Nawat (Nāwat)

Nawat is a Southern Uto-Aztecan language spoken mainly in western El Salvador, particularly in the departments of Sonsonate and Ahuachapán. Since the 1990s there have been various efforts to revive and revitalise the language, including the Nawat Language Recovery Initiative. Thanks to these grassroots movements, which receive no government support, the number of speakers of Nawat rose from about 200 in the 1980s to 3,000 in 2009.

Nawat is also known as Pipil or Nahuat. Nawat speakers call it Nāwat or Nāwataketsalis. It is a descendent of the Nahuatl spoken by Aztecs who fled from Mexico in 900 AD to escape persecution by Olmecs. Over time their language changed and is no longer mutually intelligible with Nahuatl. They settled in what would become El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, though today their language is only spoken in El Salvador, having become extinct elsewhere.

Nawat alphabet and pronunciation

There are several different ways to write Nawat. The one shown here is used by the Iniciativa de Recuperación del Idioma Nawat (IRIN).

Nawat alphabet and pronunciation


Download an alphabet chart for Nawat (Excel)

Sample text

Muchi ne tay gen tu weyga nestiwit tamagixti genga tik ekneliat wan ipal wan gichiwtiwit ipal ma munegigan ne se pal ne se.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Sample videos

Information about Nawat | Numbers


Information about the Nawat language

Online Nawat lessons

Ne Bibliaj Tik Nawat (The Bible in Nawat)

Uto-Aztecan languages

Comanche, Cora, Hopi, Huarijio, Huichol, Ivilyuat / Cahuilla, Kawaiisu, Luiseño, Mayo, Mono, O'odham, Nahuatl, Nawat (Pipil), Northern Paiute, Serrano, Shoshone, Southern Paiute, Tarahumara, Tepehuán (Northern), Tepehuán (Southeastern), Tepehuán (Southwestern), Timbisha, Tongva, Yaqui

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 10.05.24


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