A Stinking Nahuatl Question

r. joe campbell campbel at indiana.edu
Sun Jun 3 05:34:13 UTC 2001

   Don't blame me >8-)  for bringing "stink" to the list -- I'm glad Fran
brought it up.  It's a morpheme whose occurrence in words in naturally
spelled text causes problems in recognition.  'ihya:ya' frequently is
written without the glottal stop, but 'iyaya' is still easy enough to
recognize.  Then the tendency to drop 'y' after 'i' in the spelling gives
us 'iaya' and the difficulty increases.  But the opacity *really* grows
when the morphological process of deleting '-ya' on verb stems in certain
derivations can actually leave only the string 'ia' intact.

   Below are some collected examples.  Although it might go without
saying, I would always appreciate comments that would lead to more

   Just in case someone might read over "fishseller" without a chuckle,
note that it means "one who sells something stinking".

Best regards,


On Fri, 1 Jun 2001, Frances Karttunen wrote:

> On the other hand, I am pretty sure that tlahyelli is derived from the verb
> ihya:ya 'to stink' which has a long vowel (albeit a different vowel) in that
> syllable.  An attestation from Zacapoaxtla actually has a: rather than e in
> the derived noun.

  [i]xcaliyac , tla-.  stinking tortilla.
  aiyac.  odorless. <ah1-ihya:ya-delya-c1>.
  camaxoquiaca , in-.  the bad odor of their mouths.
  cuitlahyac.  stinking like excrement. <cuitlatl-ihya:ya-delya-c1>.
  cuitlayac.  ; smelling of excrement. <cuitlatl-ihya:ya-delya-c1>.
  hiyac.  stinking. <ihya:ya-delya-c1>.
  ihyac.  ; aromatic; evil-smelling; having a foul odor; scented;
    stinking; foul smelling; having a bad smell. <ihya:ya-delya-c1>.
  ihyaca.  its scent; its smell. <poss-ihya:ya-delya-ca:5>.
  ihyalpatic.  extremely foul smelling. <ihya:ya-delya-l1-pah4-tic>.
  ihyatatl.  evil-smelling thing. <ihya:ya-->.
  ihyaxtihui.  they go stinking. <ihya:ya-prt1-->.
  ihyaya.  it has an aroma; it produces an aroma; it produces a
    pleasing aroma; it spreads an aroma; it stinks; they stink.
  iiaxtimani , tla-.  it keeps stinking. <p51-ihya:ya-prt1-ti1-mani
  iyac.  ; stinking. <ihya:ya-delya-c1>.
  iyaca.  . <poss-ihya:ya-delya-ca:5>.
  iyaca , m[o]-.  your stench, your evil odor; your evil atmosphere.
  iyaca , t[o]-.  our stench. <poss-ihya:ya-delya-ca:5>.
  iyaca.  his stench; its aroma; its odor; its scent; stench; bad
    smell. <poss-ihya:ya-delya-ca:5>.
  iyax.  it stank. <ihya:ya-prt1>.
  iyaya , on-.  it spreads its fragrance. <o:n-ihya:ya>.
  iyaya.  it has an aroma, it smells; it stinks. <ihya:ya>.
  iyayaliz.  its odor; its stench. <poss-ihya:ya-liz>.
  miquiciyac.  smelling of death. <miqui-liz-ihya:ya-delya-c1>.
  miquiciyaltic.  smelling much of death.
  miquizhiyaltic.  deathly stench. <miqui-liz-ihya:ya-delya-l1-tic>.
  miquizihyaya.  it stinks of death. <miqui-liz-ihya:ya>.
  tamaliyac.  stinking tamale. <tamalli-ihya:ya-delya-c1>.
  tamaliyacatzintli.  stinking tamale.
  tlaliyac.  ; copperas; evil-smelling; stinking; fetid; sulphate of
    copper. <tla:lli-ihya:ya-delya-c1>.
  tzopelicaiyaya.  it is stinking sweet. <tzope:liya-ca:6-ihya:ya>.
  tzoyac.  it is fetid. <tzotl-ihya:ya-delya-c1>.
  tzoyaya.  it emits a fetid odor; it smells foul; it stinks.
  xoquiac.  fetid, stinking; foul-smelling; of fetid smell; smelly;
    spoiled. <xoctli-ihya:ya-delya-c1>.
  xoquialtic.  . <xoctli-ihya:ya-delya-l1-tic>.
  xoquiaya.  . <xoctli-ihya:ya->.
  xoquiyac.  stinking, foul odor; spoiled. <xoctli-ihya:ya-delya-c1>.
  xoquiyacacohuia , mo-.  they buy stinking things.
  xoquiyacanamacac.  fish seller.
  xoquiyaltic.  stinking, smelly. <xoctli-ihya:ya--tic>.

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