What language did the Aztecs speak?

The Aztec language is called Nahuatl, and is actually still spoken by about 1.5 million people in various mountainous and rural regions of Mexico. Modern-day Mexican Spanish incorporates several Nahuatl loan words, as well. There are towns and other geographical features named after famous rulers like Moctezuma as well. Some common words in English even have Nahuatl roots. “Avocado,” for example, is a Nahuatl loan word, as are “tomato,” “coyote,” “axolotl,” “chili,” and (perhaps most importantly) “chocolate.”

So while we may not speak the Nahuatl language or know as much as we would like to about Aztec culture and history, we know that we owe them a huge debt of gratitude for naming the fruit that we have to thank for our beloved guacamole and avocado toast, without which many a party, sporting event, late-night snack, and brunch would be ruined. Not only that, but without the word “coyote,” we would not have the famous Wile E. Coyote, cultural fixture and Looney-Tunes nemesis of the Roadrunner.

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