Nahuatlan nä´wŏt˝lən [key], 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. A descendant of the now extinct Aztec, the language of the ancient Aztec empire, Nahuatl is spoken today by approximately 1.5 million people, mainly in Mexico. Aztec is thought to have reached 5 million people in an area extending from Mexico to Panama. The Nahuatlan group also includes a number of other living languages, such as Pipil and Pochutla, and extinct tongues, among them Toltec, Chichimec, and Nahuatlato. See Native American languages .
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Language and Linguistics