word chocolate comes from the Nahuatl (Aztec) word “chocolātl” and was then adopted into English by way of Spanish.

Thanks for reading 🙂