niciativa para la


ecuperación del



















Home page



v      The Nawat language

v      Grammar

v      Vocabulary

v      Conversation

v      Texts

v      Song


Who we are:

v      IRIN

v      TIT

v      IRIN-International


Join us!

v      We need you!

v      Come in and say hello!

v      Visitors’ comments

v      Write to us


The Nawat language recovery initiative:


v      The recovery plan

v      Nawat goes to school

v      Inside NNT

v      Nawat for adults

v      Linguistic work on Nawat

v      Other objectives



The Nawat Language Recovery Initiative: IRIN


IRIN, the Nawat Language Recovery Initiative, is an independent El Salvador-based association in support of the Nawat language. Membership is free and open to anybody interested in supporting Nawat language recovery. IRIN holds periodic meetings to discuss the current situation of the language, achievements, goals and needs of the language recovery process, ways of obtaining and using the association's resources, and other relevant issues.


How IRIN began


IRIN president Genaro Ramírez, a native speaker of Nawat and director of the House of Culture, Witzapan (Santo Domingo de Guzmán, Sonsonate)

IRIN came into being on September 27, 2003 at a meeting in Santo Domingo de Guzmán (Sonsonate, El Salvador), followed by a series of further meetings in 2003 in various locations in the region to discuss the organisation and its goals. IRIN has since grown, and a provisional board (a president, two vice-presidents and a secretary) was elected in January 2004. Membership is currently close to twenty and is expected to grow steadily as it develops new activities and extends into other geographic areas.


Why we founded IRIN


IRIN vice-president Raúl Tula, a school teacher and participant in the Nawat pilot school project

IRIN was founded because its members perceive that a successful language recovery process must depend on support from within the society and community, directly involving language speakers, the concerned public and those actively devoted to saving the language from extinction and giving it a new lease on life.


IRIN vice-president Sandra de Caridad, a school teacher and participant in the Nawat pilot school project

IRIN exists to help organise such support and to fulfil the need for an autonomous organisation that brings together and represents people dedicating important parts of their lives - some on a purely voluntary basis with no other institutional backing - to the shared dream of keeping Nawat alive and improving the conditions of its use and status.



How IRIN plans to work


Cecilia de Méndez, retired school teacher, coordinator of the adult Nawat program Tejemet Nusan, and secretary of IRIN

IRIN does not see itself primarily as a direct actor performing the various aspects of language recovery work. Instead, IRIN's main concerns are to determine what projects, programs and activities are necessary to try to bring about a successful recovery of the language, to offer any and all support possible to any such work that is being done and those performing it, and to encourage, and if necessary initiate, tasks that still need to be undertaken to ensure the existence of a rational and viable language recovery plan.


The support IRIN can offer to such undertakings will depend on the resources it has available. These may include funding, equipment, training, information, library resources, expert assessment, coordination, contacts, community work, infrastructure, and paid or volunteer work. IRIN currently supports several working assistants and cooperates with existing Nawat projects and programs. The section of this website called the Nawat language recovery initiative gives details of the objectives and activities currently being promoted as part of IRIN's language recovery plan.


IRIN's provisional board


  • President: Genaro Ramírez Vázquez

Don Genaro is a highly respected and well-known figure in the Nawat language movement and the Pipil community. A native of Witzapan (Santo Domingo de Guzmán), one of the few remaining Nawat-speaking towns, he is unique among native speakers of Nawat in having contributed to the language's written literature, since most speakers are illiterate. He has cooperated with language researchers and Nawat projects, and represents an invaluable living source of linguistic knowledge. He is currently director of the Casa de la Cultura in his native Witzapan.


  • Vice-President: Raúl Tula Ramos

Raúl is a native of Itzalku (Izalco), a historical Pipil capital and a major centre for the Nawat language prior to the 1932 massacre. Very few native speakers are still to be found in Izalco, but Raúl, who is a teacher in a local school, has received language instruction and special training as a Nawat teacher within the pilot school program, and is now a practising Nawat teacher.


  • Vice-President: Sandra Orellana de Caridad

Sandra was born in Santa Tecla but works as a schoolteacher in her adopted town of Nawitzalku (Nahuizalco), which boasted a large Nawat-speaking population prior to the persecutions. She has received language instruction and special training as a Nawat teacher within the pilot school program, and is now a practising Nawat teacher.


  • Secretary: Cecilia de Méndez

An izalqueña and retired schoolteacher, Cecy has been studying and teaching Nawat in her hometown for years. She was an active member of an earlier Nawat school project, and even after that project ceased to function has never given up her enthusiasm for the language. Cecy is a member of the staff of the Nawat Language Office TIT in Itzalku and coordinator of Tejemet Nusan, a new program to teach Nawat to adults in the Pipil region.


IRIN resources


IRIN has only modest resource needs for its own internal functioning: mostly infrastructure needs which can be shared.


IRIN's need for more substantial resources is determined by its mission to support pro-Nawat projects and activities which lack sufficient resources of their own. Since the resources available to such projects and activities are subject to variation, so are IRIN's own resource needs.


We hope that this website will help to attract badly needed aid: click here for details.




IRIN meetings


© 2004 Alan R. King, Monica Ward and IRIN.