Native toMexico
Extinct1960s, with the death of Juana Can
Language codes
ISO 639-3cuy
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Cuitlatec, or Cuitlateco, is an extinct language of Mexico, formerly spoken by an indigenous people known as Cuitlatec.


Cuitlatec has not been convincingly classified as belonging to any language family. It is believed to be a language isolate. In their controversial classification of the indigenous languages of the Americas, Greenberg and Ruhlen include Cuitlatec in an expanded Chibchan language family (Macro-Chibchan), along with a variety of other Mesoamerican and South American languages.[1] Escalante Hernández suggests a possible relation to the Uto-Aztecan languages.[2]

Geographic distribution

Cuitlatec was spoken in the state of Guerrero. By the 1930s, Cuitlatec was spoken only in San Miguel Totolapan. The last speaker of the language, Juana Can, is believed to have died in the 1960s.[2] In 1979, only two elderly women, Florentina Celso and Apolonia Robles, were able to remember about fifty words of the language.[3]



Cuitlatec consonant phonemes
Labial Dental Palatal Velar Labio-velar Glottal
Plosive p b t d k ɡ ʔ
Fricative ɬ ʃ h
Approximant l j w
Nasal m n


Cuitlatec vowel phonemes
  Front Central Back
High i ɨ u
Low e a o


Sentences generally follow SVO word order. Adjectives precede the nouns they modify.


  1. ^ Greenberg, Joseph; Ruhlen, Merritt (2007-09-04). "An Amerind Etymological Dictionary" (PDF) (12 ed.). Stanford: Dept. of Anthropological Sciences Stanford University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-25. Retrieved 2008-06-27. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ a b Escalante Hernández, Robert (1962). El Cuitlateco. México, D.F.: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia.
  3. ^ Valiñas Coalla, Leopoldo; Cortina Borja, Mario; Mireles Padilla, Miguel (2010-03-11). "Notas sobre el cuitlateco". Anales de Antropología (in Spanish). 21 (1). doi:10.22201/iia.24486221e.1984.1.15915 (inactive 31 December 2022). ISSN 2448-6221.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of December 2022 (link)