Lynne Murphy lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Mon Jul 16 11:07:22 UTC 2001

>>> So if the stem were "chil", one
>>>   would expect, by assimilation, chil + tli --> chil-li.

I've not been paying a lot of attention to this string, but it seems like
people are trying to explain the British spelling 'chilli' on some
etymological basis.  I don't think the explanation goes back to Nahuatl so
much as it is in the British orthographic system.  After all, the Brits
spell 'pita (bread)' as 'pitta' and  'feta (cheese)' as 'fetta'.  I think
they just don't like the singleton consonant between two "short" vowels.
(in Am Eng, of course, the /i/ in 'pita' is tense, but I believe it's lax
in UK Eng).


M Lynne Murphy
Lecturer in Linguistics
School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH

phone +44-(0)1273-678844
fax   +44-(0)1273-671320

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