Aztec Language

The Aztecs had many influences on modern day life, and one of these influences is language. The Aztecs spoke a language called Nahuatl. During their empire's rule, the Aztecs controlled most of Mexico, and this allowed the Nahuatl language to spread. When the Aztecs were conquered, the Latin languages and alphabet influenced Nahuatl. One of these influences was that Nahuatl became what is known as a literary language. This means that it became a written language, and many pieces of poetry, legal and administrative documents, and codices were written in Nahuatl. Because of these written documents, Nahuatl can still be studied today. In fact, it is the most studied and well documented language of the Americas.

How was Nahuatl spoken? Nahuatl was an agglutinant language. This means that words were formed by putting together different combinations of prefixes, suffixes, and root words. This is also the reason why Nahuatl has such long words. For example, there is an eighteen syllable word in one Aztec dialect that means, "Your honorable people might have come along banging your noses so as to make them bleed, but in fact you didn't". Because of how the language was spoken, one could keep adding prefixes, suffixes, and root words to make phrases, thus creating extremely long words. There were also many different dialects of Nahuatl. These dialects could be so different from each other that speakers of the language would not understand each other.

Nahuatl and the Spanish language have influenced each other over the years. Spanish is now the dominant language in Mexico and during the transition from Nahuatl to Spanish, many words and grammar concepts influenced both languages. The English language has also been influenced by Nahuatl. The words tomato, chocolate, and coyote were Nahuatl words that the English language borrowed. The Nahuatl language spelled the words (xi) tomatl, xocolatl, and coyotl respectively. English was influenced by the Nahuatl language because of the geographic location of the United States and Mexico. Languages influence each other every day, and many different languages all over the world borrow words or grammar concepts from each other. Because Mexico and the United States border each other, many American language concepts influence the Spanish language and vice versa. Since Nahuatl had a great influence on Spanish language and Mexican culture, as the United States and Mexico interacted more the influence of the Nahuatl language was seen on the English language.

Nahuatl is still spoken today in many different dialects. Nahuatl is an indigenous language, which means that it was the language that the original people first spoke. The Nahuatl language has survived to modern day, even though Spanish is now the dominant language in many areas once ruled by the Aztec empire. The areas of Mexico that still speak Nahuatl today are parts of Mexico City, Durango, Guerrero, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Tabasco, Tloxcala, and Veracruz. The people in these areas most likely also speak Spanish, but in many cases Nahuatl might be a child's first language, and then they learn Spanish later in school or within the community.

Nahuatl is an interesting language because it was widely spoken during the time of the Aztec empire, but it can also still be heard today. This language did not die out; in fact, in continues to influence languages today such as Spanish and English. The Nahuatl language is another treasured artifact that survived from the Aztec empire, and many things can be learned about the Aztecs from their original language.