Nahuatl Word of Interest
karttu at NANTUCKET.NET
Wed Jan 28 03:26:19 UTC 2004
on 1/27/04 11:41 AM, a.appleyard at BTINTERNET.COM at
a.appleyard at BTINTERNET.COM wrote:
> Frances Karttunen <karttu at NANTUCKET.NET> wrote:-
>> ... Oquichmicqui doesn't mean a dead husband. It means a widow,
>> that is a woman who is husband-wise dead.
>> Likewise, ci:huamicqui refers to a man who has lost his wife to
> Some people would call that sort of compound a bahuvrihi: "she whose corpse is
> a husband", "he whose corpse is a wife". Compare English "yellowlegs" (a sort
> of American bird) = "it whose legs are yellow".
In Nahuatl the sort of construction I think you describe is quite common and
always carries a possessive prefix. For instance, "Mother of God" is teo:tl
i-na:n, literally 'God his-mother.' What strikes me as remarkable about
oquichmicqui and cihua:micqui is that they are distinct from micqui
i:-oquich 'a corpse is her husband' and micqui i:-chihua 'a corpse is his
wife.' The focus isn't on a specific person who is dead but on the
condition of the survivor.
Whereas with nonhumans, the relationship is different: burrohmicqui means 'a
burro-type of dead thing.'
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