The Wastek (Huastec) language is a Mayan language of Mexico, spoken by the Huastecs living in rural areas of San Luis Potosí and northern Veracruz. Though relatively isolated from them, it is related to the Mayan languages spoken further south and east in Mexico and Central America. According to the 2005 population census, there were about 150,000 speakers of Wastek in Mexico (some 90,000 in San Luis Potosí and some 50,000 in Veracruz). The language is called Teenek (with varying spellings) by its speakers, and this name has gained currency in Mexican national and international usage in recent years.
The now-extinct Chicomuceltec language was most closely related to Wastek.
The first linguistic description of the Huastec language accessible to Europeans was written by Andrés de Olmos, who also wrote the first grammatical descriptions of Nahuatl and Totonac.
Wastek-language programming is carried by the CDI's radio station XEANT-AM, based in Tancanhuitz de Santos, San Luis Potosí.
Huastec has three dialects, which have a time depth of no more than 400 years (Norcliffe 2003:3). It is spoken in a region of east-central Mexico known as the Huaxteca.
- Western (Potosino) — 48,000 speakers in the 9 San Luis Potosí towns of Ciudad Valles (Tantocou), Aquismón, Huehuetlán, Tancanhuitz, Tanlajás, San Antonio, Tampamolón, Tanquian, and Tancuayalab.
- Central (Veracruz) — 22,000 speakers in the 2 northern Veracruz towns of Tempoal and Tantoyuca.
- Eastern (Otontepec) — 12,000 speakers in the 7 northern Veracruz towns of Chontla, Tantima, Tancoco, Chinampa, Naranjos, Amatlán, and Tamiahua. Also known as Southeastern Huastec. Ana Kondic (2012) reports only about 1,700 speakers, in the municipalities of Chontla (San Francisco, Las Cruces, Arranca Estacas, and Ensinal villages), Chinampa, Amatlan, and Tamiahua.
Approximate extent of Wastek-speaking area in Mexico
Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía, e Informática (INEGI) (an agency of the government of Mexico). 2005. 2005 Mexican population census, last visited 22 May, 2007
Further reading 
- Ariel de Vidas, A. 2003. “Ethnicidad y cosmologia: La construccion cultural de la diferencia entre los teenek (huaxtecos) de Veracruz”, in UNAM, Estudios de Cultura Maya. Vol. 23.
- Campbell, L. and T. Kaufman. 1985. “Maya linguistics: Where are we now?,” in Annual Review of Anthropology. Vol. 14, pp. 187–98
- Dahlin, B. et al. 1987. “Linguistic divergence and the collapse of Preclassic civilization in southern Mesoamerica”. American Antiquity. Vol. 52, No. 2, pp. 367–82.
- Edmonson, Barbara Wedemeyer. 1988. A descriptive grammar of Huastec (Potosino dialect). Ph.D. dissertation: Tulane University.
- INAH. 1988. Atlas cultural de Mexico: Linguistica. Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia.
- Kaufman, T. 1976. “Archaeological and linguistic correlations in Mayaland and associated areas of Mesoamerica,” in World Archaeology. Vol. 8, pp. 101–18
- Malstrom, V. 1985. “The origins of civilization in Mesoamerica: A geographic perspective”, in L. Pulsipher, ed. Yearbook of the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers. Vol. 11, pp. 23–29.
- McQuown, Norman A. 1984. A sketch of San Luis Potosí Huastec. University of Texas Press.
- (CDI). No date. San Luis Potosí: A Teenek Profile; Summary.
- Norcliffe, Elizabeth. 2003. The Reconstruction of Proto-Huastecan. M.A. dissertation. University of Canterbury.
- Ochoa Peralta, María Angela. 1984. El idioma huasteco de Xiloxúchil, Veracruz. México City: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia.
- Ochoa, L. 2003. “La costa del Golfo y el area maya: Relaciones imaginables o imaginadas?”, in UNAM, Estudios de Cultura Maya. Vol. 23.
- Robertson, J. 1993. “The origins and development of Huastec pronouns.” International Journal of American Linguistics. Vol. 59, No. 3, pp. 294–314
- Sandstrom, Alan R., and Enrique Hugo García Valencia. 2005. Native peoples of the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
- Stresser-Pean, G. 1989. “Los indios huastecos”, in Ochoa, L., ed. Huastecos y Totonacas. Mexico City: CONACULTA.
- Vadillo Lopez, C. and C. Riviera Ayala. 2003. “El trafico maratimo, vehiculo de relaciones culturales entre la region maya chontal de Laguna de Terminos y la region huaxteca del norte de Veracruz, siglos XVI-XIX”, in UNAM, Estudios de Cultura Maya. Vol. 23.
- Wilkerson, J. 1972. Ethnogenesis of the Huastecs and Totonacs. PhD dissertation, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, Tulane University, New Orleans.