SANTA FE (KRQE) - Some gang members serving prison sentences are using an ancient language to try to keep control of their criminal organizations on the outside as corrections officers work fast to crack the code. Capt. Joe Lytle said the inmates are sending out messages written in Nahuatl, a 1,400-year-old Aztec language.
Conducting field research in southern Bolivia, linguist Susan Kalt hikes roughly two hours to reach the communities where she studies Quechua. The people are still subsistence farmers, who grow potatoes, grains and herd livestock. Yet, even in these isolated Andean communities, outside forces threaten the indigenous language.
It's the language that gave us the words for chocolate and tomato, with sounds whose "i" hum lingers in listeners' ears. Now a small group of New Yorkers wants to make sure the enigmatic-sounding tongue of the Aztecs, Nahuatl, is preserved in the Big Apple.