Uto-Aztecan or Uto-Aztekan /ˈjuːtoʊ.æzˈtɛkən/ is a family of Indigenous languages of the Americas. The language family consisting of over 30 languages. Uto- Aztecan languages
Aztecan languages are found almost entirely in the Western United States
Western United States and Mexico. The name of the language family was created to show that it includes both the Ute language of Utah
Utah and the Aztecan languages
Aztecan languages of Mexico. The Uto-Aztecan language family is one of the largest linguistic families in the Americas in terms of number of speakers, number of languages, and geographic extension. The northernmost Uto-Aztecan language is Shoshoni, which is spoken as far north as Salmon, Idaho, while the southernmost is the Pipil language
Pipil language of El Salvador. Ethnologue
Ethnologue gives the total number of languages in the family as 61, and the total number of speakers as 1,900,412. The roughly 1.5 million speakers of Nahuatl
Nahuatl languages account for almost four-fifths (78.9%) of these. The internal classification of the family often divides the family into two branches: a northern branch including all the languages of the US and a Southern branch including all the languages of Mexico, although it is still being discussed whether this is best understood as a genetic classification or as a geographical one. Below this level of classification the main branches are well accepted: Numic (including languages such as Comanche and Shoshoni); and the Californian languages (formerly known as the Takic group), including Cahuilla and Luiseño, account for most of the Northern languages. Hopi and Tübatulabal are languages outside those groups. The Southern languages are divided into the Tepiman (including O'odham and Tepehuán); the Tarahumaran languages including Raramuri and Guarijio language; the Cahitan languages
Cahitan languages (Yaqui and Mayo language), Corachol (including Cora and Huichol) and Nahuan languages. The homeland of the Uto- Aztecan languages
Aztecan languages is generally considered to have been in the Southwestern United States
Southwestern United States or possibly Northwestern Mexico. Linguistic scholars have discussed the possibility that the language family originated in southern Mexico, within the Mesoamerican language area.
1.1 Vowels 1.2 Consonants
2 Geographic distribution
2.1 Present-day locations of living Uto-
3.1 History of classification 3.2 Present scheme 3.3 Extinct languages
4 References 5 Sources
5.1 Individual languages
6 External links
Proto-Uto-Aztecan is the hypothetical common ancestor of the
Uto-Aztecan languages. Authorities on the history of the language
group have usually placed the Proto-Uto-Aztecan homeland in the border
region between the United States and Mexico, namely the upland regions
Bilabial Coronal Palatal Velar Labialized velar Glottal
Stop *p *t
*k *kʷ *ʔ
Nasal *m *n
*n and *ŋ may have actually been *l and *n, respectively. Geographic distribution
History of classification
Uto-Aztecan has been accepted by linguists as a language family since
the early 1900s, and six subgroups are accepted as valid by all
experts: Numic, Takic, Pimic, Taracahitic, Corachol, and Aztecan. That
leaves two ungrouped languages: Tübatulabal and Hopi (sometimes
termed "isolates within the family"). As to higher-level groupings,
disagreement has persisted since the 19th century. Presently scholars
also disagree as to where to draw language boundaries within the
The similarities among the Uto-
Genealogical classification of Uto-Aztecan languages
Family Groups Languages Where spoken and approximate number of speakers Works
(possibly an areal grouping)
Paviotso, Bannock, Northern Paiute
700 speakers in California, Oregon,
Mono About 40 speakers in California Lamb (1958)
Shoshoni, Goshiute 1000 fluent speakers and 1000 learners in Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Idaho McLaughlin (2012)
Comanche 100 speakers in Oklahoma Robinson & Armagost (1990)
20 speakers in
Southern Numic Colorado River dialect chain: Ute, Southern Paiute, Chemehuevi 920 speakers of all dialects, in Colorado, Nevada, California, Utah, Arizona Givón (2011), Press (1979), Sapir (1992)
Kawaiisu 5 speakers in California Zigmond, Booth & Munro (1991)
Californian language area Serran Serrano, Kitanemuk (†) No native speakers Hill (1967)
Cupan Cahuilla, Cupeño 35 speakers of Cahuilla, no native speakers of Cupeño Seiler (1977), Hill (2005)
Luiseño-Juaneño 5 speakers in Southern California Kroeber & Grace (1960)
Tongva (Gabrielino-Fernandeño) (†) Extinct since ca. 1900, Southern California Munro & Gabrielino/Tongva Language Committee (2008)
Hopi 6,800 speakers in northeastern Arizona Hopi Dictionary Project (1998), Jeanne (1978)
Tübatulabal 5 speakers in Kern County, California Voegelin (1935), Voegelin (1958)
Southern Uto-Aztecan (possibly an areal grouping) Tepiman
Pimic O'odham (Pima-Papago) 14,000 speakers in southern Arizona, US and northern Sonora, Mexico Zepeda (1983)
Pima Bajo (O'ob No'ok) 650 speakers in Chihuahua and Sonora, Mexico Estrada-Fernández (1998)
Tepehuan Northern Tepehuan 6,200 speakers in Chihuahua, Mexico Bascom (1982)
Southern Tepehuan 10,600 speakers in Southeastern Durango Willett (1991)
Tepecano (†) Extinct since 1972, spoken in Northern Jalisco Mason (1916)
Tarahumara (several varieties) 45,500 speakers of all varieties, all spoken in Chihuahua Caballero (2008)
Upriver Guarijio, Downriver Guarijio 2,840 speakers in Chihuahua and Sonora Miller (1996)
Tubar (†) Spoken in Sinaloa and Sonora Lionnet (1978)
Mayo 33,000 in Sinaloa and Sonora Freeze (1989)
Opata (†) Extinct since approx. 1930. Spoken in Sonora. Shaul (2001)
Eudeve (†) Spoken in Sonora, but extinct since 1940 Lionnet (1986)
Cora 13,600 speakers in northern Nayarit Casad (1984)
17,800 speakers in
Pochutec (†) Extinct since 1970s, spoken on the coast of Oaxaca Boas (1917)
Core Nahuan Pipil 20-40 speakers in El Salvador Campbell (1985)
Nahuatl 1,500,000 speakers in Central Mexico Launey (1986), Langacker (1979)
In addition to the above languages for which linguistic evidence
exists, it is suspected that among dozens of now extinct, undocumented
or poorly known languages of northern Mexico, many were
Main article: List of extinct Uto-Aztecan languages
See also: List of extinct languages of North America
A large number of languages known only from brief mentions are thought
to have been Uto-
^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds.
Brown, Cecil H. (2010). "Lack of linguistic support for
Proto-Uto-Aztecan at 8900 BP (letter)". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA.
107 (15): E34. doi:10.1073/pnas.0914859107. PMC 2841887 .
Caballero, G. (2011). "Behind the Mexican Mountains: Recent
Developments and New Directions in Research on Uto‐Aztecan
Languages". Language and Linguistics Compass. 5 (7): 485–504.
Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian Languages: The Historical
Linguistics of Native America. Oxford University Press.
Campbell, Lyle (2003). "What drives linguistic diversification and
language spread?". In Bellwood, Peter; Renfrew, Colin. Examining the
farming/language dispersal hypothesis. Cambridge(U.K.): McDonald
Institute for Archaeological Research. pp. 49–63.
Campbell, Lyle; Poser, William J. (2008). Language classification,
history and method. Cambridge University Press.
Cortina-Borja, M; Valiñas-Coalla, L (1989). "Some remarks on
Uto-Aztecan Classification". International Journal of American
Linguistics. 55: 214–239. doi:10.1086/466114.
Cortina-Borja, M.; Stuart-Smith, J.; Valiñas-Coalla, L. (2002).
"Multivariate classification methods for lexical and phonological
dissimilarities and their application to the Uto-Aztecan family".
Journal of Quantitative Linguistics. 9 (2): 97–124.
Dakin, Karen (1996). "Long vowels and morpheme boundaries in Nahuatl
and Uto-Aztecan: comments on historical developments" (PDF).
Fowler, Catherine S. (1983). "Some lexical clues to Uto-Aztecan
prehistory". International Journal of America Linguistics. 49 (3):
Goddard, Ives (1996). "Introduction". In Goddard, Ives. Handbook of
North American Indians. 17. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
Haugen, J. D. (2008). Morphology at the interfaces: reduplication and
noun incorporation in Uto-Aztecan. Vol. 117. John Benjamins
Heath, J. (1978). "Uto-Aztecan* na-class verbs". International Journal
of American Linguistics. 44 (3): 211–222. doi:10.1086/465546.
Hill, Jane H. (December 2001). "Proto-Uto-Aztecan". American
Anthropologist. New Series. 103 (4): 913–934.
doi:10.1525/aa.2001.103.4.913. JSTOR 684121.
Hill, Jane H. (2010). "New evidence for a Mesoamerican homeland for
Proto-Uto-Aztecan". PNAS. 107 (11): E33. doi:10.1073/pnas.0914473107.
PMC 2841890 . PMID 20231477.
Hill, J. H. (2011). "Subgrouping in Uto-Aztecan. Language Dynamics and
Change". Language Dynamics and Change. 1 (2): 241–278.
Iannucci, David (1972).
Numic historical phonology. Cornell University
Kaufman, Terrence (2001). Nawa linguistic prehistory. Mesoamerican
Language Documentation Project.
Kaufman, Terrence (1981). Lyle Campbell, ed. Comparative Uto-Aztecan
Phonology. Unpublished manuscript.
Kemp; González-Oliver; Malhi; Monroe; Schroeder; McDonough; Rhett;
Resendéz; Peñalosa-Espinoza; Buentello-Malo; Gorodetsky; Smith
(2010). "Evaluating the farming/language dispersal hypothesis with
genetic variation exhibited by populations in the Southwest and
Mesoamerica". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 107 (15): 6759–6764.
doi:10.1073/pnas.0905753107. PMC 2872417 .
Kroeber, Alfred Louis (1907). Shoshonean dialects of California. The
University Press. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
Kroeber, Alfred Louis (1934). Uto-Aztecan Languages of Mexico. 8.
Boas, Franz (1917). "El dialecto mexicano de Pochutla, Oaxaca".
International Journal of American Linguistics (in Spanish). New York:
Douglas C. McMurtrie. 1 (1): 9–44. doi:10.1086/463709.
Hopi Dictionary Project (1998). Hopi Dictionary: Hopìikwa
Lavàytutuveni: A Hopi–English Dictionary of the Third Mesa Dialect
With an English–Hopi Finder List and a Sketch of Hopi Grammar.
Tucson: University of
Uto-Aztecan.org, a website devoted to the comparative study of the
Uto-Aztecan language family
Swadesh vocabulary lists for Uto-
v t e
Colorado River (Chemehuevi, Southern Paiute, Ute) Comanche Kawaiisu Mono Northern Paiute (including Bannock) Shoshoni (including Gosiute) Timbisha
Cahuilla Cupeño Kitanemuk Luiseño-Juaneño Serrano Tongva
Northern Tepehuan O'odham Pima Bajo Southern Tepehuan Tepecano
Downriver Guarijio Tarahumara Tubar Upriver Guarijio
Nahuatl Pipil Pochutec
Italics indicate extinct languages
v t e
List of primary language families
Afro-Asiatic Austronesian Khoe Kx'a Niger–Congo Nilo-Saharan? Tuu Mande? Songhay? Ijaw? Ubangian? Kadu?
Bangime Hadza Jalaa Sandawe Kwadi? Laal? Shabo?
Arab BANZSL French Lasima Tanzanian Others
Europe and Asia
Afro-Asiatic Ainu Austroasiatic Austronesian Chukotko-Kamchatkan Dravidian Eskimo–Aleut Great Andamanese Hmong–Mien Hurro-Urartian Indo-European Japonic Kartvelian Koreanic Mongolic Northeast Caucasian Northwest Caucasian Ongan Sino-Tibetan Tai–Kadai Tungusic Turkic Tyrsenian Uralic Yeniseian Yukaghir Dené–Yeniseian? Altaic? Austronesian–Ongan? Austro-Tai? Sino-Austronesian? Digaro? Kho-Bwa? Siangic? Miji? Vasconic?
Basque Burushaski Elamite Hattic Kusunda Nihali Nivkh Sumerian Hruso? Miju? Puroik?
BANZSL French German Japanese Swedish Chinese Indo-Pakistani Arab Chiangmai–Bangkok Others
New Guinea and the Pacific
Arai–Samaia Arafundi Austronesian Baining Binanderean–Goilalan Border Bulaka River Central Solomons Chimbu–Wahgi Doso–Turumsa East Geelvink Bay East Strickland Eleman Engan Fas Kaure–Kosare Kiwaian Kutubuan Kwomtari Lakes Plain Lower Mamberamo Lower Sepik Madang Mairasi North Bougainville Pauwasi Piawi Ramu Senagi Sentani Sepik Skou South Bougainville Teberan Tor–Kwerba–Nimboran Torricelli Trans-Fly Trans–New Guinea Turama–Kikorian West Papuan Yam Yawa Yuat North Papuan? Northeast New Guinea? Papuan Gulf?
Abinomn Anêm? Ata? Kol Kuot Porome Taiap? Pawaia Porome Sulka? Tambora Wiru
Hawai'i Sign Language Others
Arnhem/Macro-Gunwinyguan Bunuban Darwin River Eastern Daly Eastern Tasmanian Garawan Iwaidjan Jarrakan Mirndi Northern Tasmanian Northeastern Tasmanian Nyulnyulan Pama–Nyungan Southern Daly Tangkic Wagaydyic Western Daly Western Tasmanian Worrorran Yangmanic (Wardaman)
Giimbiyu Malak-Malak Marrgu Tiwi Wagiman
Algic Alsea Caddoan Chimakuan Chinookan Chumashan Comecrudan Coosan Eskimo–Aleut Iroquoian Kalapuyan Keresan Maiduan Muskogean Na-Dene Palaihnihan Plateau Penutian Pomoan Salishan Shastan Siouan Tanoan Tsimshianic Utian Uto-Aztecan Wakashan Wintuan Yokutsan Yukian Yuman–Cochimí Dené–Yeniseian? Hokan? Penutian?
Chimariko Haida Karuk Kutenai Seri Siuslaw Takelma Timucua Waikuri Washo Yana Yuchi Zuni
Inuit (Inuiuuk) Plains Sign Talk Others
Chibchan Jicaquean Lencan Mayan Misumalpan Mixe–Zoque Oto-Manguean Tequistlatecan Totonacan Uto-Aztecan Xincan Totozoquean?
Cuitlatec Huave Tarascan/Purépecha
Plains Sign Talk Mayan Others
Arawakan Arauan Araucanian Arutani–Sape Aymaran Barbacoan Boran Borôroan Cahuapanan Cariban Catacaoan Chapacuran Charruan Chibchan Choco Chonan Guaicuruan Guajiboan Jê/Gê Harákmbut–Katukinan Jirajaran Jivaroan Kariri Katembri–Taruma Mascoian Matacoan Maxakalian Nadahup Nambikwaran Otomákoan Pano-Tacanan Peba–Yaguan Purian Quechuan Piaroa–Saliban Ticuna–Yuri Timotean Tiniguan Tucanoan Tupian Uru–Chipaya Witotoan Yabutian Yanomaman Zamucoan Zaparoan Chimuan? Esmeralda–Yaruro? Hibito–Cholón? Lule–Vilela? Macro-Jê? Tequiraca–Canichana?
Isolates (extant in 2000)
Aikanã? Alacalufan Andoque? Camsá Candoshi Chimane Chiquitano Cofán? Fulniô Guató Hodï/Joti Irantxe? Itonama Karajá Krenak Kunza Leco Maku-Auari of Roraima Movima Mura-Pirahã Nukak? Ofayé Puinave Huaorani/Waorani Trumai Urarina Warao Yamana Yuracaré
Language isolates Unclassified languages Creoles Pidgins Mixed languages Artificial languages List of sign languages
Families with more than 30 languages are in bold. Families in italics have no living members.
v t e
Chibchan Jicaquean Lencan Mayan Misumalpan Oto-Manguean Tequistlatecan Totozoquean (Mixe–Zoque, Totonacan) Uto-Aztecan Xincan
Cuitlatec Huave Purépecha (Alagüilac?)
Hokan Macro-Mayan Macro-Chibchan Penutian Tolatecan
Mesoamerican language area
v t e
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