Purépecha (P'urhépecha)

Purépecha is a language isolate spoken by some 175,000 people in the highlands of the Mexican state of Michoacán. Purépecha was the principal language of the Tarascan state, which was founded in the early 14th century, occupied more or less same area as Michoacán, and fell to the Spanish in 1530. Purépecha is also known as Tarascan as a result.

The word Tarascan, or tarasco in Spanish, comes from the Purépecha word for father-in-law / son-in-law, tarascue.

After the Spanish conquest of the Tarascan state, Spanish Friars devised a way to write Purépecha with the Latin alphabet, and taught it to the Purépecha speakers. A number of dictionaries, grammars and other materials were published. From the early 18th century speakers of indigenous languages like Purépecha were encouraged to adopt Spanish and to abandon their native languages. This changed in 2003 when the General Law of Linguistic Rights of Indigenous Peoples gave Purépecha and other indigenous Mexican language official status as national languages.

Purépecha alphabet (P'urhépecha Jimbo Kararakuecha)

Purépecha alphabet and pronunciation

Download an alphabet chart for Purepecha (Excel)


Sample text

Iamendu k'uiripuecha janguarhiparini ka majku jarhati ka jurhimbekuecha jingoni kueraaηasondikso ka, juajtakuarhisïndiksï ambakiti eratsekua ka kaxumbikua, jatsistiksï eskaksï sesi arhijperaaka.

Translation (of all the above texts)

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Sample videos in Purhepecha


Information about Purépecha language

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Language isolates

Adaizan, Ainu, Basque, Burushaski, Candoshi-Shapra, Chitimacha, Eskayan, Hadza, Haida, Karuk, Kawésqar, Keres, Kuot, Kusunda, Kutenai, Natchez, Nihali, Nivkh, Páez, Purepecha, Sandawe, Seri, Sumerian, Tartessian, Ticuna, Tiwi, Tonkawa, Tunica, Urarina, Waorani, Wardaman, Washo, Yaghan, Yuchi/Euchee, Zuni

Page last modified: 28.02.22


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