tlanicuilulco, guerrero

John Sullivan/IDIEZ idiez at
Sun Oct 9 19:12:13 UTC 2011

Piyali notequixpoyohuan,
	This word is made up of the noun tlanihcuilolli and the locative/place-name-maker -co (place of).
Now let’s look at tlanihcuilolli. This is a verbal noun that comes from the transitive verb tlanihcuiloa. And tlanihcuiloa comes from tlantli, “tooth” and ihcuiloa, “to write, inscribe or paint s.t.” And ihcuiloa ultimately comes from the idea of scratching/engraving, and that may be important here. Anyway, tlantl is the object of ihcuiloa, so tlanihcuiloa mean to engrave, write, inscribe, paint a tooth. When we turn this into a passive action noun, tlantli, originally the object of the verb, becomes the focus of the noun. So tlanihcuilolli is a engraved written, inscribed or painted tooth. Perhaps the scratching thing does have importance here, because we could be talking about a geographic formation within the context of sacred landscape, that looks like a tooth, perhaps a rock formation. So it would seem that tlanihcuilolco would mean, “place of the engraved, written, inscribed or painted tooth.” Perhaps Juan has some local cultural or geographic information that could help to narrow this down.

John Sullivan, Ph.D.
Professor of Nahua language and culture
Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas
Zacatecas Institute of Teaching and Research in Ethnology
Tacuba 152, int. 43
Centro Histórico
Zacatecas, Zac. 98000
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idiez at

On Oct 8, 2011, at 10:01 AM, Michael McCafferty wrote:

> Quoting juan Vazquez <juanvazquezvaz at>:
>> I need help in finding out the meaning of TLANICUILULCO........
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> Juan,
> This is a fun word, as it can take you in several directions. It will be interesting to see what the term means.
> To me it seems to be composed of the following:
> tlan(i) 'downwards' + (i)hcuilu:lo: 'it is written, painted' + -co "place".
> That tlan-, of course, also looks like 'tooth'.
> Monequi nimitzilhuiz ahmo nicmati inezca inin altepetocaitl.
> Michael
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