Excerpt from nativelanguages.org

Unlike other confederacies of related Indian peoples such as the Iroquois or Wabanaki, however, the Pueblo people are linguistically diverse, speaking languages from four unrelated language families: the Acoma, Cochiti, Laguna, San Felipe, Santa Ana, Santo Domingo, and Zia Pueblos speak Keresan languages; the Isleta, Jemez, Nambe, Picuris, Pojoaque, Sandia, San Ildefonso, San Juan, Santa Clara, Taos, Tesuque, and Tigua/Ysleta del Sur Pueblos speak Kiowa-Tanoan languages; the Zuni speak their own language which is not known to be related to any other; and the Hopi, furthest west, speak a Uto-Aztecan language distantly related to Nahuatl.

As with Tiwa, Tewa and Towa, there is some disagreement among the Keres people as to whether Keres should be a written language or not. Some Pueblo elders feel that their languages should be preserved by oral traditions alone. However, many Keres speakers have decided that literacy is important for passing the language on to the children. The Keres-speaking pueblos have developed their own orthography (spelling system) for their language, and today there are programs teaching Pueblo children to read and write in five of the seven Keres-speaking pueblos.

Keresan Word Sets

Not all Pueblo people agree on whether Keres should be a written language or not. See this page for an interesting discussion of this topic by a Keres speaker. On our page, we have only included vocabulary words from Keres-speaking pueblos who are teaching their language as a written language in tribal schools today.


english Cochiti words Laguna words
Man hachtzeh hadztse
Woman k’uyaw koya
Dog tiya tiya
Sun oshach osadza
Moon tahwach tawadza
Water tz’itz tsits
White k’ahshah or sch’amotz schamuts
Yellow kuchin kochiñi
Red kukain kukañi
Black muh’nah’kain mishchts