Uto Aztecan LanguagesMan knows so much and does so little. - Inventor Buckminster Fuller
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Uto Aztecan Languages

Native Americans Linguistics
Pima-Pagapo Linguistics

You've probably guessed that these languages have something to do with Native Americans. The name "Uto-Aztecan" comes from two important peoples of this linguistic family, the Utes and the Aztecs. The Utes, and the closely related Paiutes and Gosiutes, live today in the states of Nevada and Utah. In grade school, everyone learned about the Aztecs, their calendar and their practice of human sacrifice. So how much do we know about the language of the ancient Aztec people? Actually, quite a bit. It is still spoken by over million people in central Mexico today. It is called "Nahuatl" or "clear speech".

Unlike many other language families, the relationship between the Uto-Aztecan languages is well established by linguists. This far-flung group includes languages spoken over the western third of the U.S., much of Mexico and parts of Guatemala. Some of the most important languages in this group are Hopi, Nahuatl, Shoshoni, Comanche, Ute, Paiute, Pima/Pagapo, Tarahumara and Yaqui.

One interesting feature of this family is that it includes tribes living in a large number of different cultural areas: The Great Basin, the Plains, the Pueblo region, Mesoamerica and California. (Yes, California is considered a "cultural area" by anthropologists, contrary to what New Yorkers might think.) Despite this diversity, there are striking similarities in the religious beliefs and mythology of all these peoples. For example, special powers are often attributed to the hummingbird. Anthropological and archeological evidence suggests that the ancestral homeland of the Uto-Aztecan peoples was in the present day state of Nevada.


Uto-Aztecan Languages
English Hopi Nahuatl Comanche Pima-Papago
I nu' ni ahnih, ni
you 'um ti en ahpih
he pam in, ye ohka, orï ihtha
his 'at mo ma N.A.
who hak aca hakarï hedai
here yep, yev nian iki ihab
hand ma maitl mo'o mahwua
heart unangwa yollotl pihi ihbthag
eye poosi ixtolotl pui hehewo
ear naqvu nacaztli naki nahk
nose yaqa yacatl muvi thahk
mouth mo'a camactli tïïpe chini
tooth tama tlantli taama tahtami
face puku xayacatl koobe wuhiosha
navel sipna xictli siikï hik
English Hopi Nahuatl Comanche Pima-Papago
foot kuku icxitl naape tad
water paahu atl paa wa'ig
house kiihu calli kaani kih
bird tsiro tototl tosapiti' watopi
fish paakiu michi painkwi u'uhig
snake lölöqangw coatl kwasinabo nehbig
eagle kwaahu cuauh paihuutsuu ba'ag
hummingbird tootsa huitzitzilin temumuquit wipismal
coyote iisawu coyotl tseena' ban, apapa
woman wuuti cihuatl wa'ippe uwi, oks
man taaqa tlacatl tenahpï cheoj
boy tiyo telpocatl tuinïhpï' wiappoi
flower sihu xochitl saatotsiya heosig
big wuuko hueyi pia ge'e
sun taawa tonatiuh taabe tashogith
English Hopi Nahuatl Comanche Pima-Papago
moon muuyau metztli mïa mashath
hill tsomo tepetl toyaabi tho'ag
road pöhu otli pu'e wohg
stone owa tetl tïpï hothai
land tutskwa tlalli sokoobi chuthwua
fire, wood qööhi quezalli kuuna ku'agi
spiritual power powa    puha gewkthag
night tookila yohualli tukanni chuhug
to sit qatu icpalli kahtï habadk
to sleep puuwi cochi epeih kohsig
to cough öhö tlatlasistli ohuitï i'ihog
to eat nöösa ocua tïhkarï ko'a
to drink hiiko izque hibitï ih'e
to kill niina mictia pehkarï me'a 
English Hopi Nahuatl Comanche Pima-Papago
to bite kuuki campaxoa kïhtsiarï ke'e
to see tuwa itta punitï neith
to fall munu huetzi pahitï gehsh
to smoke sowa popoca pamuitan kuhb
tall wuupa huiac pa'atï chew
new puuhu yancuic pittseh hemuchkam
near -qlaq -itech miitïtsi mia
to, toward -mi -ihuic maaitï ga'aba'i
over -tsva -icpac maba'atï ab, thahm
at, in -peq -co hi, ti ab, am
one suukya' ce sïmï hemako
two lööyöm ome waha gohk
three paayom eyi pahi waik
four naalöyöm nahui hayatokwe gi'ik
five tsivot macuilli mo'opeka hetasp
English Hopi Nahuatl Comanche Papago

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