Posted by: ayac | September 24, 2014

Phrasebook: Greetings

This is taken from Vocabulario manual de las lenguas castellana, y mexicana by Pedro de Arenas, first published some time before 1611 and reprinted many times since (including a French translation in 1862, entitled Guide de la conversation en trois langues: français, espagnol et mexicain).

The variety of Nahuatl that Arenas describes is mostly standard, but one thing that stands out is the use of ie in certain words where most other texts have ia.* All varieties of Nahuatl, as far as I know, have ie for historical ia in at least some contexts, but Arenas has it in slightly more than others.

(*Or iyeiya. Modern orthography distinguishes between ieiye, iaiya, oaohua, etc., but it’s artificial and doesn’t reflect either the pronuciation or the history of the words.)

The spellings have been modernized (including adding the artificial ieiye distinction), and one obvious error corrected (motetztie for moyetztie), but things that probably represent peculiarities of the Nahuatl variety being written have been kept. In a few cases the phrases have been rearranged, according to how I think they were supposed to go together. Spanish loans (so far just Dios) are usually written in Spanish orthography, but I’ve added their probable naturalized pronunciation in parentheses. The English glosses are literal translations of the Nahuatl rather than the Spanish.


Dios sea en esta casa.
Mā toTēcuiyō Dios (Tīyox) nicān amochāntzinco moyetztie.
May Our Lord God be here in your (pl) house.

Dios sea con todos.
Ma toTēcuiyō Dios (Tīyox) amotlan moyetztie.
May Our Lord God be with you (pl).

Dios sea contigo.
Mā Dios (Tīyox) motlan moyetztie.
May God be with you.

(Other varieties would have moyetztia for moyetztie.)

enora buena esteis
Mā īhuiyān pāccā xiye.
Be calm, peaceful.

como te và
Quēn tinemi?
How are you living?

mucho ha que no te è visto
Ye huecāuhtica in ahmō nimitzitta.
I haven’t seen you in a long time.

tienes salud
You’re happy. (Maybe “Are you happy?” is meant.)

(mucho) me huelgo desso
(Cencah) īc nipahpāqui ōn
That makes me (very) happy.

(mucho) me pessa desso
(Cencah) īc ninotequipachoa ōn.
That worries me (greatly).

y tu fulano, &c
Auh in tehhuātl &c.
And as for you [so-and-so]

como estas
Quēn ticah?
How are you?

mucho è holgado de verte
Cencah īc nipāqui inīc ōnimitzittac.
I’m very happy to have seen you.


You are strong.

con salud
You go about happily.

mucho me pesa de tu mal
Cencah nēchtequipachoa in mococoliz.
I’m very concerned about your illness.

quedad con Dios
Mā Dios (Tīyox) motlan mocāhua.
May God stay with you.

Dios te guarde de todo mal
Mā Dios (Tīyox) mitzmopiyeli in īpan īxquich ahmō cualli
May God protect you from everything bad.

Dios te depare lo que te conviene para su servicio
Mā Dios (Tīyox) mitzmonēxtilili in motech monequi inīc ticmotlayecoltilīz.
May God show you what you need to serve Him.


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