Henry Kammler h.kammler at em.uni-frankfurt.de
Mon Oct 11 18:02:33 UTC 2010

I try again, using Windows ISO-8859-1 settings.

[The Listserv scrambles UNICODE, feels like 1993...]
[Workaround: If you click on "show message source" in your mailprogram 
you can see the raw text of  a "scrambled" message, and it shows 

Seler in the analytical wordlist to his extracts from Sahagún ("Einige 
Kapitel aus dem Geschichtswerk des Fray B. de Sahagún", 1927) gives 
the following related forms:

oyo-a, oyo-ua "schreien" [scream]
oyo-ualli "Geschrei" [screaming]
oyouh-ti-nemi "er schreit andauernd" [he screams all the time]

The semantic relation to the pectoral is obscure (or very far-flung at 
best if you consider metaphorical likenness of spiral form, whirling 
wind and the air set into motion by screaming, cf. the Aztec/Mixtec 
"speaking" glyph).

I don' have Simeon at hand, but [oyowalli] is not in Molina.

As is evident, phonemically many versions are thinkable. I'd 
experiment with a composition based on [o'-] < [o'tli] "path, road".

In Molina we have /yohualli/ for "noche" and many related forms 
referring to nocturnal activities and darkness. A composition with 
[o'-] would give something like "nightway, a road in darkness". Not 
very satisfying.
Molina himself, however, gives us a lead in compositions given with 
[tla-piya] "having, guarding"
/yohuallapiyaliztli/ "ronda, el acto de rondar"
/yohuallapiya, ni/ "rondar, rondar de noche"

For certain reasons the concepts of night and circle seem to be connected.
And there is a similar lexical entry: /yahualli/ for "caracol de 
escalera" and "assentadero de olla o de cosa semejante"  Hence: 
/yahualtic/ "cerco o cosa redonda como luna, circulo redondo, redondo 
como mesa redonda" and related forms.
Could /oyohualli/ then be derived from [o'-] and [yawal-li]?

Now, it is methodologically not very sound to insinuate a misspelling 
in the (quite few) sources. But modern dialects indicate that it may 
not be a matter of "incorrectness" or "misspelling" because short [a] 
can indeed experience a raising to [o] in the vicinity of [w].
In local Nahuatl variants of Central Guerrero you hear  [yowaltik] for 
"circular, spherical" alongside  [yawaltik].
In the Huasteca veracruzana this latter form is the rule (cf. 
Hernández 2007: "Totlajtolpialis. Dicc. nahuatl-castellano"), here you 
/youali/ "noche"
/youaltik/ "redondo, esférico"

So my *guess* is [o'-yawal-li] "circular road".

Seler introduced the term "oyohualli" based on his palaeographic 
reading of Sahagún. Did other editors of Sahagún read the word with 
the same spelling?

Ma ninosêwi,

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