Old Nahuatl was the language of the Aztecs in new Mexico. Old Nahuatl was largely displaced by the Spanish language as the lingua franca of Mexico. This was following the Spanish Conquest of Mexico. With time, the language evolved to other Nahuatl dialects that are currently being used. Old Nahuatl is classified as an extinct language. It lives on through its written literature, which became popular after the introduction of the Latin alphabet. This early literary work has been among the best documented and the most studied in the Americas.
Old Nahuatl is an Uto-Aztecan language. It has been in use in Mexico since the 7th century. When the Spanish conquered Mexico, the Aztec writing system mainly consisted of pictographs. This writing system was used in combination with ideograms and syllables. This writing system was difficult for people to use as it was not possible to come up with a comprehensive list of all the vocabularies within that community. On the other hand, this writing system made it possible for the Aztecs to keep a record of their genealogical information, astronomy and tribute lists that they had. The Roman script was then introduced by the Spaniards. This writing system was easier to use. As a result, a large number of written literature were produced. However, this progress was hampered by the burning of the thousands of Aztec manuscripts by catholic priests. The Spanish introduced the Latin script. Since then, a standard spelling system for Nahuatl has not been established.
1.5 million people speak Nahuatl in Mexico. A large percentage of them are based in central Mexico, while the rest of them are spread throughout the country. Speakers can also be found in the US. Nahuatl has numerous dialects, most of which are mutually unintelligible. Most speakers also know Spanish well.