In 1917 it was documented in a short article by Franz Boas, who already at that time considered the language nearly extinct. In the 1970s Tim Knab found two speakers around Pochutla who still remembered a few of the words documented by Boas, and Knab suggests that there may have been some actual speakers well into the 20th century.
Judging from the data collected by Boas, Pochutec was the most divergent of the known Nahuan dialects. Although it has been a matter of some discussion in Nahuatl dialectology, Pochutec is currently classified as constituting a separate branch among the Nahuatl dialects.
Bartholomew (1980) suggests that some of the divergent traits, for example last syllable stress, are due to influence from Chatino, an Oto-Manguean language. She argues that at the time of the 16th century Spanish conquest of Mexico the settlement of Pochutla did not fall under the Aztec Empire's domain, but instead was part of the Mixtec state centered at Tututepec. Thus, the Chatino linguistic influences stemmed from the trade and communication routes between Pochutla and Tututepec passing through Chatino territory.