Languages

In all pueblo societies, language has a direct connection to religion. In several cases, it wasn't until it became clear to the tribal elders their language was dying before they would allow the creation of a written version or a dictionary of their language as part of the efforts to preserve their language(s). The people of Jemez still forbid any written forms of their language and that stops development of a Towa Dictionary... and the people of Jemez are the only speakers of Towa (Pecos Pueblo also spoke Towa but when that pueblo was abandoned in the early 1800's, the people of Pecos were invited to move to Jemez and they did so).

Spoken among the pueblos are Hopi, Zuni, Keresan, Tiwa, Tewa and Towa. Zuni has been classed as a complete "isolate" (meaning: isolated so long it has developed along its own path without traceable root). Keres is also an isolate and the two main branches, Eastern and Western, are sometimes classed as separate languages. Hopi is classed as a member of the Uto-Aztecan family, a group of languages that span from central Mexico to Oregon and Idaho. Tiwa, Tewa and Towa have been grouped in the Tanoan-Kiowa family of languages. In the Tanoan-Kiowa group, Towa is closer to Kiowa than to Tewa-Tiwa but all tongues in the group share a common ancestor. A proposal has been put forth that would convert the Tanoan-Kiowa family to a Tanoan-Aztecan family with a connection to the Uto-Aztecan family and the greater overview that would create would potentially bring the Zuni language into connection with that proto-language.

Hopi Speaking Pueblos

Keres Speaking Pueblos

Tewa Speaking Pueblos

Tiwa Speaking Pueblos

Towa Speaking Pueblos

Zuni Speaking Pueblos