Fwd: Re: Chicago's Field Museum

Jerry Offner ixtlil at earthlink.net
Wed Dec 31 17:06:44 UTC 2008

If we brush aside, for the moment, the legions of linguistic angels by now
arrayed and thoroughly crowded on the head of a pin, and the more
interesting lingustic questions of museology and making non-Western 
languages somewhat accessible and hopefully even interesting and engaging
to museum visitors, what is the substance of the exhibit like?  

Some images can be seen at:


but are there new or very rarely seen objects?  Is any of the commentary
the least bit inaccurate or otherwise controversial?  How is it on the
Apocalypto scale--responsible and broad spectrum or sensationalist and
leering?  Certainly, the website's tone is promising.  Have they eschewed
the seemingly inevitable atmospheric flute music in favor of another theme
or approach?  

Having mounted a few exhibits myself, they are a very difficult balancing
act between sponsors, museums, museum directors, trustees and curators,
availability of material, outside marketing consultants, outside academic
consultants, exhibition preparation and design staff (often the most
inspiring, creative and unsung group), etc. etc. (It sounds difficult, but
it is great if exhausting and humbling fun). It would be a shame if all
this (admittedly lingustically-oriented) list has to offer about this
exhibit are some obscure, conflicting and ranking comments on pronunciation
guides for the English/Spanish (and other language) non-academic visitors
to the exhibit.  I don't recall seeing anything on the aztlan list about
the exhibit other than the announcement of its existence. 

And backed to those crowded angels--how exactly would one have written a
pronunciation guide that would engage the public? Are there prior examples
of excellence?  What about next time?  And what about this time?  Do the
comments offered so far encourage non-specialists to use specialists next
time or do they just further isolate all parties?

Show us.

Jerry Offner 

> [Original Message]
> From: Michael McCafferty <mmccaffe at indiana.edu>
> To: <nahuatl at lists.famsi.org>
> Date: 12/31/2008 09:49:57 AM
> Subject: Re: [Nahuat-l] Fwd: Re:  Chicago's Field Museum
> Quoting "Robert A. Neinast" <neinast at att.net>:
> > Michael McCafferty wrote:
> >>>> Oh, and for a final
> >>>> "tl" they had it pronounced simply as "t".
> >>
> >> It's like that in some dialects, so it's not a great offense.
> >
> > Don't forget, this exhibit was "The Aztec World," not
> > "The Modern Nahuatl Dialects World."
> Naturally, an exhibit of this caliber should have -tl instead of -t. 
> That's agreed.
> >
> > Or were there dialects 500 years ago that did this?
> Yes. In fact, the sound written -tl derives from a proto-Uto-Aztecan 
> /*t/ following /a/. It's not unreasonable to assume that some ancient 
> dialects did not take that /*t/ to the sound written -tl. I don't 
> believe the necessary evidence exists to corroborate that notion, 
> however.
> Michael
> >
> > Bob
> > --
> > " . . . and shun the Frumious Bandersnatch."
> > Robert A. Neinast
> > Pickerington, OH
> > _______________________________________________
> > Nahuatl mailing list
> > Nahuatl at lists.famsi.org
> > http://www.famsi.org/mailman/listinfo/nahuatl
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Nahuatl mailing list
> Nahuatl at lists.famsi.org
> http://www.famsi.org/mailman/listinfo/nahuatl

Nahuatl mailing list
Nahuatl at lists.famsi.org

More information about the Nahuat-l mailing list