Lexemes with /ta/
gwhitta4 at googlemail.com
Wed Apr 4 07:19:55 UTC 2012
Hi Joe, nicca Nahuatl(@list.famsi.org)acae,
Thanks for this handy list of /ta/ lexemes. What's intriguing is the fact that there are only some 30 such lexemes in a sizable Classical Nahuatl lexicon. That is a strong indication that loanword status is involved, so long as an internal pattern cannot be detected. Unfortunately, to date there have been very, very few studies of Prehispanic lexical acquisition. I once did a tally of /ta/ lexemes for which I was able to suggest an Otomanguean or in a couple of cases Mayan (Huastecan) or Totonacan origin, but never wrote it up and, at the moment, I can't seem to find it in my mess of note boxes.
/ta'tli/ ~ /tahtli/ 'father' is a special case. It probably goes back, together with /tla'tli/ ~ /tlahtli/ 'father's brother', to Proto-Nahuatl */tla'-tla/ 'father, father's brother' ( -- the second /tla/ is the ancestor of the present absolutive -tli). At some point, baby language (tata, etc.) kicked in and replaced */tla'-/ with /ta'-/ in the sense of 'father'. We have parallels for this kind of renewal (or apparent reversal) in other languages worldwide.
Of the probable loanwords in the list, I can single out /chita'tli/ ~ /chitahtli/, which I seem to recall is Otomanguean. Chontalli is Mayan, I think. /tapachtli/ is a probable Gulf Coast loan, but I can't say from where right now. I hope the list inspires some of our colleagues and friends to explore the vocabularies of other Mesoamerican languages for tell-tale correspondences.
Of course, it's possible that Proto-Nahuatl */ta/ became Nahuatl /ta/ when protected by a preceding consonant, and that the shift to /tla/ occurred elsewhere. The very rare instances of /tl/ before vowels other than /a/ can be explained by regular phonological process, as in the case of the absolutive, or by special developments, as in the cases of /tletl/ and /tlo'tli/ ~ /tlohtli/.
tataca, on the other hand, could well be onomatopoeic in origin.
Best wishes and thanks again,
Sent from my iPad
On 04/04/2012, at 7:04 AM, "Campbell, R. Joe" <campbel at indiana.edu> wrote:
> Hey Gordon, Michael, Mario ihuan occequi nocnihuan,
> Here is a list of morphemes with /ta.../, some of them already mentioned.
> The column of numbers refers to their frequency of occurrence in Molina and the Florentine. "ihtahui" is deceptive, since most of its tokens occur in its causative form, "ihtoa".
> 93 a:ztatl aztatl
> 3 chitahtli chitahtli
> 5 chontalli chontalli
> 26 cotalli cotalli
> 8 cuatatl cuatatl
> 179 ichtaca ichtaca
> 40 ihtacatl ihtacatl
> 6912 ihtahui ihtahui
> ?? itta itta
> 8 iyataztli iyataztli
> 1174 iztatl iztatl
> 44 octacatl octacatl
> 5 tacalli tacalli
> 6 tacanalli tacanalli
> 11 tacatl tacatl
> 28 tacaxtli tacaxtli
> 318 tahtli tahtli
> 9 talatl talatl
> 182 tama tama
> 262 tamalli tamalli
> 17 tamazolin tamazolin
> 57 ta:nahtli tanahtli
> 56 tapachtli tapachtli
> 104 tapalcatl tapalcatl
> 74 tapalli tapalli
> 7 tapayaxin tapayaxin
> 86 tapayolli tapayolli
> 251 tataca tataca
> 31 tatapahtli tatapahtli
> 51 tatl tatl
> Quoting Gordon Whittaker <gwhitta4 at googlemail.com>:
>> Hi Michael, Joe and Mario,
>> I should get a hold of Stubbs some day. But I think there is a
>> simpler resolution to this specific problem. Uto-Aztecan *ta becomes
>> Proto-Nahuatl *tla. So tataca is either a loanword or onomatopoeic.
>> (Perhaps even Otom-atopoeic, if plumbed from the vocabulary of
>> certain neighbours.) There are precious few words with ta- in tl-
>> varieties of Nahuatl, and they seem indeed to be loanwords in most
>> Anyway, happy hunting!
>> Best wishes,
>> Sent from my iPad
>>> Message: 1
>>> Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2012 18:49:31 -0400
>>> From: "Campbell, R. Joe" <campbel at indiana.edu>
>>> To: Michael McCafferty <mmccaffe at indiana.edu>
>>> Cc: nahuatl at lists.famsi.org
>>> Subject: Re: [Nahuat-l] scratching the surface
>>> Message-ID: <20120402184931.cf57nhl1ic4c0oww at webmail.iu.edu>
>>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format="flowed"
>>> I checked Brian Stubbs' _Uto-Aztecan: A Comparative Vocabulary_ and
>>> couldn't find a /taka/ that was related to "dig". Maybe someone else
>>> can look better.
>>> Quoting Michael McCafferty <mmccaffe at indiana.edu>:
>>>> Do you all suppose that in the verb /tataka/, the first ta- is an old
>>>> reduplicative prefix? In other words, do you think the original
>>>> (Proto-Nahuatl?) form was */taka/?
>>>> Thank you for your thoughts.
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