Keres is a language isolate spoken by the Keres Pueblo people of northern New Mexico in the USA. In 2007 about 10,670 people spoke Keres, which is also known as Keresan. Linguists have tried to connect Keres with other languages, such as the Hokan, Siouan and Iroquoian languages. However, further research found that Keres is not related to any of these language familes.

There are seven Keres pueblos, each of which speak a different dialect of the language. Neighbouring dialects are mutually intelligible. The dialects are classified into Western and Eastern groups. The Western group includes the Acoma and Laguna pueblos, and the Eastern group includes the pueblos of Cochiti, San Felipe, Santa Domingo, Zia and Santa Ana.

Keres dialects

Eastern Keres
Kotyit dialect - spoken in Cochiti Pueblo by about 600 people (in 2007)
Katishtya dialect - spoken in San Felipe Pueblo by about 2,340 people (in 2007)
Kewa dialect - spoken in Santo Domingo Pueblo by about 2,850 people (in 2007)
Ts'ia dialect - spoken in Zia Pueblo by about 500 people (in 2007)
Tamaiya dialect - spoken in Santa Ana Pueblo by about 390 people (in 2007)
Western Keres
Áakʼu dialect - spoken in Acoma Pueblo by about 1,930 people (in 2007)
Kawaika dialect - spoken in Laguna Pueblo by about 2,060 people (in 2007)

Source: Ethnologue

There is a belief among Keres speakers that their language is sacred and must only be spoken, and not written. Orthographies have, however, been devised for the K'awaika dialect of Laguna Pueblo and the Áakʼu dialect of Acoma Pueblo. The alphabet chart below shows the Acoma orthography.

Keres is in schools in Laguna, Zia and Cochiti pueblos. There are also language revitalzation programs in Acoma, Cochiti and Laguna pueblos. An online dictionary of Acoma Keres was compiled between 2016 and 2018, and other materials are being developed to document and teach the language.

Acoma Keres (Áakʼu) alphabet and pronunciation

Acoma Keres alphabet and pronunciation


Download an alphabet chart for Keres (Excel)

Sample text in Keres

Ái dítʼîishu srbígà kʼánâaya dyáʼâʼu. Shʼée srbígà ái dyěitsị ái náyáa shdyɨ dyáʼa.


Videos in and about Keres

Information about Keres | Numbers


Information about the Keres language

Language isolates

Adaizan, Ainu, Basque, Burushaski, Candoshi-Shapra, Chitimacha, Eskayan, Hadza, Haida, Karuk, Kawésqar, Keres, Kuot, Kusunda, Kutenai, Natchez, Nihali, Nivkh, Páez, Purepecha, Sandawe, Seri, Sumerian, Tartessian, Ticuna, Tiwi, Tonkawa, Tunica, Urarina, Waorani, Wardaman, Washo, Yaghan, Yuchi/Euchee, Zuni

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 14.04.24


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