SIL Mexico

Guerrero Nahuatl
(ISO code ngu)

sonido Listen to a greeting
in Guerrero Nahuatl.


Guerrero Nahuatl (náhuatl de Guerrero) is spoken in a large mountainous area in the state of Guerrero, from Chilpancingo in the west to Tlapa in the east, and from near Iguala south into the Sierra Madre Occidental.

Where Guerrero Nahuatl is spoken.
Where Guerrero Nahuatl is spoken.


Guerrero Nahuatl is spoken by an estimated 150,000 speakers in dozens of towns. Among the towns which are mostly Nahuatl-speaking are Atliaca, Copalillo, Tlalcosotitlán, Zitlala, Celocotitlán, and Xalitla.

In Guerrero Nahuatl what is a long l for other variants is pronounced jl [hl]. Thus the word for 'house', which is calli elsewhere, is pronounced sonido cajli [káhli], and what is elsewhere tlaxcalli 'tortilla' is pronounced sonido tlaxcajli [tlaškáhli].

Guerrero Nahuatl also permits a syllable-final cu [kw] sound, which other dialects often convert to [k]. It can be heard in the words sonido necutli [nékwtli] 'honey' or sonido inecu [ínekw] 'his/her honey'.

Guerrero Nahuatl has a negative prefix x- [š-] which goes on verbs, adjectives, and even nouns. Thus sonido nitequiti [nitekíti] means 'I work' and sonido xnitequiti [šnitekíti] means 'I don't work'; sonido cuajli means 'good' and sonido xcuajli means 'bad'; sonido tlacatl means '(he is a) man', and sonido xtlacatl means 'he is not a man'. In Nahuatl generally there is a prefix x- or xi- which marks imperative verbs, and this can cause ambiguity in some cases. For instance, sonido xtequiti [štekíti] can mean either 'go work' or 'he doesn't work', and the hearer must discern from context which is meant.


--David Mason

The recorded words were pronounced by Pascual Aburto M.

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