Nahuatl Alphabet

My attempt to produce an alphabet suitable for the Nahuatl language based on these criteria:

  • Able to facilitate learning Nahuatl
  • Similar enough to Latin alphabet to ease learning and transition
  • Be based on historical Nahuatl logograms.

Is this necessary?

Depends. Nahuatl is already written in the Latin alphabet using Spanish sound conventions, although there is some deviation. This is due to the process of colonization in which the Spanish burned untold numbers of indigenous American manuscripts. It is thought that the Nahuatl manuscripts were primarily logographic. However, a few of the surviving pre-Columbian codices reveal hints of a phonetic system of writing. We will never know for sure – but this is an attempt to honor that legacy.

Draft Alphabet – very much a work in progress

Grid showing Nahuatl alphabet developed by Jason E. Ybarra
New Nahuatl Alphabet v0.1 Author: Jason E. Ybarra

References and Resources

Lacadena, A. (2008). Regional Scribal Traditions: Methodological Implications for the Decipherment of Nahuatl Writing. The PARI Journal. 8(4). 1-22.

Lacadena, A. (2008). The wa1 and wa2 Phonetic Signs and the Logogram for WA in Nahuatl Writing. The PARI Journal. 8(4). 38-45.