Nahuatl is among the 68 living Indigenous languages officially recognized by the Mexican government and has the most speakers, approximately 1.4 million. Nahuatl is part of the Uto Azteca language family, one of the largest language families in the Americas spanning the Western United States and Mexico.
Common words used in everyday English such as chocolate, chili, tomato, avocado, and coyote all derive from Nahuatl. The courses are taught by native-language speakers from the Instituto de Docencia e Investigación Etnológica de Zacatecas (IDIEZ) in Mexico through a distance-learning format i.e. video conferencing.
IDIEZ instructors teach modern Nahuatl spoken in the Huascteca Veracruzana. Nahua culture, history and modern life are at the center of Nahuatl language instruction. Classes are offered at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. Though knowledge of Spanish is not required, it is helpful as the native language instructors present grammatical explanations in Spanish.
University of Utah students can complete the BA language requirement with Nahuatl or choose to major or minor in Latin American Studies with Nahuatl as their language.
All language classes are offered in a series beginning in the Fall semester (1010 and 2010) and concluding in the Spring semester (1020 and 2020), and will count towards the foreign language credits required to complete a Bachelor of Arts.
BA In Latin American Studies
The Latin American Studies major is designed to provide students with critical language and cultural skills that serve as the foundation for careers in public service, business, humanitarian work, law, and health care, among others, in Latin America and with Latino populations at home. Students pursuing the major may study Nahuatl as their Latin American language.
Minor In Latin American Studies
The Latin American Studies minor is designed to be paired with another major in a discipline, so that students can combine discipline-specific skills with a degree of language and cultural competency. Students pursuing the major may study Nahuatl as their Latin American language.
Nahuatl courses introduce students to the language of the Aztecs, still spoken by more than 1 million people in central Mexico. The courses are taught by native-language speakers from the Instituto de Docencia e Investigación Etnológica de Zacatecas (IDIEZ) in Mexico through a distance-learning format. Knowledge of Spanish is not required but is helpful as the native language instructors present grammatical explanations in Spanish.
For graduate students wanting to study the language, there are also graduate-level courses available.
First-semester Nahuatl for students who have no previous experience with the language. Students must receive a grade of C- of higher to continue in the series. This course develops listening and reading strategies with an emphasis on oral and written forms of communication.
Second-semester Nahuatl. this course continues to develop listening and reading strategies with an emphasis on oral and written forms of communication.
Third-semester Nahuatl. Continued emphasis on listening and speaking skills with an increased emphasis on reading and writing skills as the culture of people who speak Nahuatl.
Fourth-semester Nahuatl. Maintains a strong emphasis on listening and speaking skills. Through readings of more extensive texts and informal writing as a support for speaking, it develops oral fluency toward narration/elaboration and paragraph-length discourse.
Developing oral and written proficiency beyond paragraph-length discourse through conversation and the study of colonial and modern texts. Goals include preparing for college-level interaction with native speakers in humanities courses taught in Nahuatl.
Expanding on oral and written proficiency beyond paragraph-length discourse through conversation and the study of colonial and modern texts. Goals include preparing for college-level interaction with native speakers in humanities courses taught in Nahuatl.
This course is for graduate students who must enroll in a course 5000 or higher. It is in place of the lower-division language courses. Graduate students should enroll in this course and attend the section of Nahuatl that they intend to take, and inform the instructor they are enrolled in 7300.
Credits: 1 - 4
Nahuatl is an approved language for a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships, a federally funded awards offered through the University of Utah's Center for Latin American Studies. These scholarships provide funding for undergraduate and graduate students who study modern foreign languages and related area studies, and students learning Nahuatl are encouraged to apply!
Are you a Salt Lake community member wanting to learn Nahuatl?
The University of Utah offers Nahuatl courses for community members through Continuing Education & Community Engagement. These courses are available for academic non-credit, and you do not need to be a student to register for these courses.