New Literacy Creations

Mitla Ruina

Mexican Indian languages have a long literary tradition. Poems, songs, stories, and legends are transmitted by word of mouth, some of them from before the Spaniards arrived.

When they are only spoken or sung and not written down they are continually being transformed. The narrator or performer recreates a piece, bringing it up to date. This revitalizes it and gives it a modern flavor for the listener, but at the same time makes it lose, little by little, what it once said.

Alphabets have been formed for most of the native languages of Mexico, some many centuries ago, others in recent years. Now, those who know the literature are writing it down using these alphabets. In this way, it becomes more stable, but it loses some of its vitality. New literature is also being created: poems, narratives, and stories written by Nahuatl, Zapotec, and Mayan authors, and speakers of many other native languages of Mexico.