Mexico: New book so that anyone can learn Nahuatl


A book that helps solve a problem: one that has to do with teaching Nahuatl, the language with the most speakers in the country.

A book that helps solve a problem: one that has to do with the teaching of Nahuatl, the language with the most speakers in the country but that has few pedagogical materials in which the teachers of the language can support themselves.

A book that is, above all, a material made by a teacher concerned because the language is kept alive not only inside the community, but outside, for a strong reason: “That the other acquires something that is his by the simple fact of being Mexican. “

Ma Ticzalocan Nahuatl: APREN da Nahuatl mos  is the title of the book prepared by the nahuatlato, professor and scholar of language José Abraham Mendez Hernandez, who made this compendium of teaching materials variant of Nahuatl spoken in the region Puebla, in auxiliary meetings such as Azumiatla, La Resurrección and San Miguel Canoa.

Presented at the Palafoxiana Library after three years of preparation, the book was commented by historians Pilar Paleta and Fabiola Carrillo, who highlighted the appearance of this book, which, like the language, deserves more than “a workshop or a summer course”, because it must become a subject of study like any other language.

José Abraham Méndez said that the project was born when he was studying for a diploma in language teaching at the UNAM, after completing his master’s degree in Mesoamerican Studies at the national university. During it, while he began to give courses in the Faculty of Political Sciences of the same house of studies, he began to “practice the way he would teach it”.

In 2015, back in Puebla and giving classes at the Poblano Youth Institute, he started making his materials, thinking about pedagogy and instruction, seeing what worked and what did not, since he was interested in keeping the language alive, that the exercises were suitable for the level, without filling up grammatical problems, because as the language progresses it becomes more complicated.

He said that back in Mexico City and with the development of more materials, he thought then of specifying an exercise book that worked at a distance with the illustrators, who took features of reality: embroidered flowers on the traditional aprons, the church of the villages, the temazcal, the corn.

“We rescue Nahuatl but also the expression and culture, with a vocabulary supported by variants, with medium term loans: neither purist nor free. We use old texts like that of Fray Alonso de Molina, we rescue the useful vocabulary, the neologisms. “

Create new book so that anyone can learn Nahuatl

“We include the Nahuatl of the cities of Puebla and Mexico and tell their history, and the way in which ours is linked to that of Tlaxcala, Cholula and the Mixteca,” said the historian trained at the UAP.

Méndez Hernández explained that the book  Ma Ticzalocan Nahuatl : Let’s learn Nahuatl  is divided into four units and two reviews. In the first, a presentation methodology is given, and the colors and numbers are introduced. In the second, on the other hand, he talks about vegetation and animals, including those endemic species such as the axolotl, which includes his legend of creation.

He highlighted the third unit with audios that serve to hear accents from different communities, so that the student “understands that there are many Nahuatl and that it changes 15 minutes away from one population to another, even though it is the same variant”.

The last unit, however, is the body that serves not only to know the name of each part but to speak, because the body serves to describe spaces and times.

“The book will have its details. Since 2015, three years ago, I review it. I started the second one and to make three is the goal “ , concluded José Abraham Méndez.

For her part, the historian Pilar Paleta considered that the notebook of who was her student, is at the same time a workshop of joy and play. He celebrated that young people like him do not give up on the goal of revitalizing the language, return to the matrix and inhabit this vision of the world that goes towards the non-consumer and the non-destructive.

Create new book so that anyone can learn Nahuatl

“It has a simple and basic content, but it provokes the adoption of the language in everyday life, which is where culture is learned and recreated,” said the UAP professor.

In the same way, Fabiola Carrillo emphasized that teaching Nahuatl and not having pedagogical support materials has to do with a great problem: not considering languages ​​to the native languages, although these have a graph and a grammar.

He continued that, since they were not officialized or taught, there is an invisibility of the speakers and their wealth, with the emergence of discrimination and racism, dispossession, migration and the prohibition to speak the language.

The also graduated from the UNAM said that, therefore, the book by José Abraham Méndez helps to contribute and encourage the transmission of the language, although it is clear that much remains to be done.

“As teachers we should not settle for workshops and summer courses. The teaching of Nahuatl must be at all educational levels. If the language is taught in other countries, then why should we settle here and not give it that importance, “ sentenced the winner of the State Youth Prize 2014 Tlaxcala.

Lastly, Carrillo qualified Méndez’s notebook, which activates the reading, oral, and written “competences” as an “exercise in perseverance in the struggle to keep the original languages ​​of Mexico from dying.”

Stresses that, from November 9, every Friday from 12 to 16 hours, the Nahuatlato will give a free workshop in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the UAP within the framework of the tenth Conference of Nahuatl and native culture.

Create new book so that anyone can learn Nahuatl


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