Huasteca Nahuatl

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Huasteca Nahuatl
Native to Mexico
Region La Huasteca (San Luis Potosí, Hidalgo, Puebla, Veracruz)
Native speakers
1.0 million  (1991–2000)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Variously:
nhe – Eastern (Hidalgo)
nch – Central
nhw – Western (Tamazunchale)
Glottolog huas1257[2]

Huasteca Nahuatl is a Nahuan language spoken by over a million people in the region of La Huasteca in Mexico, centered in the states of Hidalgo (Eastern) and San Luis Potosí (Western), but also spoken in the northern part of Veracruz and the extreme north of Puebla.[3] Ethnologue divides Huasteca Nahuatl into three languages, Eastern, Central, and Western, as they judge that separate literature is required, but notes that there is 85% mutual intelligibility between Eastern and Western. Half of Eastern speakers know no Spanish.[4]

XEANT-AM radio broadcasts in Huasteca Nahuatl.


Huasteca Nahuatl is spoken in the following municipalities in the states of Hidalgo, Veracruz, and San Luis Potosí (Rodríguez & Valderrama 2005:168).

Hidalgo (121,818 speakers)
  • Huejutla Reyes (56,377 speakers)
  • Huautla (18,444 speakers)
  • Yahualica (14,584 speakers)
  • Xochiatipan (12,990 speakers)
  • Atlapexco (12,445 speakers)
  • Jaltocan (6,978 speakers)
Veracruz (98,162 speakers)
  • Chicontepec (41,678 speakers)
  • Ixhuatlán de Madero (21,682 speakers)
  • Benito Juárez (11,793 speakers)
  • Ilamantlan (9,689 speakers)
  • Ixcatepec (6,949 speakers)
  • Zontecomatlán (6,371 speakers)
San Luis Potosí (108,471 speakers)
  • Tamazunchale (35,773 speakers)
  • Axtla de Terrazas (17,401 speakers)
  • Xilitla (16,646 speakers)
  • Matlapa (16,286 speakers)
  • Coxcatlan (12,300 speakers)
  • Chalchicuautla (10,065 speakers)


The following description is that of Eastern Huasteca.


Front Back
High i iˑ
Mid-high e eˑ
Mid-low o oˑ
Low a aˑ


Labial Apical Postalveolar Velar Glottal
Unrounded Rounded
Plosive p t k ʔ
Affricate ts
Lateral affricate
Fricative s ʃ h
Liquid l, r
Nasal m n
Semivowel w j


  1. ^ Eastern (Hidalgo) at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Central at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Western (Tamazunchale) at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Huasteca Nahuatl". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Kimball: p. 196.
  4. ^ Eastern Huasteca Nahuatl reference at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)


  • Kimball, Geoffrey (1990). "Noun Pluralization in Eastern Huasteca Nahuatl". International Journal of American Linguistics 56 (2): 196–216. doi:10.1086/466150. 
  • Rodríguez López, María Teresa, and Pablo Valderrama Rouy. 2005. "The Gulf Coast Nahua." In Sandstrom, Alan R., and Enrique Hugo García Valencia. 2005. Native peoples of the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
  • Beller, Richard; and Patricia Beller (1979). "Huasteca Nahuatl". In Ronald Langacker (ed.). Studies in Uto-Aztecan Grammar 2: Modern Aztec Grammatical Sketches. Summer Institute of Linguistics Publications in Linguistics, 56. Dallas, TX: Summer Institute of Linguistics and the University of Texas at Arlington. pp. 199–306. ISBN 0-88312-072-0. OCLC 6086368. 

Stiles, Neville Náhuatl in the Huasteca Hidalguense: A Case Study in the Sociology of Language (1983) PhD Thesis, University of St. Andrews, Scotland.