ineixcahuil question

Michael McCafferty mmccaffe at
Mon Dec 8 23:58:46 UTC 2008

Quoting Molly Bassett <mbassett at>:

Dear Molly,

> Hi, all.
> I'm working through several passages in SahagĂșn's General History
> that  contain the word ineixcahuil.  Dibble & Anderson translate the
> term  "his personal privilege," "characteristics" or "his special
> attribute" (2:52, 10:118a and 11:228), but I'm not sure how they
> determined these translations.

This is a good point. In working through Dibble and Anderson with Joe 
Campbell and Pablo Garcia a couple years ago, we came across the 
occasional D & S translation that was truly mystifying. I believe Joe 
has made a collection of these.

In the term you have here, however, the boys are pretty much on the 
mark. Yours is a noun, neixcahuilli, which, when possessed by the third 
singular marker i-, drops the absolutive suffix -li. So, what you have 
on your hands is a possessed noun.

There is a reflexive verb moixcahuia that means 'to work in private, to 
mind your own business, or even 'to do one thing and not anything else'.

As you know, the reflexive nature of the verb requires the ne- prefix 
when a noun is derived from it.

I believe you're right that ix- is 'face' or perhaps 'eye(s)' in this 
case, and cahu- might come form 'cahua', but I don't know for sure 
about that. Somebody will likely pipe in and clear that up, I imagine.

Hope this helps some.

Michael McCafferty

  In particular, I'm stuck on the final
> - l.  Is it a patientive noun ending (Lockhart 28)?  If so, does the
> word mean something like "his abandoned/relinquished face/ surface?"
> [Molina has "neixcahuillalacolli. culpa especial y propriad  e
> alguno" (66r).]
> ineixcahuil
> i-  > -ne- > -ix(tli)- > -ca(hua)- > -hui- > -l >
> Thanks for any thoughts you may have.
> Molly Bassett
> ______________
> Molly Bassett
> Ph.D. Candidate, Religious Studies
> University of California, Santa Barbara

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