For the Past 20 Years, David Vazquez Has Kept the Language of the Aztecs Alive
December 1, 2016
"Okay, let's start with practice!" Davíd Vázquez says in Spanish to a dozen or so students seated in the basement choir room of the Episcopal Church of the Messiah in Santa Ana. His jet-black hair is gathered into a tightly braided ponytail; his tone is emphatic but patient. The 61-year-old proceeds to offer customary greetings in Nahuatl, the language of the Mexicas of Mexico, better known as the Aztecs. "Tanecic!" "Tiotaqui!" "Tayohuah!" The class repeats those words (which mean "Good morning!" "Good afternoon!" and "Good evening!") as Vázquez looks on. He's wearing huaraches and a buttoned-up, red-and-green-striped shirt whose sleeves flare slightly below the elbow. On the back is two beautifully embroidered Mexica images of half-turkey, half-eagle symbols intertwined in battle.
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