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Cuitlatec language

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Title: Cuitlatec language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Cuitlatec people, Macro-Chibchan languages, Totozoquean languages, Huave language, Purépecha language
Collection: Extinct Languages of North America, Indigenous Languages of Mexico, Mesoamerican Languages
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Cuitlatec language

Native to Mexico
Region Guerrero
Extinct 1960s, with the death of Juana Can
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Linguist list
Glottolog cuit1236[1]

Cuitlatec, or Cuitlateco, is an extinct language of Mexico, formerly spoken by an indigenous people also known as Cuitlatec.


  • Classification 1
  • Geographic distribution 2
  • Phonology 3
    • Consonants 3.1
    • Vowels 3.2
  • Grammar 4
  • References 5


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, along with a variety of other Mesoamerican and South American languages.[2] 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. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Cuitlatec". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^  
  3. ^ a b Escalante Hernández, Robert (1962). El Cuitlateco. México, D.F.: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. 
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