From Náhuatl to Guaraní: 5 Apps to Help You Learn Indigenous Languages

Lead Photo: Photo by Itzel Alejandra Martinez for Remezcla.
Photo by Itzel Alejandra Martinez for Remezcla.
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Some of us feel that speaking Spanish or Portuguese is an important marker of Latinidad. But with millions of people speaking indigenous languages in Latin America, we know this is far from the truth. Spanish is, of course, one thing that unites most of Latin America together, but it’s a language that was imposed on us. It’s one reason some Mexican writers have rejected Spanish to write in indigenous languages. For those of us who are interested in learning indigenous languages, technology has become a lifeline.

Several apps have sprung over the last few years to help us learn indigenous languages of Latin America. If you’re looking to take on a new language, here are a few apps you should check out:


Vamos a aprender náhuatl

Kernaia, a company intent on creating “an ecosystem of digital content for indigenous languages,” launched the Vamos a aprender náhuatl app for those interested in learning the Náhuatl spoken in Acatlan, Guerrero. Not unlike DuoLingo, the app – which is in Spanish and Náhuatl – features a glossary and quizzes to help users retain their lessons. What users won’t find is the language’s writing system. In the mid-1500s, Náhuatl faced extinction when Hernán Cortés conquered the Aztec Empire. Spaniards intended for their language to supplant Náhult.

The app is available on iOS and Android. Learn more here.


Habla Quechua

Quechua’s one of the most widely spoken indigenous language in the Americas. PromPerú developed the Habla Quechua app “with the aim of inspiring Peruvian citizens and foreigners to use and take an interest in the Quechua language.” The app – which is available to English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish speakers – features quizzes and a live translator feature.

The app is available on iOS and Android.


Eentsi (Ashaninka)

Though this app is geared toward children, it’s a great tool to begin familiarizing yourself with a new language. Created by Instituto de Investigación de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP), Eentsi aims to teach you basic sounds and words in Ashaninka.

The app is available on Android. IIAP has created more apps to help you learn other indigenous languages spoken in the Amazon.


Vamos a aprender purépecha

Kernaia has other language-learning apps, including one for Purépecha and Mixteco. The Purépecha app aims to teach users more than just words; it wants to also show them how an indigenous community in Michoacan is maintaining its traditions as the world changes.

The app is available on iOS and Android. Learn more here.



DuoLingo offers courses in more than 20 languages, including the Jopará dialect of Guaraní, which is spoken in Paraguay. The app offers quizzes and immediate grading.

DuoLingo is available on iOS and Android. Learn more here.