Nahuatl Word 2

Galen Brokaw brokaw at BUFFALO.EDU
Wed Jan 28 20:52:02 UTC 2004

I'm stuck at home snowed in and most of my books and files are in my
office at school, so I can't try and back this up with any textual
evidence or analogous vocabulary constructions. But since I don't have
any other excuse not to shovel the driveway, I'll throw something out.

First, Richley, I looked at your words, but I have no idea. It almost
seems like there is something missing from the middle of the first word
and perhaps the second one too. But I couldn't figure it out.

With Joe's word, having the definition kind of helps point you in a
With regard to "tlazolololoni", I think the verb is "ololoa" meaning
literally to make s.t. round but also I think it can mean to make into a
circle-like shape, or put stuff into a pile. Then, there is the
nonactive ending "-lo" plus "-ni" which can mean "one who" or in this
case "that which." I can't give any specific examples off the top of my
head, but I seem to remember encountering this ending "-loni" (nonactive
ending + "ni") (probably on one of your printouts, Joe) often to
indicate, a type of tool or the idea "that with which verbing is done"
with "verbing" being whatever action is referred to by the verb to which
this ending is attached. This is consistent with the definition "rastro
para rastrear", which I am assuming refers to some kind of rake. So,
this is something that balls up or piles up (i.e., rakes up) paja. If
this is correct so far, then that only leaves "tlaz" to account for.
Given the definition of the word, I would have expected this initial
noun stem to be something indicating "paja", zacatl perhaps. But I don't
see how we could get zacatl out of "tlaz", and that would be a pretty
serious spelling mistake. Assuming that this is where Molina made the
spelling mistake, the only other word that comes to my mind is
"tlacotl", which would seem to be consistent with the idea of a rake as
a kind of stick, but I wouldn't expect this noun to appear in this word.
The noun at the beginning of such a word should coincide with either the
object of the verb (in this case one would expect zacatl, for example),
or it should function as a kind of adverb, right? So, it doesn't make
sense to me that the initial noun in this word would be tlacotl unless
the semantic field of tlacotl included "paja". Or, if the kind of raking
of paja is thought of in terms of piling something up in a stick-like
way, then that would work too. So, if this is correct the word would
break down as: tlac[otl] + ololo[a] + lo + ni.
If the spelling error has nothing to do with "tlaz", then the only other
thing that I can think of (but perhaps this is too much of a stretch) is
that the initial noun is tlazolli and the mistake is an omission of one
syllable "ol" (or "lo" depending on how you looked at it). Such a
mistake would certainly make sense. The word technically would be
"tlazololololoni" with one more "ol" or "lo" than appears in Molina's
entry. It would be easy to loose track of all those "ol"s or "lo"s and
omit one. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if this kind of reduction
occurred in a generalized way in such environments. Of course, this
interpretation would also raise the question about whether or not the
semantic field of "paja" can include the notion of tlazolli (filth). If
this is correct, the word would break down as: tlazol + o[lo]lo[a] + lo
+ ni.

Am I close?


r. joe campbell wrote:
>  A word from Molina:
>   tlazolololoni (rastro para rastrar paja)
>   1555      f208r
>   1571 S/N  f101v2
> The game here is to identify the Molina's spelling error (outside of
> glottal stops and vowel length)
> ... and, of course, in passing, comment on the stems and derivative stuff
> you find (what some people call morphology).
> Joe

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