Chile on eggs?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sat Jul 14 03:34:01 UTC 2001

>The spelling "chilli" is suspect.

The only large Nahuatl dictionary I find on the Web gives "chïhli" =
"chile", "chïlkwa" = "to eat chile", "chïltlamätsuwahli" = "taco made with
chile sauce", etc., etc. ... also "möhli" = "mole [sauce]"!

[Apparently the "umlaut" indicates a long vowel. The "h" seems to be like
English "h" or perhaps formerly like a glottal stop. I don't see "ll" in
this transliteration of this dialect: it must = "hl" (e.g., "house" here =
"kahli", elsewhere "calli"; above "möhli" elsewhere with "ll"), but it is
said to be like English "ll", not like Spanish "ll". There are standard
transliterations of Nahuatl; they follow Spanish to varying degrees (e.g.,
sometimes the "hu" is written "w").]

The Spanish  development into "chile" might arise from dialect difference
or because the "i" sounds different from the "ï". Might an unstressed short
terminal "i" when contrasted with a long "i" tend to "e" in Spanish
perception? Anyway, looks like it happened in "mole" too.

In composing this note I have increased my knowledge of Nahuatl by >1000%.

-- Doug Wilson

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