Campbell, R. Joe campbel at
Sun Sep 21 22:49:30 UTC 2014

Hey John and listeros,

   When I read that Nahuatl verbing suffixes create only intransitive verbs,
I noticed that my mouth opened and I think my heart-rate increased.  So
I went through some word lists and came up with some examples of one 
type of verbing:

acalli              nin[o]acalhuia      I ride in a boat for pleasure

ahhuatl             nechahhuahuia       he scratches me with a thorn

ahmolli             nin[o]ahmolhuia     I soap myself

amatl               nicamahuia          I wrap it with paper

amochitl            nicamochihuia       I cover it with tin

camanalli           nitecacamanalhuia   I tell jests to someone

ciyacatl            nitlaciyacahuia     I hold something under my arm

eztli               nin[o]ezhuia        I bleed

huictli             nitlahuichuia       I hoe

ixtli               nitlaixhuia         I level something

nenepilli           nitlaixnenepilhuia  I lick the surface of something

izhuatl             nitlaizhuahuia      I rub something with leaves

iztatl              nitlaiztahuia       I salt something

mahpilli            nitemahpilhuia      I point at someone

matlatl             nicmatlahuia        I catch it with a net

metztli             mometzhuia          she has her monthly period

molicpitl           temolicpihuia       he elbows someone

nexayotl            quinexayohuia       he treats it with ashes and water

octli               mochuia             he gets drunk

   Is there a better way to look at words like these?


Quoting John Sullivan <idiez at>:

> Mis estimados listeros,
> 	A problem we have all had is accepting the fact that, for example
> coyo:ni goes to coyoctli, then coyoctic; and chicahui/chicahua goes
> to chicactic. In other words, why does hu or n sometimes change to c?
> I have seen some explanations that point to historical phonological
> processes, but I think there may be a simpler explanation. We know
> that Nahuatl, as an agglutinating language has a smaller amount of
> word roots than other languages, and it uses derivational affixes to
> multiply versions of those word roots that can carry meaning.
> Probably the most basic and important derivational process in Nahuatl

> is verbing. A Nahuatl verbing suffix creates intransitive verbs only.

> Some look like they create transitive verbs, but it's just because we
> are skipping over a step. Anyway, I think there is a verbing suffix
> that is not talked much about. It is -ca. This is the same -ca that
> has, for many centuries been supposedly immune to reduction, for
> example in cho:ca, even though we see now cho:cqui in Modern
> variants. This is also the same -ca that we see in all of those
> beautiful reduplications that go like this: coyo:ni, cocoyoca,
> coyo:nia:, cocoyotza. I think this verber, for some reason (maybe
> somebody can help with this), had two forms, -qui and -ca (this is
> where we get hua:qui and hua:tza, although I still don't understand
> that process well), the same way that we have a -hui/-hua verber.
> Anyway, getting back to the argument, I have seen many examples now
> of derivations that don't seem to make much sense. For example, how
> come the applicative of cocoyotza is cocoyotzhuilia, when we know
> that the -hu probably came from an o. The answer is that this
> applicative is built on an unattested parallel version of cocoyotza,
> cocoyotzoa (It is unattested for this verb, but in many other forms,
> the two versions coexist). I went off on a tangent again. So what I
> think is that when coyo:ni is transformed into a patientive noun,
> what is actually happening is that an alternative, unattested version
> of coyo:ni, coyoca is used as the base for that transformation. The
> same goes for chica:hui/chica:hua, etc.
> John
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