Mexico!! (& its Native Languages)


Yes, Mexico is home to the second-largest number of native-language speakers in the hemisphere (Peru has the largest number, at 10 mil speakers). Here are some of the Mexican stats:

  • 5.4% of the population speaks a native language (6 mil spkrs total)
  • Nahuatl is the most widely spoken native language (1.45 mil spkrs)
  • Other widely spoken native languages: Yukatek Maya (700 k spkrs) and the Mixtec and Zapotec languages (both more than 400 k speakers)
  • The National Institute of Indigenous Languages recognizes 68 linguistic groups and 364 specific varieties of the native languages
  • Since its promulgation in 2003, The Law of Indigenous Language Rights has recognized these languages as national languages, enjoying the same status as Spanish in the areas where they are spoken


Wow! And the Dragons of Grammar have volunteered to give us a bit more information about Mexico’s indigeneous languages: in northern Mexico, languages belong to one of three language families–Algonquian, Yuman-Cochimi, and Uto-Aztecan. In southernmost Mexico, the Mayan family of languages is predominant. And just to connect some of the dots in a single case–Mayan is a language family isolate, unconnected to other known language families. Mayan languages are agglutinative and polysynthetic. Verbs are marked for aspect or tense, the person of the subject, the person of the object (in the case of transitive verbs), and for plurality of person.


Wow! All is not tea-parties in Dragon Land!   And a final note: according to AILLA, most indigenous languages in Latin America are endangered.


Map/Chart: Map of Mexican languages with More than 100,000 Speakers. WikiCmns; Public Domain.

  1. March 4, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Very interesting! I hope they all manage to survive in the future.

  2. March 6, 2012 at 5:25 am

    BFN: thanks for the encouragement & i hope so too! RT

  1. October 7, 2013 at 6:38 am

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