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Orizaba Nawatl (Nawatl de Orizaba) is the Nahuatl language which is spoken in a large mountainous area south of the city of Orizaba, Veracruz. This region is known as the Sierra de Zongolica, and Zongolica is the largest town centrally located in the dialect area. For this reason this language is also known by such names as Zongolica Nahuatl (or Aztec), or Nahuatl of the Sierra de Zongolica.
The phoneme w is pronounced [v] in some towns in the region, and [w] in others, and for this reason, in the most widely-used orthography in the region, the symbol w was chosen instead of the traditional hu. Thus, following that orthography, we are giving the name of the language as Nawatl instead of Nahuatl. (Under either spelling, it is pronounced in two syllables, with the accent on the first: NAH-watl.)
Orizaba Nawatl is spoken in many towns and rural areas, and there are well over 100,000 speakers. Although the speech of each town is a little different from that of the next, all the inhabitants of the Sierra understand each other quite well. Orizaba Nawatl is linguistically very close to the neighboring Nahuatl of the Tehuacán valley in the state of Puebla (South-Eastern Puebla Nahuatl), and there is really no clear line of demarcation between the two dialects. Speakers from a town like Tehuipango can communicate quite well with speakers from neighboring towns on the Tehuacán side, such as Zoquitlán or Coyomeapan. (See Hasler 1996 for a discussion of this dialectal situation.)
- "Lecciones para un curso del náhuatl moderno" [Nahuatl Noun Incorporation]
For more information
- The orthography of Orizaba Nawatl
- Long vowels
- Final /h/
- La incorporacion de sustantivos en el náhuatl (SIL-Mexico workpaper in scanned PDF format)
On a related site
Lecciones para un curso del náhuatl moderno. (A set of lessons, in Spanish, describing word-formation and grammatical patterns of a sub-dialect of Orizaba Nawatl. A vocabulary is included.)