ineixcahuil question

Michael McCafferty mmccaffe at
Wed Dec 10 20:54:22 UTC 2008

Quoting Owen Thomas <oenthomas at>:

> Friends
> I have a developing friendship with speakers of Nahuatl from Guerrero.
> They do not discuss grammar nor have interest in specific meaning.
> Morphemes are not analyzed but they just try to convey meaning by body
> language and spanish words. They can communicate with people from
> Puebla and from the Huasteca even tho they use different words
> sometimes.


I'm relatively confident that this will not be the last and most 
erudite reply to your email.

But it's important to remember that *most* speakers of *every* language 
in the world are not interested in conceptualizing the grammar or their 
language. Language is for the most part an unconscious activity, and 
most speakers don't have the faintest notion of grammar...or morphology.

To say that the Nahuatl speakers around you have no "interest in 
specific meaning" simply shows that you have some things to learn about 
Nahuatl, Nahuatl speakers, and linguistics in general. That's all there 
is to that notion.

> The European fascination with grammar has not attracted them.

The fascination with grammar probably attracts fewer than one percent 
of the people on the planet. However, I do know of a Nahuatl speaker or 
two who are very interested in grammar, and quite good at it.

> Joe has an excellent library of 'words' that incorporate the morphemes
> and have accompanying spanish translations. His lists have often been
> of help in attempting to unerstand the 'approximate translation' of
> Nahuatl writings. Exact translation seens to be a hangup from European
> linguistic habits but does not concern my native speakers. They always
> try to help me undeerstand by Spanish approximate words.

Joe's "lists of words" will be, in truth, a cornerstone of the 
scholarship of the language for centuries to come, provided we don't 
blow ourselves up first. Their value is incalculable, and will become 
even more so with future Nahuatl language revitalization efforts in 

In passing, I can only assume that your "approximate translation" 
refers to something you are working on in modern Nahuatl. Note that 
Joe's opus involves three 16th-century dictionaries of the language. 
Perhaps some of the confusion comes from how the language has changed 
in the last 500 years.

> Conversation with them is much easier that attempting to read exact
> meaning from Nahuatl written stories or legends.

That may be true in your case. Each person is different. For example, I 
find my English-as-a-second-language Arabic speakers are fantastic when 
it comes to listening and speaking English, but are not good readers.

Michael McCafferty

> Owen Thomas
> On 12/9/08, Campbell,  R. Joe <campbel at> wrote:
>> Dear Molly,
>>    I wish I had Michael's memory, but it would be very unfair to him
>> for us to trade.  I'll just add a comment and some examples.
>>    In the examples below, one can see in the finite verb forms that
>> ...ixcahuia... involves being concerned with something, concentrating
>> on something, etc.
>>    ninixcahuia     entender solo en algun negocio
>>    I assume that -cahuia is the benefactive form (often referred to as
>> the applicative) of cahua.
>>    The nominalization of mo-ix-cahui-(a) is ne-ix-cahui-l-li and your
>> possessed form follows directly from that.  ... and the 'mo' is
>> replaced by the non-specific reflexive 'ne'.
>> I put the examples below.
>> Iztayohmeh,
>> Joe
>> Quoting Molly Bassett <mbassett at>:
>>> 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.  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-   possessive pronoun, 3rd person singular
>>> -ne-  nonspecific reflexive object prefix
>>> -ix(tli)-  "eye, face, surface"
>>> -ca(hua)-  "to leave, abandon, relinquish sby/stg"
>>> -hui-  singular possessive suffix
>>> -l  ??
>>> Thanks for any thoughts you may have.
>>> Molly Bassett
>>> ______________
>>> Molly Bassett
>>> Ph.D. Candidate, Religious Studies
>>> University of California, Santa Barbara
>> * i:xtli     ca:hua ***
>> ahtlaixcahua. she is careful.  [ah1-p51-i:xtli-ca:hua] FC.
>> ahtleh quixcahua. he is envious of everything, he covets everything.
>>     [ah1-tleh p33-i:xtli-ca:hua] FC.
>> aixcahualoni. one who is not to be neglected.  [ah1-i:xtli-ca:hua-lo:1-
>>     ni1] FC.
>> amechonmotlaixcahualtilia. he [H.] causes you [pl.] to lose.  [p42-o:n-
>>     p54-p51-i:xtli-ca:hua-caus01-ben H1] FC.
>> anconixcahuia. you [pl.] deal with it exclusively, you [pl.] tend to it
>>     alone.  [p22-p33-o:n-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] FC.
>> cemixcahuia niconiccemixcahui. estar ocupado y entender en sola vna
>>     cosa.  [p11-p33-cem-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] 71m2-3.
>> conixcahua. they take their eyes off him.  [p33-o:n-i:xtli-ca:hua] FC.
>> conm[o]ixcahualtia. he neglects it.  [p33-o:n-p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-caus01]
>>     FC.
>> connixcahuaya. they let him out of their sight.  [p33-o:n-i:xtli-ca:hua-
>>     ya3] FC.
>> ineixcahuil. his personal privilege.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1]
>>     FC.
>> ineixcahuil. his private thing.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1] FC.
>> ineixcahuil. its characeristic.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1] FC.
>> ineixcahuilaxcatzin. his [H.] exclusive property.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-
>>     ca:hua-ben-l1-a:xca:itl-tzin] FC.
>> ineixcahuiltoca. its name.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1-to:ca:itl] FC.
>> ineixcahuiltoca. its proper name.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1-
>>     to:ca:itl] FC.
>> ineixcahuiltzin. his possession.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1-tzin] FC.
>> inneixcahuil. .  [poss-p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1] FC.
>> inneixcahuil. their function.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1] FC.
>> inneixcahuil. their personal charge.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1] FC.
>> inneixcahuil. their privilege.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1] FC.
>> inneixcahuil. their sole property.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1]
>>     FC.
>> ixcahua ahtleh niquatleh oniquixcauh. ser apretado o escasso.  [ah1-
>>     tleh p11-p33-i:xtli-ca:hua] 71m2-2.
>> ixcahua ahtleh niqu. auaricia tener.  [ah1-tleh p11-p33-i:xtli-ca:hua]
>>     55m-1.
>> ixcahua ahtleh niqu. auaricia tener.  [ah1-tleh p11-p33-i:xtli-ca:hua]
>>     71m1-3.
>> ixcahua ahtleh niqu. escasso ser.  [ah1-tleh p11-p33-i:xtli-ca:hua
>>     +mis_analysis.1] 71m1-10.
>> ixcahua ahtleh niqu. mezquino ser.  [ah1-tleh p11-p33-i:xtli-ca:hua
>>     +mis_analysis.1] 71m1-15.
>> ixcahua ahtleh qu. cobdicioso de dinero.  [ah1-tleh p33-i:xtli-ca:hua]
>>     71m1-5.
>> ixcahua ahtleh qu. codicioso o escasso.  [ah1-tleh p33-i:xtli-ca:hua]
>>     71m2-2.
>> ixcahua ahtleh qu. escasso.  [ah1-tleh p33-i:xtli-ca:hua] 71m1-10.
>> ixcahua ahtleh qu. guardador escasso.  [ah1-tleh p33-i:xtli-ca:hua]
>>     71m1-12.
>> ixcahua ahtleh qu. mezquino.  [ah1-tleh p33-i:xtli-ca:hua] 71m1-15.
>> ixcahua ahtleh qu. miserable escasso.  [ah1-tleh p33-i:xtli-ca:hua]
>>     71m1-15.
>> ixcahua nitlaoniquixcauh. dexar de hazer algo por descuydo y
>>     negligencia.  [p11-p51-i:xtli-ca:hua] 71m2-8.
>> ixcahua nitla. dexar de hazer algo por descuydo.  [p11-p51-i:xtli-
>>     ca:hua] 55m-6.
>> ixcahua nitla. dexar de hazer algo por descuido.  [p11-p51-i:xtli-
>>     ca:hua] 71m1-8.
>> ixcahua ahtleh niquahtleh oniquixcauh. ser codicioso de quanto ay.
>>     [p11-p33-i:xtli-ca:hua ah1-tleh] 71m2-8.
>> ixcahualiztli ahtleh qu. auaricia.  [ah1-tleh p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-liz]
>>     55m-1.
>> ixcahualiztli ahtleh qu. auaricia, o escaseza.  [ah1-tleh p33-i:xtli-
>>     ca:hua-liz] 71m1-3.
>> ixcahualtia nicnonicnixcahualti. perder algo por su culpa y
>>     negligencia.  [p11-p33-p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-caus01] 71m2-8.
>> ixcahualtia nicn. priuarme yo mismo de alguna cosa o perder y quedar
>>     defraudado  de algo por mi culpa y negligencia.  [p11-p33-p54-i:xtli-
>>     ca:hua-caus01] 71m1-17.
>> ixcahualtia ninotlaoninotlaixcahualti. perder alguna cosa porsu
>>     descuido y negligencia.  [p11-p54-p51-i:xtli-ca:hua-caus01
>>     +mis_analysis.] 71m2-21.
>> ixcahualtia ninotla. desmerecer.  [p11-p54-p51-i:xtli-ca:hua-caus01
>>     +mis_analysis.4] 55m-5.
>> ixcahualtia ninotla. desmerecer.  [p11-p54-p51-i:xtli-ca:hua-caus01]
>>     71m1-7.
>> ixcahualtia nitetlaonitetlaixcahualti. impedir algun bien o prouecho
>>     de alguno.  [p11-p52-p51-i:xtli-ca:hua-caus01] 71m2-8.
>> ixcahualtiliztli netla. desmerecimiento.  [p53-p51-i:xtli-ca:hua-
>>     caus01-liz] 55m-5.
>> ixcahualtiliztli netla. culpa de negligencia y omission.  [p53-p51-
>>     i:xtli-ca:hua-caus01-liz] 71m2-12.
>> ixcahualtiliztli netla. desmerecimiento assi.  [p53-p51-i:xtli-ca:hua-
>>     caus01-liz] 71m1-7.
>> ixcahuani ahtleh qu. auariento.  [ah1-tleh p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-ni1] 55m-1.
>> ixcahuani ahtleh qu. auariento.  [ah1-tleh p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-ni1] 71m1-3.
>> ixcahuia mo. cosa sola, o el que asus solas haze alguna cosa.  [p54-
>>     i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] 71m2-10.
>> ixcahuia mo. sola cosa.  [p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] 71m1-19.
>> ixcahuia nicnonicnixcahui. comermelo yo todo o aprovecharse el solo
>>     de alguna cosa, sin partirla con otros.  [p11-p33-p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-
>>     ben] 71m2-8.
>> ixcahuia nicn. entender solo en algun negocio.  [p11-p33-p54-i:xtli-
>>     ca:hua-ben] 55m-8.
>> ixcahuia nicn. entender solo en algun negocio.  [p11-p33-p54-i:xtli-
>>     ca:hua-ben] 71m1-10.
>> ixcahuia ninoninixcahui. hazer algo asolas, o entender solamente enlo
>>     que me toca.  [p11-p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] 71m2-8.
>> ixcahuia nin. entender en solo lo que le toca.  [p11-p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-
>>     ben] 55m-8.
>> ixcahuia nin. entender en solo lo que le toca.  [p11-p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-
>>     ben +mis_analysis.2] 71m1-10.
>> ixcahuia nin. hazer algo a solas.  [p11-p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] 71m1-
>>     12.
>> ixcahuia nin. hazer algo por si solo aparte.  [p11-p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-
>>     ben] 71m1-13.
>> ixcahuia niquoniquixcahui. no tener mas de vna cosa.  [i:xtli-ca:hua-
>>     ben] 71m2-8.
>> ixcahuia nitlaonitlaixcahui. entender en sola vna sola cosa.  [p11-
>>     p51-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] 71m2-8.
>> ixcahuia nitla. embeuecerse.  [p11-p51-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] 55m-7.
>> ixcahuia nitla. embeuecerse en algo.  [p11-p51-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] 71m1-9.
>> ixcahuia nitla. entender en sola vna cosa.  [p11-p51-i:xtli-ca:hua-
>>     ben] 55m-8.
>> ixcahuia nitla. entender en sola vna cosa.  [p11-p51-i:xtli-ca:hua-
>>     ben] 71m1-10.
>> ixcahuia in inacayo qu. carnal hombre vicioso.  [p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben
>>     in poss-nacatl-yo:tl1] 55m-3.
>> ixcahuia in inacayo qu. carnal y vicioso.  [p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben in
>>     poss-nacatl-yo:tl1] 71m1-4.
>> ixcahuia inacayo qu. persona viciosa y carnal.  [p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben
>>     poss-nacatl-yo:tl1] 71m2-15.
>> ixcahuiani mo. hazedor assi.  [p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-ni1] 71m1-12.
>> ixcahuihqui tla. atento o suspenso en algun negocio, estando todo
>>     absorto enel.  [p51-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-prt1-c2] 71m2-21.
>> ixcahuihqui tla. embeuecido.  [p51-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-prt1-c2] 55m-7.
>> ixcahuil none. cosa que compete, o pertenece ami solo, y no a otro
>>     alguno.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1] 71m2-12.
>> ixcahuil none. oficio proprio ser de alguno solo.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-
>>     ca:hua-ben-l1] 71m1-16.
>> ixcahuil none. oficio propio ser de alguno solo.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-
>>     ca:hua-ben-l1] 55m-14.
>> ixcahuil in totecuiyo ine. es proprio y pertenece a solo dios.  [poss-
>>     p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1 in poss-te:uctli-yo:tl1] 71m2-7.
>> ixcahuilchicahualiz none. esfuerzo, ovirtud de mi propria y sola
>>     persona.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1-chica:hua-liz] 71m2-12.
>> ixcahuilchicahualiz tone. nuestro proprio esfuerzo o virtud.  [poss-
>>     p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1-chica:hua-liz] 71m2-25.
>> ixcahuillahtlacolli ne. culpa especial y propria de alguno.  [p53-
>>     i:xtli-ca:hua-l1-p51-ihtlacahui-l1 +ltl>ll] 71m2-11.
>> ixcahuilo. people are concerned, there is attention to.  [i:xtli-ca:hua-
>>     ben-lo:2] FC.
>> ixcauhticatca. .  [i:xtli-ca:hua-prt1-ti1-ca:1a-ca10] FC.
>> ixcuamacahua nitla. dar con la carga en tierra, por se auer soltado
>>     el mecapalli.  [p11-p51-i:xtli-cua:itl-ma:itl-ca:hua] 71m2-8.
>> ixmacahua niteoniteixmacauh. dexar caer al que lleua acuestas.  [p11-
>>     p52-i:xtli-ma:itl-ca:hua] 71m2-8.
>> ixmacahua nitlaonitlaixmacauh. soltarsele el mecapal dela frente al
>>     tameme.  [p11-p51-i:xtli-ma:itl-ca:hua] 71m2-8.
>> m[o]ixcahuia. they are concerned, they are involved, it is their doing.
>>     [p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] FC.
>> m[o]ixcahuia. they are concerned, they are involved, they pay heed.
>>     [p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] FC.
>> m[o]ixcahuia. they are involved, they are concerned.  [p54-i:xtli-
>>     ca:hua-ben] FC.
>> m[o]ixcahuia. they are involved.  [p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] FC.
>> m[o]ixcahuiaya. they concerned themselves solely.  [p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-
>>     ben-ya3] FC.
>> m[o]ixcahuiaya. they were solely concerned, they were solely involved.
>>     [p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-ya3] FC.
>> m[o]ixcahuicoh. they came concerning themselves (with this).  [p54-
>>     i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-dir1b] FC.
>> m[o]ixcahuitica. .  [p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-prt1-ti1-ca:1a aux11a] FC.
>> m[o]ixcahuitica. he is dedicated to it.  [p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-prt1-
>>     ti1-ca:1a aux11a] FC.
>> m[o]ixcahuitoqueh. .  [p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-prt1-ti1-o-plur01] FC.
>> m[o]ixcahuiz. .  [p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-z] FC.
>> m[o]ixcahuiz. it will be used alone.  [p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-z] FC.
>> moneixcahuiltzin. your own affair.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1-
>>     tzin] FC.
>> moteixcahuiani. .  [p54-p52-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-ni1] FC.
>> neixcahuilo. there is doing of only one thing.  [p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-
>>     lo:2] FC.
>> nicn[o]ixcahui. .  [p11-p33-p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-opt] FC.
>> onixcahualo. there is carelessness.  [o:n-i:xtli-ca:hua-lo:2] FC.
>> oquixcauhqueh. they forgot him.  [o:-p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-prt1-plur01]
>>     FC.
>> quim[o]ixcahualtia. .  [p33-o:n-p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-caus01] FC.
>> quim[o]ixcahuiaya. .  [p33-p54-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-ya3] FC.
>> quixcahua. .  [p33-i:xtli-ca:hua] FC.
>> quixcahua. he neglects him.  [p33-i:xtli-ca:hua] FC.
>> quixcahuia. .  [p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] FC.
>> quixcahuia. he is given to it.  [p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] FC.
>> quixcahuia. he shows preference for it, he tends to it alone.  [p33-
>>     i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] FC.
>> quixcahuia. she devotes herself to it; she tends to it alone.  [p33-
>>     i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] FC.
>> quixcahuia. they are involved with it only; they tend to it alone.
>>     [p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] FC.
>> quixcahuia. they devote themselves to it; they tend to it alone.  [p33-
>>     i:xtli-ca:hua-ben] FC.
>> quixcahuiaya. .  [p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-ya3] FC.
>> quixcahuiaya. he attended to just one thing.  [p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-
>>     ya3] FC.
>> quixcahuiaya. he concerned himself exclusively with it.  [p33-i:xtli-
>>     ca:hua-ben-ya3] FC.
>> quixcahuiaya. they did one thing.  [p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-ya3] FC.
>> quixcahuiaya. they specialized in it.  [p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-ya3] FC.
>> quixcahuihtica. .  [p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-prt1-ti1-ca:1a aux11a] FC.
>> tiquixcahuicoh. we came to greet only him.  [p21-p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-
>>     dir1b] FC.
>> tiquixcahuiz. you think only of it.  [p12-p33-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-z] FC.
>> toneixcahuil. their privilege.  [poss-p53-i:xtli-ca:hua-ben-l1] FC.
>> _______________________________________________
>> Nahuatl mailing list
>> Nahuatl at
> --
> We are connected Look at this,
> Owen
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