This special issue shows that Nahuatl was not a standard lingua franca spread across Mexico, but was used flexibly and spontaneously by people of many kinds for many different purposes, varying greatly according to the location, the ethnicity, and the social status of speakers and writers, as well as the passage of time. And the Nahuatl on the periphery showed archaic traits left over from the language's spread in preconquest times. The plasticity of Nahuatl is a key factor in its survival and success.

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