Online Classical Nahuatl Class

I’m launching my Fall 2018 on-line Classical Nahuatl course on September 19. If that sounds at all interesting, here’s a basic overview of how the class will work.

Basic Classical Nahuatl 101 is a thirteen-module, self-paced course that requires no previous knowledge of the language. Each module consists of four elements:

1. A 20-slide presentation on a particular aspect of Classical Nahuatl, narrated by your instructor. You have the ability to repeat slides (or the entire presentation) as many times as you want. And you can view the presentation on any day you want, not just the first day it goes live.

2. A translating/writing exercise that you can submit to the instructor for feedback (within the month that the course is officially active).

3. A quiz that you can take to test your growing understanding of the language. Both #2 and #3 are optional. No pressure!

4. A vocabulary list.

Though the course has been assigned to a particular season, you are not limited in your access to just that month. Your $120 gives you access to that course for the ENTIRE YEAR. Note also that you can only access the course online, but it is iPhone & iPad friendly.

Intrigued? Head over to the course site to check out the free trial goodies and then sign up if you’re ready to take the plunge!


  1. Hello, David –

    About a year ago, shortly after my wife died, I came across a collection of paintings for sale. I determined that I would buy one, partly because I thought the art was OK, but mainly because the artist’s first name was the same as my wife’s – Jana. Of course, the painting that I selected has grown on me to the point that, if I could keep only one art work, that would be the one.

    So, more recently, I took a class “Art Orientation”, and we spent one day on MesoAmerican art. I was online, trying to undo some confusions, when I came across an announcement for a reading from your book “Flower, Song, Dance”. I went immediately to Amazon and ordered a copy, because, as you may have noticed, my last name is Bowles. Another serendipitous surprise !! I think I learned more from your book’s introduction than from everything else that I had read, combined. You write SO WELL.

    Too bad I am running low on names …

    I do have a favor to ask. Since I saw your birthplace listed as Upper Marlboro, and I am from Bethesda, I got my brother-in-law to see if we were 14th cousins or something, but he came up empty. So I cannot invoke blood relationship, just ask a kindness. I would like to have the originals for a few of the poems that you translated. For the Aztec, I assume that would be text in a non-Western alphabet; for the Mayan, something directly from a Codex. I don’t know whether the Mayan would be in the form of glyphs or alphabetic, mixed, ??? If there is more than one format – eg glyphs and a translation into a non-Western alphabet, I would be interested in both. I have some vague ideas about how to use the originals and your English version to make some sort of artistic conjunction. So far, I have made a little progress on this (my opinion, nobody else seems very excited), using Mandarin characters and Eastern-style art.

    Thanks and best regards,

    PS I am a retired physicist. Art and poetry were never of much interest to me, BPE (before present era).

  2. Philip, what a joy to hear from you. Alas, I was only born in Upper Marlboro because my father was working in Naval Intelligence … I am a Texan through-and-through.

    Aztec poetry was preserved at the time of the conquest using the Roman alphabet and slightly tweaked Spanish phonetics. The only Maya poetry that survived the bonfires was similarly preserved. The only writing with glyphs that made it past the priests were political and historical writings carved into stellae and the like.

    If you click on you’ll find several of my translations from the Aztecs’ tongue with the original language transcribed as well.

    I could also scrounge up PDFs of the codices themselves with the interesting scribal script in which these songs were preserved. If you emailed me at I could send those along.

    Thanks so much for reaching out!

  3. David Johannesen

    I am quite interested. A couple years ago my wife and I attempted to start a Nahuatl study group here in Beach Park, Illinois, however the group never really caught on.

    We would be grateful if you would let us know when your next course will begin.

    David Johannesen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *