Nahuatl Question

Frances Karttunen karttu at
Thu May 31 19:45:16 UTC 2001

>I thought the "e" of
> elli would drop combined with the generic object prefix tla-.  After
> consulting Simeon's dictionary at home, I learned I was mistaken.

The reason the "e" doesn't drop after the prefix tla- is that it is a long
vowel.  The verb e:le:huia: is composed of e:l-li and e:huia: < e:hua.
E:le:huia: means to desire something or someone and really does have to do
with the liver, which was considered the seat of emotions.  (The heart being
the seat of volition.)

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

The reason these two look alike in Simeon's and Molina's dictionaries is
because neither indicates vowel length or the presence or absence of
"saltillo" (glottal stop) that I have written here with an "h."

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