Cuitlatec language

Native toMexico
Extinct1960s, with the death of Juana Can
Language codes
ISO 639-3cuy
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Cuitlatec, or Cuitlateco, is an extinct language of Mexico, formerly spoken by an indigenous people known as Cuitlatec.


Cuitlatec has not been convincingly classified as belonging to any language family. It is believed to be language isolate. In their controversial classification of the indigenous languages of the Americas, Greenberg and Ruhlen include Cuitlatec in an expanded Chibchan language family (Macro-Chibchan), along with a variety of other Mesoamerican and South American languages.[2] Escalante Hernández suggests a possible relation to the Uto-Aztecan languages.[3]

Geographic distribution

Cuitlatec was spoken in the state of Guerrero. By the 1930s, Cuitlatec was spoken only in San Miguel Totolapan. The last speaker of the language, Juana Can, is believed to have died in the 1960s.[3]



Cuitlatec consonant phonemes
Labial Dental Palatal Velar Labio-velar Glottal
Plosive p b t d k ɡ ʔ
Fricative ɬ ʃ h
Approximant l j w
Nasal m n


Cuitlatec vowel phonemes
  Front Central Back
High i ɨ u
Low e a o


Sentences generally follow SVO word order. Adjectives precede the nouns they modify.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Cuitlatec". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Greenberg, Joseph; Ruhlen, Merritt (2007-09-04). "An Amerind Etymological Dictionary" (PDF) (12 ed.). Stanford: Dept. of Anthropological Sciences Stanford University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-25. Retrieved 2008-06-27. Cite journal requires |journal=
  3. ^ a b Escalante Hernández, Robert (1962). El Cuitlateco. México, D.F.: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia.


  • Susana Drucker, Roberto Escalante, & Roberto J. Weitlaner. 1969. The Cuitlatec. In Evon Z. Vogt, ed., Handbook of Middle American Indians, Ethnology: Vol 7, Chapter 30. University of Texas Press, Austin: 565-575
  • McQuown, Norman A. 1945. Fonémica del Cuitlateco. El México Antiguo 5: 239-254.
  • Weitlaner, Roberto J. 1939. Notes on the Cuitlatec language. El México Antiguo 4: 363-373.

External links

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