Nahuatl Question

r. joe campbell campbel at
Fri Jun 1 03:05:12 UTC 2001

On Thu, 31 May 2001, Frances Karttunen wrote:

> The other "tlael-" with negative connotations is actually tlahyel-.
> Tlahyelli means something dirty, foul.

   In the following examples of "tlahyel-", culled from the Florentine
Codex, I spelled the morpheme in question as "tlahe:l(-li)" as Andrews
spells it, but I don't dis-agree with Fran's spelling -- and I think that
hers is the more likely one (the sequence /hC/ is not uncommon in Nahuatl,
but intervocalic /h/ occurs normally only in the case of reduplication).

   One interesting point in the extended semantics of "tlahyelli" is that,
while it primarily refers to 'dirty, foul, disgusting, hateful, etc.', it
also is used adverbially to mean 'exceedingly', parallel to English
'filthy drunk' (having nothing to do with literal dirt) and 'filthy rich'.
In some modern dialects "pitzotl" [pig] is used in the same way:
"nicpitzonequi" 'I *really* want it' (San Miguel Canoa, Puebla).
And I *seem* to remember (but I'm very unsure) that it's possible to say
"nimitzpitzotlazohtla" 'I love you *a lot*' without any lewd connotations.

   For the sake of giving a tlapehualli that shows the semantic work of
'tlahyelli', I include the list below.  Note that in some cases there is
no English gloss... yet... *yet*... *YET*...

Best regards,


  cuauhtlaelli.  . <cuahuitl-tlahe:lli>.
  cuauhtlailli.  . <cuahuitl-tlahe:lli>.
  eztlaelli.  bloody flux. <eztli-tlahe:lli>.
  eztlahelli.  bloody flux. <eztli-tlahe:lli>.
  eztlahilli.  bloody flux. <eztli-tlahe:lli>.
  huellaelittaloni.  . <huel1-tlahe:lli-itta-lo:1 -ni1>.
  huellaelittaloni.  something which is worthy of abomination.
  tetlaelli.  . <tetl1-tlahe:lli>.
  tetlaelti.  . <p52-tlahe:lli-v04-caus08-prt1>.
  tetlayelli.  . <tetl1-tlahe:lli>.
  tlaelatl.  dirty water. <tlahe:lli-a:tl1>.
  tlaelchihua , mo-.  it is produced in abundance; they are produced
    in abundance. <p54-tlahe:lli-chi:hua>.
  tlaelihuintic.  filthily drunk. <tlahe:lli-ihuinti-c1>.
  tlaelitta , mitz-.  she detests you, she hates you.
  tlaelitta , qui-.  he hates it. <p33-tlahe:lli-itta>.
  tlaelittaloni.  abhorrent. <tlahe:lli-itta-lo:1-ni1>.
  tlaelittaloz.  he will be abominated, he will regarded with hate; it
    will be abhorred. <tlahe:lli-itta-lo:1-z>.
  tlaelittili , otiquimmo-.  you [H.] abominated them.
    <o:-p12-p43-p54-tlahe:lli-itta-ben-prt1 H?>.
  tlaelittilia , quimo-.  he [H.] abhors him.
    <p33-p54-tlahe:lli-itta-ben H?>.
  tlaelitto.  he is hated; he is detested; it is abhorred.
  tlaelittoni.  destestable. <tlahe:lli-itta-lo:1-ni1>.
  tlaelittoz.  he will be hated. <tlahe:lli-itta-lo:1-z>.
  tlaelitztihui , qui-.  they go regarding it as revolting; they go
    hating it. <p33-tlahe:lli-itta2-->.
  tlaellatol , i-.  her vile words. <poss-tlahe:lli-p51-itoa:-l1>.
  tlaellaza , mo-.  she scatters hatred. <p54-tlahe:lli-tla:za>.
  tlaelli.  bloody flux; filth; excrement; flux. <tlahe:lli>.
  tlaellitalozque.  they will be hated.
  tlaelmaca , quimo-.  he overindulges himself in it.
  tlaelnappa.  . <tlahe:lli-na:hui-pa2>.
  tlaelnemi.  . <tlahe:lli-nemi>.
  tlaelnequi , qui-.  he needs it immoderately.
  tlaelpaquiznequi.  it provokes lewdness.
  tlaelpatli.  medicine for diarrhea, for the flux.
  tlaelquiahuiz.  it will rain hard. <tlahe:lli-quiahui-z>.
  tlaelquiyahuitl.  hard rain, downpour. <tlahe:lli-quiahui-l2>.
  tlaeltetl.  common stone. <tlahe:lli-tetl1>.
  tlaeltextli.  poorly ground flour. <tlahe:lli-teci-l2>.
  tlaeltezcatl.  ugly mirror. <tlahe:lli-te:zcatl>.
  tlaelti , quin-.  it nauseated them.
  tlaelti , te-.  ; it sickened one. <p52-tlahe:lli-v04-caus08-prt1>.
  tlaeltia , mo-.  he becomes nauseated; he has nausea.
  tlaeltia , qui-.  it nauseates him, it disgusts him.
  tlaeltiani , mo-.  one that is nauseated.
  tlaeltique , mo-.  they were nauseated.
  tlahelchichipol.  . <tlahe:lli-chichi-po:l>.
  tlahelcihuatl.  detestable woman. <tlahe:lli-cihua:tl>.
  tlahelconepol.  disgusting child. <tlahe:lli-cone:tl-po:l>.
  tlahelcuani.  . <tlahe:lli-cua:-ni1>.
  tlahelhuehue.  vile old person. <tlahe:lli-hue:hueh>.
  tlahellaquetza.  he tells indecent stories. <tlahe:lli-p51-quetza>.
  tlahellatoa.  he speaks lewdly. <tlahe:lli-p51-ihtoa:>.
  tlahellaza , mo-.  he scatters hatred. <p54-tlahe:lli-tla:za>.
  tlahellazani , mo-.  one who scatters hatred.
  tlahelli.  filth; flux. <tlahe:lli>.
  tlahello.  filth; revolting; filthy. <tlahe:lli-yo:tl1>.
  tlahelmayahui , mo-.  . <p54-tlahe:lli-ma:yahui>.
  tlahelmayahuini , mo-.  one who spreads hatred.
  tlahelnelo , mo-.  he dirtied himself.
  tlahelneloa , timo-.  you defile yourself.
  tlaheloa , mo-.  she is hateful. <p54-tlahe:lli-v03-caus06>.
  tlahelpilli.  revolting noble. <tlahe:lli-pilli>.
  tlahelpol.  ; revolting person; revolting. <tlahe:lli-po:l>.
  tlahelti , te-.  . <p52-tlahe:lli-v04-caus08-prt1>.
  tlaheltia , te-.  he causes disgust. <p52-tlahe:lli-v04-caus08>.
  tlahilli.  flux. <tlahe:lli>.
  tlahiloquichtli.  rabid warrior. <tlahe:lli-oquichtli>.
  tlailitta , te-.  he despises people; she looks at people with
    anger. <p52-tlahe:lli-itta>.
  tlaillaza , mo-.  they shed filth. <p54-tlahe:lli-tla:za>.
  tlailli.  bloody flux; filth; flux; excrement. <tlahe:lli>.
  tlailmayahui , mo-.  they scatter filth. <p54-tlahe:lli-ma:yahui>.
  tlailtetl.  common stone. <tlahe:lli-tetl1>.
  tlayelli.  flux. <tlahe:lli>.
  tlayeltetl.  ; common stone; . <tlahe:lli-tetl1>.

More information about the Nahuat-l mailing list