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see NahuatlanNahuatlan
, group of languages of the Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock of North and Central America. A Nahuatlan language of great historical importance is Nahuatl, or Aztec.
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; Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
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the Indian name for a group of linguistically related tribes of the Uto-Aztecan group that lived in the territory of Mexico and some regions of Guatemala, Honduras, San Salvador, and Nicaragua before the Spanish conquest in the 16th century.

The Nahuatl had arrived from the north (from the southwestern regions of North America). Their migration had apparently taken place over the course of many centuries, beginning at about the turn of the Common Era. The Aztec were the last to enter the valley of Mexico (12th century). The Nahuatl were divided into two large subgroups: the Nahuat (the more ancient group), in Central America, and the Nahuatl (Tepanec, Acolhua, Chalca, Tlascaltec, Aztec) in Mexico. Some Nahuatl later lost their own languages and adopted Spanish; others merged into a single nationality speaking the Aztec language.

The conventional use of the term “Nahuatl” for the collective designation of the Indian tribes mentioned above and “Nahuatlan” for the designation of their language group has been adopted in modern scholarly literature.

References in periodicals archive ?
In order to understand Mexican language teachers' emotions, a case study approach was followed.
Like many native Mexican languages, Zapotec languages are tonal--that is, each word's pitches help to indicate its meaning.
He is the author of flour novels, two short-story collections, and a book of literary criticism; he has worked as ah editor, doing much to promote the work of young indigenous Mexican authors writing in Mexican languages; and he is also a journalist and literary critic for a number of Latin American and Spanish publications.
A handful of other Mexican languages are also in danger of extinction, though Ayapaneco is the most extreme case.
4) Horacio Carochi, Grammar of the Mexican Languages with en Explanation of Its Adverbs, traduccion de James Lockhart, Standford, Standford University Press, 2001, 516 p.