Starting to learn Nahuatl

Campbell, R Joe campbel at
Sat Aug 25 18:26:45 UTC 2007


   ...just my 2 cents worth off the top of my head -- in spite of the 
fact that I consult the Andrews Grammar many times every day, I can't 
imagine using it for entry into Nahuatl, particularly without a 
teacher.  Thelma Sullivan's grammar, particularly together with 
Carochi, seems to me to be an easy way to accumulate enough familiarity 
with the language so that one can read Andrews with more profit.
   Andrews' presentation of the language aims at a much deeper 
theoretical view of the language, in a model of grammar that is simply 
*his*.  His presentation is not like the presentation of grammatical 
reasoning among linguists trained in the second half of the last 
century -- namely, pulling the reader along with
*reasons* for believing the forms that he posits as basic and *reasons* 
for believing his lines of derivation.  The reader is expected to 
believe all the details because they are *declared*.  I have found (in 
both the first edition and the revised one) that in cases where I might 
not go along with his explanation on first, second, and third reading, 
I later found support for his point of view in some other part of the 
grammar.  This leads to some increase in faith in places where you are 
not initially convinced by his presentation.
   On the other hand, his "reach" for the depths of the grammar, a 
subtle picture of the soul of the language, sometimes stretches beyond 
what is supported by the observable facts.  This would lead some people 
to think of parts of the description to leave the arena of "science" 
and cross the border into "religion".

   To shorten a story that threatens to become too long, my personal 
leaning would be to start with Sullivan and Carochi.  ...and proceed 
with Andrews later.

I am sure that you will enjoy all of the time you dedicate to Nahuatl.


Quoting Owen Thomas <oenthomas at>:

> Listeros,
> I have been attempting to learn without a teacher and have accumulated
> several books, Andrews Grammar and workbook, Kartunen, Carocci and finally
> Thelma Sullivan. I can read Sullivan but find that it does not follow all
> Andrews NNC and VNC patterns.
> I am learning from Thelma Sullivan and would like some assurance that this
> will not set me on a path that leads to future failure by not following
> correct grammar.
> I would like to have some offers of help via the web; help anyone?
> --
> We are connected
> Owen

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