nahuatl.info for nahuatl info?
r. joe campbell
campbel at indiana.edu
Mon Jan 6 20:54:47 UTC 2003
(read all this with the introductory phrase: "I may be wrong about this
(particularly not knowing the dialect in question), but...")
[Further, these comments are offered in the spirit of constructive
When we learn modern Nahuatl, since it has split into many varieties
(some people would say that every town has its own dialect), it is a good
idea to be explicit about what area your material comes from.
I noticed in the vocabulary list at Nahuatl Tlahtokalli that the
dialect used seemed to preserve syllable-final 'h' (tahtli, nehnemi), but
there were many words where it was lacking (e.g., mitotiani, zitli).
Another problem with 'h': 'yakatzotzomaktli' for 'yakatzotzomahtli'
'kuezpallin' is not a likely form. Double-l ('ll') is (almost) always
*formed* in Nahuatl (by l+tl or l+y) and the absolutive noun suffix here
is '-in'. Also, the 'z' is in doubt -- although 'tz' becomes 'z' in
syllable-final position in many dialects, the vocabulary on the website
contains words with syllable-final 'tz', indicating that this dialect
doesn't do that.
'Mopampa' and 'ipampa' are given with the meanings 'for you' and 'for
him, her, it', respectively. Since '-pampa' means 'because', this looks
like a translation of 'por ti' -- 'because of you' (not something intended
'Kalakia' is given with the meaning 'put', giving the reader the
impression that he could 'kalakia' something *on* the ground, but
'kalakia' means to 'put *in*, insert'; just putting is expressed with
I really doubt that 'go out' and 'throw' are 'kitza' and 'tlatza',
respectively. They are more likely to be 'kiza' and 'tlaza' (as they are
in all dialects I know). This would eliminate the need for a statement of
irregularity in the grammar that says that 'tz' becomes 'z' at the end of
a word in the past tense.
kiza he goes out
okiz he went out
kitlaza she throws it
okitlaz she threw it
Further, 'tz' doesn't become 'z' at the end of a word anyway:
kipitza he blows it
okipitz he blew it
It is dangerous to add the non-specific object
'tla-'to verb stems or to sub from nouns derived from verbs. In the
It is dangerous to either add or subtract the non-specific object
'tla-' from verb stems or from nouns derived from verbs. In the glossary,
'tlalnamiki' is given as 'think, imagine, reflect', hiding an 'i' from the
learner -- possibly tempting him into thinking that the following is
niktlalnamiki* I think it
But the stem is '-ilnamiki', the correct form being:
The opposite occurs in:
kualchichiua to cook
(the 'tla-' of tlakualli is not removable)
[from 'tlakualli' (food) + 'chichiua' (prepare)]
('tlakoualiztli' can't lose its 'tla-')
There seems to be a serious problem in the spelling of words with 'tz'
and 'z' (in addition to 'kiza' and 'tlaza' mentioned above).
There are probably more of these and attention to the issue would clean up
a lot of words in one swell foop.
In the opposite direction:
(from tla-il-pitza-liz-tli 'act of blowing something')
A simple misprint: lnaitl for maitl (arm).
In focusing on the problem of people possibly pronouncing 'll' as a [y]
as in Spanish, an erroneous piece of advice is given to the effect that
'll' is pronounced as one 'l'. In fact, in most dialects, 'll' is
pronounced *longer* than single 'l'. There is contrast in length between:
tlalli earth, ground
kitlalia he places it
Rather than wear you out with more examples (as if I hadn't already),
I will cease and desist at this point.
p.s. #1: What dialect do the lessons come from?
p.s. #2: Am I mixed up or should 'Tlahtocalli' be 'Tlahtolcalli'?
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