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Tips on Pronouncing Nahuatl

Tips on Pronouncing Nahuatl

This page is intended for academic use as a tool to help students hear a native speaker of Nahuatl (Catalina de la Cruz Cruz) pronounce words and phrases. None of the files on this page or the rest of the site should be used without prior consent, and can never be used for commercial purposes.

Esta página fue creada para uso académico solamente con el fin de que los estudiantes del náhuatl pueden escuchar a una nativo hablante (Catalina de la Cruz Cruz) pronunciar palabras y frases. Ninguna parte de esta página o sitio se puede usar sin consentimiento previo y expreso. Ninguna parte se podrá usar para propósitos comerciales.

First rule of thumb, if you speak Spanish, default to pronouncing Nahuatl like Spanish over any other language. Nahuatl has very specific sounds that did not derive from Spanish nor should they be mistaken with Spanish, but the two languages have developed together over the course of the last 500 years. Nahuatl was put into the Latin alphabet by early modern Spanish speakers, thus written Nahuatl is closer to Spanish, than French or English.

With that in mind, open your mind, and get ready to pronounce Nahuatl.

The “C”  Sound

Like Latin American Spanish the “C” in Nahuatl makes an “S” sound when it is followed by an “I” or “E.” When followed by any other vowel it sounds like a “K.”

Ce – One


Cecec – Cold, a cold thing


Caxtolli – Fifteen


Cualli – Good


Cihuatl – Woman


The “X”

In Nahuatl the X is pronounced like the “Sh” in American English.

Xochitl – Flower


Xihuitl – Year, Leaf, Herb


The “Tl,” in any part of a word

What is represented by two letters should be considered a one letter sound that is a “T” sound with air being pushed from both sides of the tongue. This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult sounds to recreate as a student of Nahuatl. There is nothing quite like it in English or Spanish. Listen closely to how Caty ends her words with “tl,” and how the “tl” sound is special in any part of the word, such as, tlacatl

Mazatl – Deer


Tlacatl – Man


Pahtli – Medicine


Etl – Bean


Tetl – Rock


The “Hu” Sound

The Hu produced a sound very similar to the “W” in American English. Let the vowel that follows the “Hu” guide the sound. Hu+a = Wa, Hu+I=We, Hu+e = Wee (as in Wet). Thus, Cuahuitl, sounds like kwa-we-tl

Cuahuitl – Tree


Cihuatl – Woman


Qu, Cu

The “Qu” and “Cu” sounds can cause some confusion because they are similar in apperance. “Que” sounds just like Latin American Spanish’s “que,” or American English’s “Ke” as in “Kelp.” “Qui” sounds just like American English’s “KEY.” “Cui” sounds like the “Quee” in “Queen” in American English. “Cue” sounds like “Coo-eh” in American English. Finally, “Cua” and “Qua” are interchangeable and sound like the “Qua” in “QUADRANT” in American English.

Cueloa – To bend or fold something


Cui – To grab something


Ximoquetza – Get up


Tlacua – Eat


Quiza – Leave, emerge, or exit

Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries Across the Americas – 2/1/2013 at the University of Arizona

Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries Across the Americas – 2/1/2013 at the University of Arizona

Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries

   Across the Americas

University of Arizona, Center for Latin American Studies Human Rights Initiative


Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program, Rogers College of Law

Friday, February 1, 2013

8:30am – 6pm

Arizona Historical Society

949 E. 2nd Street

The objective of this one day conference is to bring to the fore a range of issues and concerns with regard to natural resource extraction on indigenous lands across the Americas. Drawing on a human rights framework the conference participants examine some of the multiple, complex responses by indigenous peoples to the social, juridical and environmental dimensions of extraction. Recent examples from Chile to Mesoamerica to the United States, Canada and the Russian Far North illustrate the timeliness of such an examination.


The conference intends to facilitate a meaningful exchange of ideas and practices among social science and legal scholars, activists and between the university and the community at large. We broaden our scope geographically to open a discussion about the commonalities and contradictions that ordinary indigenous people face on their homelands. The Center for Latin American Studies will interview and film with each participant at the conference about their work. These five minute video clips will be made available on their UA LAS website.


Provisional Program


8:00 coffee


8:30 Yaqui Pascua opening ceremony( not confirmed)


8:45 Dean JP Jones, College of Social and Behavioral Science – Welcome

9:00 Professor Linda Green, Director, Center for Latin American Studies, Associate Professor of Anthropology – opening remarks, moderator



9:15  Dr. Salvador Aquino, anthropologist, CIESAS, Pacifico Sur,  Cuidad de  Oaxaca, Mexico  “Si a la vida, no a la mineria: Large scale mining exploitation and the challenges confronting indigenous peoples in Mexico”


10:15 coffee break



10:30 Professor Benadict Colombi, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, American Indian Studies, UA, “Kamchatka: Mapping Indigenous Cartographies and Extractive Industries”

11:00 Professor Dana Powell, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Appalachian State University  “Extractive Industries have productive effects: Energy activism on the Dine Nation”

11:30 Mr. Manuel Prieto, PhD student, School of Geography and Development, UA “The Chilean Water Reforms: Mining and Dispossession of the Atacameno People”

12:00 Mr. Cory Schott, PhD candidate, Dept. of History, UA “Colonial Histories of Indigenous Peoples and Extractive Industries in the Americas

12:15 Mr. Sebastian Quinac, “Reporting from the “Encouentro del Pueblos de MesoAmerica “, Sierra de Oaxaca, January 2013


12:30 Discussion


12:45-1:30 lunch hosted by LAS and IPLPP


1:30 Professor Robert A.Williams, Jr., E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law and American Indian Studies,  Faculty Co-Chair, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program,UA- “Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights to Ancestral Lands in Historical and Contemporary Perspective:Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group v. Canada”

2:30 Professor James Hopkins, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program, UA, “Rio Yaqui Land and Water Rights and the Agro-Chem Industrial Complex”

3:00  Ms. Seanna Howard, Staff Attorney, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program—“Maya Community of Southern Belize and Western Shoshone: Indigenous Peoples and the Inter-American Human Rights System”

3:30 “Arizona Tribes, Extractive Industries and Indigenous Human Rights”- (speaker TBA)


Mr. Austin Nunez, Chairman, San Xavier District, Tohono O’odham Nation—Mining, Water and O’odham lands (not confirmed)

Mr. Vernon Masayesva, Founder and Director of The Black Mesa Trust and former Tribal Chairman of The Hopi Nation—coal mining, water and Hopi lands (not confirmed)


4:30 Discussion


5:30-6:15 Closing Ceremony and Performance – Institute for Latin American Studies Leaders, cultural exchange from Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru.


Co- sponsors: American Indian Studies, Institute for the Environment, Confluence Center, Department of History, School of Anthropology, School of Geography and Development


(In)security and Violence on the Border at the University of Arizona

(In)security and Violence on the Border at the University of Arizona

The Binational Migration Institute, Mexican American Studies Dept & The Chicano Hispano Student Center 


(In)security and Violence on the Border

Wave II of the Migrant Border Crossing Study

Thursday, October 25th, 3:30 pm

Chavez, 205

A Migration Research Dialogue with:

Daniel E. Martinez*, Jeremy Slack**, and Scott Whiteford***

* Ph.D. candidate, Department of Sociology, University of Arizona

** Graduate Student, School of Geography and Development, University of Arizona

*** Professor, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Arizona


A recent report by the Pew Hispanic Center describes net migration from Mexico to the United States having slowed to zero (Passel Cohn and Gonzalez-Barrera 2012).  However hundreds of thousands of unauthorized Mexican migrants continue to be apprehended by U.S. authorities along the southwestern border and in the interior of the country (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 2012), and thus, as a group, continue to come in contact with U.S. authorities on a regular basis.  Does the treatment of unauthorized Mexican migrants vary at the Border Patrol sector-level in addition to the individual-level once in U.S. custody?  We draw on a new and unique data set of surveys with 1,217 unauthorized migrants collected in five cities across the border and Mexico City between 2009 and 2012 to begin to examine this important question.  In addition, we compare preliminary descriptive statistics from this second wave of surveys to those from a first wave we carried out between 2007 and 2009.  Preliminary results suggest the demographic profile of repatriated migrants remains strikingly consistent in some regards, but diverges in other important ways; particularly in the extent of close ties to the United States.  This speaks largely to the increase in formal removals from the interior U.S. resulting from federal initiatives such as “Secure Communities” that have terrorized immigrant communities around the country.

Art History Graduate Symposium at the University of Arizona

Art History Graduate Symposium at the University of Arizona

The Art History Graduate Student Association at the University of Arizona is pleased to announce its twenty-third annual symposium,Mapping Discursive Geographies, which will take place February 1, 2013 at the University of Arizona Student Union, Santa Rita Room. Announcement of the keynote speaker is forthcoming.


The goal of this symposium is to explore the relationship between geography and art, art history, and curatorial practices, within the context of recent scholarship on natural and artificial landscapes, landscape aesthetics, earth works, land preservation and degradation, hybridities of art and science, disputed and fraught boundaries, the distribution of resources, and immigration. This symposium hopes to provide a forum to address how geography is a cultural process which can be instrumental in the formation of identity.


Some ideas to consider are: how do national and social identities become inscribed in the terrain? How do visual representations of terrestrial and corporeal spatiality construct meaning? How have shifts in geographies changed the production, exhibition, and/or consumption of artistic, curatorial practices and art historical discourse?


Paper topics may include, but are not limited to:


1.     Site specificity, locality, and intervention

2.     Construction of mythology and symbolism in the landscape

3.     National/corporeal identities

4.     Physical or intangible borders between nations/individuals and issues of ownership and sovereignty

5.     Commercialization, consumerism, and tourism

6.     Historic and contemporary cartographic or locational practices



Graduate students in art history and relating disciplines are invited to submit a 300-word abstract and curriculum vita by November 20, 2012. Applicants will receive notification via email of the committee’s decisions by December 12, 2012.


To learn more about the Art History Graduate Student Association at the University of Arizona, please visit

Laura Matthew to present on Colonial Guatemala at the University of Arizona

Laura Matthew to present on Colonial Guatemala at the University of Arizona

The University of Arizona, History Department Presents:


Memories of Conquest: Becoming Mexicano in Colonial Guatemala


A talk by Professor Laura Matthew

 Assistant Professor of Colonial Latin American History

Marquette University

Wednesday October 17, 3:30-4:30 pm

Social Sciences 118


Indigenous allies helped the Spanish gain a foothold in the Americas. What did these Indian conquistadors expect from the partnership, and did they get it? Memories of Conquest argues that the “Spanish” conquest cannot be fully understood without considering Mesoamerican patterns of alliance, warfare, and imperial settlement. But the identity and status of the Indian conquistadors in colonial Guatemala also depended on Spanish colonialism’s willingness to honor them. This presentation is based on Prof. Matthew’s new book,Memories of Conquest: Becoming Mexicano in Colonial Guatemala (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2012). Contact Martha Few for more information,


Bruce Dinges to Speak at the University of Arizona

Bruce Dinges to Speak at the University of Arizona

The directoer of the Arizona Historical Society, Bruce Dinges, will be speaking at the University of Arizona. Dinges will be speaking in Special Collections at 7:00PM on Thursday, August 23.

His talk is titled:


“AZ 100: Reflections on Essential Books of the Grand Canyon State.”