Beyond a Lingua Franca: The Nahuatl/Nawat in Central America Project

The LLILAS Benson Digital Scholarship in the Americas Series presents a talk by Laura Matthew, "Beyond a Lingua Franca: The Nahuatl/Nawat in Central America Project."

Scholarship on historical Nahuatl, the "language of the Aztecs," is rich, deep, and focused overwhelmingly on the colonial period and central Mexico. But Nahua languages were also natively spoken in so-called peripheries like Chiapas, Guatemala, and El Salvador, where Nawat-Pipil survives to the present day although it is extremely endangered. This talk examines a corpus of nearly 50 colonial-era documents in Nahuatl from Central America, and considers how open access, interdisciplinary study, and transnational collaborations can advance historical knowledge of Mesoamerican languages and support revitalization efforts.

Laura Matthew is a historian of southern Mesoamerica during the Spanish colonial era. Currently, she is researching Indigenous trade and migration along the southern Pacific coast from Oaxaca to El Salvador during the violent sixteenth century, and continues to investigate the use of Nahuatl, the language of the Aztec empire, in Central America as director of the digital project "Nahuatl/Nawat in Central America."

For more information, contact Albert Palacios at

Monday, March 27, 2017 at 4:00pm to 5:15pm

Sid Richardson Hall (SRH), SRH 1.313, Hackett Room
2300 RED RIVER ST., Austin, Texas 78712

Event Type

Academics, Arts & Humanities, World & Culture

Target Audience

Students, Faculty



Free and open to the public

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