Librado Silva Galeana

was born on August 17, 1942, in Santa Ana Tlacotenco, Mexico . His parents were both Náhuatl speakers and passed the language down to Galeana. Fueled by a love of linguistics , he studied to become a teacher and dedicated much of his academic work to the preservation and promotion of his mother tongue of Náhuatl.

In the mid-1970s, he collaborated with fellow Náhuatl teachers to found the Ignacio Ramírez Social and Cultural Circle, a group named after the famed 19th-century Mexican writer and dedicated to the study of the language . Throughout his career, Galeana carried on Ramírez’s legacy of championing indigenous languages and knowledge. He contributed his expertise in Náhuatl to a variety of scholarly research to develop a deeper understanding of the indigenous heritage that helped to shape modern Mexico.

In recognition of his efforts to preserve the Náhuatl language and culture, Galeana was awarded the Nezahualcóyotl Prize for Indigenous Languages in 1994.

This year, Google released a Doodle illustrated by Chihuahua-based guest artist Raúl Urias celebrating Mexican translator, teacher, researcher, and author Librado Silva Galeana.

An expert in the ancient Náhuatl language that was spoken within Mexico’s Aztec and Toltec civilizations, Galeana is widely known for his Spanish translation of a 16th-century collection of Náhuatl oral history called Huehuetlahtolli: Testimonies of the Old Word, in addition to many other Náhuatl poems and stories that encapsulate Mexico’s rich history and culture.



According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Náhuatl language was spoken in central and western Mexico. Náhuatl, the most important of the Uto-Aztecan languages, was the language of the Aztec and Toltec civilizations. A large body of literature in Náhuatl, produced by the Aztecs, survives from the 16th century, recorded in an orthography that was introduced by Spanish priests and based on that of Spanish.

The phonology of Classical Náhuatl, the language of the Aztecs, was notable for its use of a tl sound produced as a single consonant and for the use of the glottal stop. The glottal stop has been lost in some modern dialects, replaced by h, and retained in others. The tl sound, however, serves to distinguish the three major modern dialects: central and northern Aztec dialects retain the tl sound, as can be seen in their name, Náhuatl. Eastern Aztec dialects, around Veracruz, Mexico, have replaced the tl by t and are called Náhuat. Western dialects, spoken primarily in the Mexican states of Michoacán and México, replace the tl with l and are called Náhual.

Classical Náhuatl used a set of 15 consonants and four long and short vowels. Its grammar was agglutinative, making much use of prefixes and suffixes, reduplication (doubling) of syllables, and compound words.


According to the Summer Institute of Linguistics, Náhuatl “has over a million and a half speakers, more than any other family of indigenous language s in Mexico today.” The name “Nahuatl” comes from the root nahua ([nawa]) which means “clear sound" or “command.”

Náhuatl is known worldwide because of the Aztecs, also called the “Mexica.” They lived in Mexico-Tenochtitlan in the 15th and 16th centuries and were the dominant civilization in Mesoamerica at the time of the Spanish colonization.


Google News


Noticias según tus intereses