In California prisons both the Mexican Mafia and the rival Nuestra Familia use Aztec mythology to recruit and train soldiers for their wars. As a part of this tactic, Mexicans and Mexican Americans who can barely say taco are being taught dialects of the ancient Aztec language Nahuatl.

I have added a few more words to a captured Nahuatl dictionary, intercepted by staff in New Folsom in September 2000. The last line of the captured prison message read, "IN OTIN IHUANA IN TONALI NICAN TZONQUIA ILHUI..." or "Here ends the road and days..."

NAHUATL DICTIONARY:

NAHUATL/ENGLISH

ACHAUTLI/Boss

AHUILNEMA/Sex or Intercourse

ATLATL/Skinning Knife

CAHUAYO/Horse or Heroin

CALLI/House or Cell

CAPULLI/School

CHICHLTIC/Red

CHIMALI/Shield

CIHUA/Woman

CIUATLI/Lady

COYOTS/Coyote or Wolf

CUILONYOTL/Punk

EXTLI/Blood

HAULLA/Come

ILHUI/Days

ITZTOLI/Metal or Shank

IXPOL/Northerners

IXTLI/Eye

KAN/South or Sur

KANPOL/Southerner

MA/No

MACA/Give

MACUAHITL/War Club

MALINALI/Marijuana

MATI/Know

MAUHTIA/Scared

MEXICATL/Mexican

MICA/Brother

MIEC/A lot or Much

MINA/Arrow

MIQUI/Dead or Die

MIXCHIA/Wait

MIXPATZINCO/Salutations

MOCHI/Everything

MOCHIPA/Always

MOMO/Your hand

MOZTLA/Tomorrow

N'DETATDE/Tattoo

NANTLI/Mother

OCELOTL/Tiger

OCTLI/Wine or Pruno

PACQUI/Happy

PICIETL/Tobacco

PILI POL/Small person

PILLI/Senor

PITZOME/Pig or Cop

POCHTECATL/Trader

QUA/Eat

QUALANQUI/Angry at everyone

QUAUTLI/Eagle

QUIMICHIMI/ Spy

TECHICHI/Dog

TECPATL/Big knife

TECONI/Speak

TEZCATL/Mirror

TI/You

TLA/Yes

TLILLIPOL/Blacks

TONALI/Destiny

TONATI/Sun

TOPILE/Law or Cops

TUCA/Rat or Snitch

TUIA/Soldier

VEI/Big

VEL/Good or OK

YACATL/Point

YAOTL/Enemy

YUALLI/Night

Related Blog Post:

Do You Speak Nahuatl?

Author

Richard Valdemar
Richard Valdemar

Richard Valdemar

Sgt. Richard Valdemar retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after spending most of his 33 years on the job combating gangs.

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Sgt. Richard Valdemar retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after spending most of his 33 years on the job combating gangs.

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