FW: nahuatl.info for nahuatl info?

scott tekpatl at comcast.net
Sat Jan 11 21:09:19 UTC 2003

Professor Salvador,

I am a student in the beginning stages of learning the Nahuatl
language on www.nahuatl.info.  I have also assisted Ms. Xochime
in the production of some of the media used on her site and
course materials; notably, for the purpose of this conversation, the
mp3 sound samples she has begun to provide with each lesson.

I have read your lengthy posting to Ms. Xochime about her efforts
on nahuatl.info, and I'd like to make two comments, and then a
general observation.

First, regarding your criticism of the pronunciation on the sound
samples.  It is true that Ms. Xochime is new to the language, as
are many of us.  However, there are cases where any effort to
assist in the learning of a new subject is better than no effort at all.
I have scoured the web myself to find actual spoken Nahuatl
samples and have found very, very little - and what I have found
was so badly recorded as to be totally useless to a beginning
speaker.  Now, you claim that offering up poor pronunciation will
somehow tarnish or handicap the beginner in the learning of
language.  I wholeheartedly disagree with this.  As a speaker of
several languages myself, I can tell you that in the course of
learning two of them (Gaelic and Navajo [Diné]) my original
teachers had such "poor pronunciation", but helped me enough to
allow me to pursue these languages further until I found native
speakers who then tightened up my skills.  Nahuatl is simply not
as easy to learn online as Spanish or French, where a plethora of
mutlimedia sites already exist to that end.  Ms. Xochime, out of the
love she has for her heritage and the zeal she has for the tongue,
has put forth considerable efforts to at least start us out.  Many of
us probably won't take it to the end of fluency, but some of us
might, thanks in large part to the work of Citlalin Xochime.

You state, and Citlalin Xochime cites, that the sound sample she
edited (The Day Count) was yours posted some time ago.  You
need to understand why she even added her voice at all.  I am a
professional multimedia artist, and can tell you without hesitation
that Ms. Xochime did not add her voice because she felt she was
any kind of expert, but simply because the quality of your original
recording sample is extraordinarily awfull.  It was one of the worst
attempts of recording a human voice I've ever heard.  I must say
that, after hearing the paragraphs of criticism you have heaped on
for offering sound samples that may "mislead" the beginner, YOU
Sir should have taken much greater care in offering such samples
to begin with.  They were almost unintelligible, and only with the
help of Senor Ramos' lessons and the Analytical dictionary did we
attempt to clarify what apparently you had no interest in crafting
yourself.  Watch throwing those stones in glass houses....you
know what happens.

Secondly, a thought or two about your charge that Ms. Xochime is
"mythologizing" history.  You treat history as if it's a chemical chain
reaction, easily observable in laboratory conditions to establish a
scientific truth.  Well, it's not.  History is not a science - it is an art.
To be honest, history is "mythologized" ten minutes after its
creation in most cases.  Regardless of how many resources you
have to back up your opinions on historical matters, you do not
have the empirical truth of what exactly occured for any historical
event.  In short, you are just another person with an opinion.
Educated, yes - but opinion nonetheless.

Now, an observation.  Over all, your voluminous attempted
browbeating of Ms. Xochime's work sounded scholarly, but
smacked of polite condescension powered by a person with an
ego issue themselves.  I am all too familiar with those who have
feathered their nests warmly in the comfortable recesses of
academia.  Often, they sit like vultures on the sidelines, springing
to attack, criticize and dissemble the work of anyone who dares
stick their neck out and actually do something to try and better their
world.  A sad thing, that.  It is eerily reminiscent behavior of the
limousine liberal, who feels that any identity movement
automatically fosters supremacy and racism; and that any effort or
opinion not supported by those in the ivory towers is wrong or
misled, by that dubious virtue.


Scott Jorgensen

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