Purepecha AKA P'urhepecha (Phorhe, Phorhepecha), or Tarascan (Tarasco), is a language isolate or small language family spoken by more than 100,000 P'urhepecha people in the highlands of the Mexican state of Michoacan. Even though it is spoken within the boundaries of Mesoamerica P'urhepecha does not share many of the traits defining the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area, probably due to a long adherence to an isolationist policy. P'urhepecha was the main language of the pre-Columbian Tarascan state and became widespread in north western Mexico during the height of the Tarascan state. P'urhepecha has long been classified as a language isolate, unrelated to any other known language. This judgement is repeated in Campbell's authoritative classification (Campbell 1997). Greenberg assigned it to the Chibchan language family, but this proposal was rejected by specialists.
Contributions by Maunus, Kwamikagami, and Norm mit.