Michael Mccafferty mmccaffe at INDIANA.EDU
Mon Jul 19 16:26:44 UTC 2004


I don't have a *schematic* outline of how the members of the following
sets of postpositions are different from each other or how they are
similar, but I can toss out some idea and then see if others have ideas to

On Tue, 6 Jul 2004, Susana Moraleda-Dragotto wrote:

>   In analyzing postpositions, and after having consulted various sources, I
> find myself confused (again!), about the difference between the following:
>     1.. PA and HUIC (towards)

-pa seems to be very powerful and widespread, attaching itself not only
nouns but to adverbs and particles:

o:mpa, to there, from there, or just plain there.
huehcapa from a distance
panipa  "surface" or even inside
ca:mpa to where? from where? where?
tla:lchipa |tla:l-chi-pa| 'earth-towards-towards'

note that -pa can be ***"from"*** as well as "to". In that way it does
differ from -hui:c which only means 'towards a certain direction':

nohui:c 'in my direction
te:hui:c 'in somebody's direction'

(*tlahui:c in the sense of "in something's direction' isn't used)

I don't remember every noticing *nopa or *amopa. Sounds funny to mean.
But you do see nohui:cpa, amohui:cpa, where -hui:c and -pa double up.

You also see -pa in other doublings of postpositions:

motlocpa 'from your direction', 'towards you'
totechpa 'on our part'
tla:lihticpa  'towards the inside of the earth' 'from the inside of the

>     2.. ICAMPA and TEPOTZCO (behind)


Well, there is teicampa, micampa, tlaicampa, etc...

Behind the mountain is tepetl iicampa

But you also see tlatepotzco, notepotzco, tepetepotzco, nocaltepotzco

(I'm going to get lazy about marking long vowels.)

I think these two postpositions are pretty synonymous.

>     3.. ICPAC and PAN (on)

te:pan, mopan, you get those, meaning 'on someone, on you,' etc...

-icpac can mean that but it also means "over" and "above" not just on. I
believe the Spanish term is "en cima de" or something like that.

tepeticpac 'above the mountain(s)'
cuauhticpac 'above the tree(s)'

but it can mean just "on," as in tlalticpac 'upon the earth'.

>     4.. IXPAN and IXCO (in front of  [in the face of])

ixpan is essentially "presence"; ixco is essentially "face/surface

but then ni:xco is translated "in my presence, before me". Hmmm...

But -i:xco does have the sense of "in/on one's face," in quixcomictic

'he/she hit him/her in the face". As far as 'surface' is concerned, you

things like tlai:xco 'on the surface of something' but that can also m ean
'in front of something'.

"In front of" and "in the presence of" can also be expressed by -ixtlan:

tixtlan 'in our presence'; teixtlan 'in somebody's presence', 'in front of

-ixco can combine readily with the personal pronoun prefixes:

nixco, mixco, iixco, tixco, amixco, etc.

>     5.. NAHUAC, TITLAN, HUAC and TECH (near)

I'm not sure what you mean by "HUAC"

-nahuac means 'within hearing distance'

-tlan has several functions or meanings:

iitlan calaqui 'he/she enters it'

atlan ticalaqui 'you are entering the water'

ximoteca noxcitlan 'Lie down at my feet"

-tech has the essential idea of "in contact with" but it can have abstract
meanings, too:

netech 'among one another'
itech 'concerning it, about it' (this is used a lot when describing the
contents of a document)
itech ocualan 'he/she got angry with him/her/it'
notoca McCafferty itech quiza in cahuayo "my name comes from 'horse'"

-tech also has an honorific form: tetzinco

>     6.. NEPANTLA and TZALAN (between)

-nepantlah basically means 'place of abundant sharing', i.e., "the
middle," where things are in common (ne:-pan-tlah):

innepantlah  'it is their middle ground'

cuauhnepantlah 'in the middle of the forest'
yohualnepantlah 'in the middle of the night'

tza:lan refers to the area between things, the midst of things

totza:lan 'among us'
i:ntza:lan 'among them'
amotza:lan 'among you all'

cuauhtzalan 'among the trees'

>   And, further, what happens when you add a possessive prefix ending in "O"
> (or "I") to a postposition starting with "I"? MOICAMPA, TOIXPAN, NOIXCO....
> and IICPAC...
>   This looks a bit odd to me.
I think Fran mentioned the rule a couple three weeks ago. The short
initial i- of many words is considered a "supportive vowel" and will
disappear when prefixed. Long initial i- (i:-) does not constitute a
supportive vowel, so it will not disappear. Also, the short initial i- of
some terms is not a supportive vowel.

In the case of -i:xco, the long initial i:- will not drop:

nixco, mixco, ixco (iixco), tixco, amixco, imixco, teixco, tlaixco

In the case of -ihtic, the initial short i does not drop:

nihtic, mihtic, iihtic, tihtic, amihtic, imihtic, teihtic, tlaihtic

But in the case of -(i)cpac, the short initial i drops:

nocpac, mocpac, tocpac, amocpac

You just have to learn which terms behave in which way.

I realize that what I've offered is organized very efficiently. I hope you
can still derive some benefit from it.


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