There are words in indigenous languages of Mexico, referring to things introduced by the Spaniards, which are of Nahuatl rather than Spanish origin. There are also some words of Spanish origin which seem to have passed through Nahuatl before being loaned into indigenous languages.

Here’s an incomplete list of such words. I’ve tried to exclude words that may have been loaned via Spanish (e.g. Huichol tupíiri is ultimately from Nahuatl tōpīleh, but possibly via Spanish topil rather than directly), as well as inherited Uto-Aztecan cognates, but it’s hard to be certain and other interpretations are sometimes possible. There’s definitely still a lot more missing. I’m adding things to this post from time to time.

Nahuatl Caxtīllān ‘Spain’ (< Spanish Castilla ‘Castile’) — adapted as a Nahuatl placename following the same pattern as Tōllān. As people from Tōllān are Tōltēcah, people from Caxtīllān are Caxtīltēcah.
Kaqchikel castilan ‘Spain’
Totonac (Papantla; Sierra) xtīlān ‘gallina’
Totonac (Xicotepec de Juárez) caxli ‘gallina’

Nahuatl miztōn ‘domestic cat’ (< miztli ‘mountain lion’)
Cora mistu
Huichol míisu
Purépecha misitu
Seri miist
Tepehuan (Northern) miixítu
Tepehuan (Southeastern) mistuiñ
Tohono O’odham mi:stol, mi:tol
Totonac (Papantla) mistun
Totonac (Xicotepec de Juárez) mistu
Zapotec (Isthmus) mistu’

Nahuatl -oa (verb ending, used with native words and Spanish infinitives)
Yaqui -oa (used productively with Spanish loanwords)

Nahuatl pahtli ‘medicinal plant; drug, medicine, poison’
Yaqui pahti ‘poison’ (but pahtiam ‘aspirin’ < Spanish pastilla ‘pill’)

Nahuatl pitzotl ‘pig’
Hopi pitsooti ‘pig’

Nahuatl tamachīhua ‘to measure’
Yaqui tamachia ‘measure; survey, lay out a building’

Nahuatl -tēco ‘(one’s) lord; master, boss’
Huarijío teekó ‘landlord’
Mayo teeco ‘patrón’
Yaqui teeko ‘boss, supervisor, director, manager’

Nahuatl tēnāntzin ‘mother (respectful)’
Yaqui tenanchim ‘female litter bearers’

Nahuatl teōchīhua ‘to bless’
Mayo teo’ochía, tio’ochía
Yaqui teochia, te’ochia

Nahuatl teōcuitlatl ‘gold; silver’
Yaqui teokita ‘silver’

Nahuatl teōpan ‘temple; church’ (< teōtl ‘god’)
Cora teyuj (p. 52), téyuu (p. 99)
Huichol teyeupáni
Mayo teó’opo, teópo, tiópo
Tarahumara ri’obá
Tepehuan (Northern) kiuúpai
Tepehuan (Southeastern) chiop
Tohono O’odham ceopĭ, ciopĭ
Yaqui teopo

Nahuatl tepoztli ‘copper; iron; metal object, esp. an axe’
Cora tepuústi’i ‘fierro’ — distinguished from ‘fierro (para herrar)’ (p. 43)
Mayo tepojti ‘fierro de herrar’
Tohono O’odham cepos-id ‘to brand’
Yaqui tepohti ‘brand, branding iron’

Nahuatl tequipanoa ‘to work; to serve’
Huarijío tekihpánani
Mayo tequipanoa
Seri ca-tikpan
Tohono O’odham cikpan, cipkan
Yaqui tekipanoa

Nahuatl tequitl ‘work; tribute; duty, office’
Huarijío tehkí ‘work, difficult’
Mayo técquil ‘trabajo’, tequia ‘cargo’
Yaqui tekil ‘work, job, task, duty’, tekia ‘talent, job, intended purpose’

Nahuatl tēzcatl ‘obsidian mirror’
Mayo tejca ‘etsá obsidiana’

Nahuatl tlahtoāni ‘king; governor’ (< tlahtoa ‘to speak’)
Cora tajtuhuaan ‘gobernador’

Nahuatl tlapītza ‘blow something’
Mayo tápicha ‘está echando viento’, tapichaléero ‘abanico’ (via Spanish?)
Yaqui tapicha ‘fan fire’

Nahuatl tlaxcalli ‘tortilla’
Mayo tájcarim ‘tortillas’, tájcare ‘está haciendo tortillas’
Yaqui tahkaim ‘tortilla’, tahkae ‘make tortillas’

Nahuatl tomīn ‘money’ (< Spanish tomín, old name for a real < Arabic ṯumn ‘one eighth’) — these could have been independently loaned from Spanish, but tomín apparently fell out of use in Spanish very early, and was never used to mean ‘money’ generically.
Cora túmiin
Huarijío tomí
Huichol tumíini
Mayo tommi
Purépecha tumina
Seri tom
Tepehuan (Northern) tumíñxi
Tepehuan (Southeastern) tuumiñ
Totonac (Papantla; Sierra; Xicotepec de Juárez) tumīn
Yaqui tomi ‘money, cash; twelve and a half cents (1/8 of a dollar)’, tomin ‘coin’

Nahuatl Tōnatiuh ‘the sun; name of the sun god; Pedro de Alvarado
Kaqchikel Tunatiuh ‘Pedro de Alvarado’
K’iche’ Dunadiu ‘Pedro de Alvarado’

Nahuatl totahtzin ‘our father’
Hopi tota’tsi ‘dictator, bossy person, baby, Catholic priest’

Nahuatl tōtolin ‘turkey hen; chicken’
Huarijío totóri, to’tóri
Mayo tótori
Seri tootar
Tohono O’odham cucul
Yaqui totoi

Nahuatl xāmitl ‘adobe brick’
Mayo saami ‘pared’, sáamim ‘adobes’
Seri ca-zaamt ‘make adobe bricks’
Tohono O’odham ṣa:mt
Yaqui saami

Sources:
The Annals of the Cakchiquels
Diccionario seri-español-inglés (2nd ed.)
Diccionario tarahumara de Samachique, Chihuaha, México
Diccionario tepehuano de Santa María Ocotán, Durango
Diccionario totonaco de Papantla, Veracruz
Diccionario totonaco de Xicotepec de Juárez
Dictionary: Hiaki-English, Yaqui-Yoeme-Hiaki
Dictionary: Tohono O’odham/Pima to English, English to Tohono O’odham/Pima (2nd ed.)
A Grammar of River Warihío
Tohono ‘O’odham-English Dictionary
Vocabulario cora
Vocabulario del idioma purépecha
Vocabulario Huichol-castellano Castellano-huichol
Vocabulario mayo
Vocabulario totonaco de la sierra
Vocabulario zapoteco del Istmo

Posted by: ayac | October 19, 2014

Aesop’s Fables 38: The Donkey and the Horse

Based on The Ass that envied the Horse (Perry 357). For other Aesop’s fables see here.

I feel like this one might have more errors in it than the others. A few parts don’t make sense to me.

¶ Asno Yhuan Cauallo.

Centetl asno ceppa ytechmoxico centetl cauallo ynipampa / cenca mahuizmacho ya cenca tlamacoya: auh ynasno / momoztlaye yntlatequipanohuaya , auh ayaxcã yntlama / coya . auh cepa omolnamic . yaoyotl : in cauallo conchichiuh / ynitecuio , ypan onmotlali niman, yeyauh yyaoc.auh / ynocalaquitto yaoc, yyemicoali , nohuiampa oquiahya / hualoque yniaohuan: auh yniquac yemieccan quihxili : a / yaxcã y oteixpampa yehuac, ynotemacpa quiz. auh y /noquittac asno aocmocan tlacayectli cauallo , cenca / quitlaocoltin quihto, motolinia in mocniuh caballo , yn nino / matia haço çanen ycenca mahuizmacho , tlacahço miquizte / quiti.

Yniçaçanilli techmachtia. Caynmacehualti hamomone / qui yntechmoxicohque yntlattoque yhuan inmotlacamati: / çan mo nequi yctoyollo pachihuiz yntlein Cehcenyacã oquin / momaquili totecuiyo dios yehica Cayntlattoque yhuan / mo tlacamati occenca miecpa ohuitiliztli quinamiqui.

Āxnoh  ī-huān    cahuāyoh.
donkey 3sgP-with horse
The donkey and the horse.

Cen-te-tl     āxnoh  cep-pa    ī-tech  mo-xīcoh-Ø         cen-te-tl     cahuāyoh
one-stone-ABS donkey one-times 3sgP-to 3sgR-aggravate-PST one-stone-ABS horse
A donkey was once jealous of a horse,

in  ī-pampa      cencah mahuiz-mach-ō-ya,        cencah tla-mac-ō-ya
SUB 3sgP-because very   respected-know-PASS-IMPF very   something-give-PASS-IMPF
because he was greatly respected and provided for by people.

Auh in  āxnoh  mōmōztlayeh in  tla-tequipanoa-ya,
and SUB donkey every_day   SUB something-work-IMPF
But the donkey worked every day,

auh ayāxcān in  tla-mac-ō-ya.
and barely  SUB something-give-PASS-IMPF
and was hardly provided for.

Auh cep-pa   ō=mo-lnāmic-Ø         yāō-yō-tl.
and one-time PST=3sgR-remember-PST enemy-ness-ABS
Then one day war was declared(?).

In  cahuāyoh c-on-chihchīuh-Ø     in  ī-tēcui-yō;
SUB horse    3sgO-there-equip-PST SUB 3sgP-lord-ness
The horse's master equipped him,

ī-pan   on-mo-tlālih-Ø     niman;
3sgP-on there-3sgR-sit-PST then
then got on him,

ye      yāuh i[n] yāō-c.
already go   SUB  enemy-LOC
and he went to the battle.

Auh in  ō=calaqui-to   yāō-c,    i[n] ye      micoali,
and SUB PST=enter-went enemy-LOC SUB  already ???
And when he had entered the battle, when ...,

(The text is difficult to read, so micoali may be something else.)

nōhuiyām-pa     ō=qui-yah~yahualoh-que-h     in  ī-yāō-huā-n.
everywere-wards PST=3sgO-RDP-encircle-PST-PL SUB 3sgP-enemy-POS-PL
his enemies surrounded him on all sides.

Auh in  ihcuāc ye      miec-cān   qui-hxilih-Ø,
and SUB then   already many-where 3sgO-pierce-PST
And after he [they] had wounded him in many places,

ayāxcān  i[n] ō=tē-īx-pam-pa            yēhua-c   ō=tē-mā-c-pa               quīz-Ø
barely   SUB  PST=someone-eyes-on-wards leave-PST PST=someone-hand-LOC-wards emerge-PST
he barely escaped from sight, from their clutches.

Auh in  ō=qui-tta-c      āxnoh a=oc=mō=cān         tlāca-yēc-tli   cahuāyo,
and SUB PST=3sgO-see-PST horse not=still=not=where person-good-ABS horse
And when the donkey saw that the horse was no longer [healthy? respected?] anywhere,

cencah qui-tlaōcol-tih-Ø    [ī]n.
very   3sgO-be_sad-CAUS-PST this
he took pity on him.

(quitlaocoltin is a bit weird but I think this is the best interpretation.)

Qui-htoh-Ø, "Mo-tolinia   in  mo-cnīuh    cahūayoh.
3sgO-say-PST 3sgR-tolīnia SUB 2sgP-friend horse
He said, "Your [my] friend the horse is suffering.

In ni-no-mati-ya,       ahzo    za[n] nēn     i[n] cencah mahuiz-mach-ō.
SUB 1sgS-1sgR-know-IMPF perhaps only  in_vain SUB  very   respected-know-PASS
It seemed [seems] to me that perhaps it is pointless to be so respected.

Tlacahzo miquiz-tequiti."
INTERJ   death-work
Now I see you pay for it with your death."

In=ī[n]  çāçanil-li tēch-mach-tia:
SUB=this fable-ABS  1plO-know-caus
This fable teaches us:

Ca  in  mācēhual-ti[n] ha=mo   mo-nequi  īn-tech mo-xīcoh-que-h
IND SUB commoner-PL    not=not 3sgR-want 3sgP-to 3sgR-aggravate-PST-PL
Commoners don't need to be jealous of

(Shouldn't monequi be preceded by intech?)

in  tlahtohque-h ī-huān    in  mo-tlācamati-h.
SUB ruler-PL     3sgP-with sub 3sgR-obey-PL
rulers and the wealthy.

Zan  mo-nequi  īc      to-yōllō   pahihui-z,
only 3sgR-want thereby 1plP-heart settle-FUT
For us to be satisfied, we only need

in tle=in    cehcenyacan ō=quin-mo-māqu-ilih-Ø         to-Tēcui-yō    Tīyox,
SUB what=SUB one_each    PST=3plO-3sgR-give-APPLIC-PST 1plP-lord-ness God
what our Lord God gave each of us individually,

yeh=ī-ca   ca  in  tlahtohque-h ī-huān    mo-tlācamati-h
it=3sgP-by IND sub ruler-PL     3sgP-with 3sgR-obey-PL
because rulers and the wealthy

oc=cencah  miec-pa    ohuitiliz-tli qui-namiqui-h.
still=very many-times danger-ABS    3sgO-meet-PL
encounter danger much more often.
Posted by: ayac | October 18, 2014

Plurals as singulars

In the Tepiman branch of Uto-Aztecan, also known as Pimic, plurals are usually marked by partial reduplication (also used to a lesser extent in other Uto-Aztecan languages). E.g. the plural of Tohono O’odham ban ‘coyote’ is ba:ban. Though in some cases sound change can make things slightly obscure; e.g. the plural of wuhi ‘eye’ (< *pusi) is wu:pui (< *pu:pusi).

But there are a number of cases where the singular form shows reduplication too, mostly referring to small animals and plants. What seems to have happened is that these things were spoken of in the plural so much more frequently than the singular that the singular completely fell out of use, and the plural came to be thought of as the basic form of the lexeme. Some examples (note that the reconstructions are approximate and aren’t meant to accurately represent Proto-Uto-Aztecan):

*kʷaya ‘frog’ > Nahuatl cueya-tl : Tohono O’odham babad; N Tepehuan babááda-i
*paka ‘reed’ > Nahuatl āca-tl : Tohono O’odham wa:pk; N Tepehuan vaapáka-i; SE Tepehuan baapak
*sawa ‘leaf’ > Nahuatl izhua-tl : Tohono O’odham ha:hag; N Tepehuan áága-i; SE Tepehuan jaaja’
*tamV ‘tooth’ > Nahuatl tlan-tli : Tohono O’odham ta:tamĭ; N Tepehuan taatámu-i; SE Tepehuan taatam
*tsana ‘a kind of bird’ > Nahuatl tzana-tl ‘grackle’ : Tohono O’odham ṣaṣañ(ĭ) ‘blackbird; dwarf cowbird’
*ʔatɨ ‘louse’ > Huichol ʼaté : Tohono O’odham ʼa:ʼac; N Tepehuan áátɨ-i; SE Tepehuan aʼaat

In some cases the reduplicated form is used as both singular and plural (e.g. ha:hag is both ‘leaf’ and ‘leaves’), in others a new plural is formed by reduplicating it a second time (the plural of babad is babbad). The unreduplicated form may survive in compounds or derivatives (e.g. hagpig ‘remove leaves’).

Something similar may have happened in Nahuatl, to a similar class of words, albeit less consistently.

Nahuatl inherited two plural suffixes, *-mɨ and *-tɨ, which are used both on their own and in combination (sometimes accompanied by partial reduplication). The following description is based primarily on Classical Nahuatl, but should mostly be true for other dialects as well:

*-mɨ > Nahuatl -n (Pochutec -m), used with:

  • possessed nouns (which end in -huā-n),
  • personal pronouns (e.g. tehhuān ‘we’),
  • numerals (e.g. nāhuin ‘four’),
  • quantifiers (e.g. cequīn ‘some’),
  • probably some verb forms (although I don’t fully understand them),
  • and the unusual word huēi ‘big’, which has the plural is huehhuēin.

*-tɨ > Nahuatl -h (Pipil and Pochutec -t), used with:

  • some nouns referring to humans and animals (e.g. cōcoyoh ‘coyotes’),
  • agentive nouns in -c/-qui/-Ø (e.g. ichtecqueh ‘thieves’),
  • and most verbs (e.g. tiquittah ‘we see it’).

*-tɨ-mɨ > Nahuatl -tin, used (at least in Classical) with almost all nouns whose stem ends in a consonant, and very rarely nouns that end in vowels. (Also, in Classical Nahuatl, words ending in -n other than verbs and possessed nouns get -tin added to make a triple plural -ntin.)

*-mɨ-tɨ > Nahuatl -meh (Pipil -met), used with almost all nouns that end in vowels, and sometimes some that end in consonants.

But besides those -n plurals, there are also nouns that end in -n in the singular, instead of the expected -tl absolutive suffix. The vast majority end in -in, though a few end in -an, and in Pochutec, they end in -m. And they almost all refer to small animals and plants. Some examples:

capolin ‘cherry’
chapolin ‘grasshopper’
cītlalin ‘star’
cuetzpalin ‘lizard’
michin ‘fish’ (Pochutec michom)
ocuilin ‘worm’ (Pochutec uglom)
quimichin ‘mouse’
tamazolin ‘toad’
tōchin ‘rabbit’
tōlin ‘cattail’
tēxcan ‘bedbug’
tōzan ‘gopher’

It’s tempting to think that this -n is the same as the one that marks the plural, and that these words are historical plurals that have become singulars, like in the reduplicated Tepiman words above. There’s not a whole lot of direct evidence for it, and there’s still a few issues left unexplained, but here’s what I’ve come up with:

The Nahuatl reflex of *ʔatɨ ‘louse’ is atemitl, rather than simply ×atetl. This could be explained as a plural-turned-singular *ʔatɨmɨ, that got the absolutive suffix added to it prior to the loss of final vowels. If you accept that explanation, it attests to the existence of singulars ending in *-mɨ in an earlier stage of the language, which could have developed into the attested singulars in -n. (And if you don’t accept it, it’s not like there’s any other explanation for where atemitl comes from.) One could speculate that other words ending in -mitl might have a similar origin (Otomitl?).

Then there’s *tɨpu ‘flea’, whose Nahuatl reflex is tecpin. This would seem to be from a reduplicated plural *tɨtɨpumɨ, which strengthens the interpretation of -n as a reflex of the plural suffix, rather than from some other *-mV morpheme. The singular of *tɨpu ‘flea’ also survives with diminutive suffixes as tepitōn and tepitzin, both of which mean ‘small thing’.

EDIT (2016-01-05): A few additional pieces of evidence.

1) Nahuatl tzahtzapalin ‘mojarra (a kind of fish)’ corresponds to Huichol sáapa and Cora tzaajpua. As with ‘flea’, plurality is marked not just by -n, but also by partial reduplication. -li- and -chi- are diminutive suffixes, here and in most of the above examples.

2) The plural of -in is usually -tin (< *-tɨ-mɨ) in Classical Nahuatl. But some modern varieties have -imeh, and this form is also rarely found in Classical. I don’t believe this is from -in + -meh; some varieties simplify nasal clusters, but not all of them, and there is no evidence of a cluster here at all. Instead, I think the suffix is simply -h (< *-tɨ), and adding it prevented the preceding vowel from being deleted. The same phenomenon is seen in the past/agentive -c, -que-h (< *-kā, *-kā-tɨ), the word ‘is/are’ cah, cate-h (< *katɨ, *katɨ-tɨ), etc. (This only proves what shape the earlier forms of -n had, but it doesn’t prove that it was a plural. However I don’t think the similarity between -meh and -imeh is a coincidence.)

Posted by: ayac | October 17, 2014

Aesop’s Fables 21: The Birdcatcher and the Snake

This fable is based on The Fowler and the Asp (Perry 115). For other Aesop’s fables see here.

At first I thought itecpa was “his flint knife”, but -tecpah at the end of the line made it clear that it should be ītēcpah. Tēcpahtli is a kind of plant, used for birdlime as well as other purposes. The word is not in Molina but it’s described in the Florentine Codex (bk. 11, ch. 7, para. 2 = vol. 3, f. 133v) and by Hernández (1615: bk.2, pt. 2, ch. XVI = f. 105v, 1651: bk. VI, ch. XV = p. 191). However nobody has actually been able to identify it, even though its name has apparently been loaned into Spanish as tepacle (Robelo 1904: 302).

The only plausible etymology for it is tēuctli ‘lord’ + pahtli ‘drug; medicinal plant’, with regular dissimilation of /kʷp/ to /kp/ (c.f. tēcpan ‘palace’, tēcpilli ‘son of a lord’). A similar phenomenon is the change of /wkʷ/ to /wk/ in cuahuitl ‘tree’ + cuezcomatl ‘granary’ > cuauhquezcomatl ‘wooden granary’ and cuahuitl + cuetzpalin ‘lizard’ > cuauhquetzpalin ‘tree lizard’. Though I don’t think there’s any evidence to work out why it would be called that in particular.

I’m not sure if the Nahuas used birdlime with reeds the same way the ancients did. For that matter I don’t know much about the ancient way of catching birds with birdlime and reeds in the first place. Googling finds it mentioned in Augustine’s De magistro (Robert P. Russell’s translation):

Suppose now that someone unfamiliar with the business of snaring birds, which is done with reeds and birdlime, should encounter a bird-catcher fitted out with all his equipment, though he is not snaring birds but simply going on his way. At the sight of him, he quickens his pace and, as is usually the case, reflects and, in amazement, asks himself the meaning of the man’s paraphernalia. Suppose, too, that the bird-catcher, aware that the other’s attention is fixed upon him, and eager to show off his prowess, releases the reeds and, with his rod and hawk, snares a little bird which he sees nearby which he comes up to and captures. Would he not, I ask you, teach that spectator of his what he was so eager to know, not by any sign, but by the reality itself?

Apparently there’s a hawk involved too?

The Wikipedia article on birdlime is pretty terrible, but in the article on bird trapping there’s a link to an article in The Avicultural Magazine from 1903, entitled “Bird-catching in India“. Even though it’s from early 20th century India and not ancient Europe (or north Africa), it sounds pretty similar to what Augustine’s talking about:

Bird-lime is used in India in two different senses, which I shall term “passive” and “active.” In the former, limed twigs are placed in convenient positions for the capture of the bird—either by its feet or by its wings—when it comes in contact with them. In the latter sense, the bird-catcher literally hunts his prey, “stabbing” it with a long rod, which is limed at its extremity. The “passive” sense … is the only one adopted in England. …

I will now pass on to describe what I consider the most interesting and sporting of all methods of bird-catching—the using of bird-lime in an “active” sense. The accompanying photo. of a bird-catcher was taken at Lucknow. In his right hand are a number of thin bamboos, all furnished with a hollow joint at one end, so that they may be fitted together upon the principle of a chimney sweep’s brush, or a fishing-rod. Each bamboo is about five feet long, and every catcher carries from four to eight of them. At the end of the topmost joint a forked, limed twig, about a foot long, is inserted. When not in use, the twig is carried in the bird-lime receptable—a thick, hollow portion of bamboo about a foot long—which is seen in the photo. stuck in the right side of the catcher’s loin cloth. The flat, circular basket at the man’s left elbow is for putting the birds in when caught. When the catcher sees a bird in a tree overhead, which he wishes to capture, he quickly lengthens his rod with as many joints as may be necessary (according to the height of the bird), gently pushing up the rod until the limed twigs are within a foot or two of the bird. Then, by a sudden push, at the same time slightly twisting the rod, a capture is generally effected. In order to decrease the possibility of the bird being frightened by the sight of the catcher, a screen of green leaves is often attached to his left arm.

* * *

The Nahuatl text:

¶ totohanqui yhuan cohuatl.

Cetotoanqui concuic ynitecpa yhuan Yacauh oya tlatecpah / huito. auh centetl huilotl quauhticpac catca ynoquittac / totoanqui : niman yeiccalahua ynitecpa acati tech , huelytzin / tlan onmihquani inquahuitl ynoncan catca tototl . auh / yniquac oquicemittac huilotl yhuan inyecahcoctiuh yacauh , / cetequani cohuatl ypancholo : niman oquichopini . auh inyeon / miqui totoanqui , oquihto . yyoyahue . onotlahueliltic, / yniquac ninotepachihuia , yehnonipa tenepactihuiliztica / nimiqui.

Iniçaçanilli quinezcayotia; ynaquique tetoniliznequi : ca / miecpa çannoye huantin ympa mocuepa ynitntetoliniliz.

Tōtō-ān-qui   ī-huān    cōā-tl.
bird-catch-er 3sgP-with snake-ABS
The birdcatcher and the snake.

Cē  tōtō-ān-qui   c-on-cui-c          in  ī-tēcpah     ī-huān    ī-āca-uh;
one bird-catch-er 3sgO-there-take-PST SUB his-birdlime 3sgP-with 3sgP-reed-POS
A birdcatcher took his birdlime and his reeds,

ō=yah;   tla-tēcpah-huī-to.
PST=went something-birdlime-use_on-went.
and went out to catch birds.

Auh cen-te-tl     huīlō-tl cuauh-ti-cpa-c   cat-ca.
and one-stone-ABS dove-ABS tree-LIG-top-LOC be-PST
And there was a dove in a tree.

In  ō=qui-hta-c      tōtō-ān-qui,
SUB PST=3sgO-see-PST bird-catch-er
When he saw it, the birdcatcher

niman ye      īc      c-alāhua   in  ī-tēcpah      āca-ti-tech.
then  already thereby 3sgO-slide SUB 3sgP-birdlime reed-LIG-to
started to slide his birdlime onto the reeds. (?)

Huel ī-tzīn-tlan    on-m-ihcuanih-Ø     in  cuahui-tl in  oncān cat-ca tōtō-tl.
well 3sgP-butt-near there-3sgR-move-PST SUB tree-ABS  SUB there be-PST bird-ABS
He came right underneath the tree where the bird was.

Auh in=ihcuāc ō=qui-cem-itta-c      huīlō-tl
and SUB=then  PST-3sgO-one-look-PST dove
And when he was staring at the dove

ī-huān    in  ye      c-ahco-c-ti-uh         ī-āca-uh,
3sgP-with SUB already 3sgO-above-take-LIG-go 3sgP-reed-POS
and raising up his reeds,

cē tēcuāni cōā-tl    ī-pan   choloh-Ø; niman ō=qui-chopīnih-Ø.
a  deadly  snake-ABS 3sgP-on jump-PST  then  PST-3sgO-prick-PST
a venomous snake jumped on him and bit him.

Auh in  ye      on-miqui  tōtō-ān-qui   ō=qui-htoh-Ø,
and SUB already there-die bird-catch-er PST=3sgO-say-PST
And as he was dying, the birdcatcher said,

"Iyoiyahue,  ō=no-tlahuēliltic!
interjection PST=1sgP-unfortunate
"Woe is me!

In=ihcuāc ni-no-tē-pachihu-ia
SUB=then  1sgS-1sgR-someone-press-APPLIC
While stalking someone else,

Yeh nō  nipa      tē-ne-pachihu-ī-liz-ti-ca               ni-miqui."
it  too elsewhere someone-REFL-press-APPLIC-action-LIG-by 1sgS-die
I die because of someone else stalking me."

(I don't really get 'yeh nō nipa'. It might be something else.)
Posted by: ayac | October 12, 2014

The baptismal font of Zinacantepec

In the Museo Virreinal of Zinacantepec, which used to be a Franciscan convent, there’s a 16th century stone baptismal font with indigenous-style art and an inscription in Nahuatl. (There’s also apparently a reproduction in the Museo de Bellas Artes in Toluca.)

As far as I know there aren’t a lot of Nahuatl inscriptions in stone, and there’s certainly not much information about them online, so I though it’d be worth taking note of it here.

The inscription, based on this article and comparing with the available photos, seems to be:

†IHS M YNIN PILA TEQVATEQVILIZTLI YVAN TEQVATEQVILILOYAN OMOCHIVH YTECOPATZINCO CENCA MAVIZTILILONI GUADIAN FRAY MARTIN DE AGUIRE IPAN ALTEPE TZINACANTEPEC YPA XIVIL

†Jesus Maria. This font baptism [sic] and baptizing place was made by order of the very reverend guardian fray Martín de Aguirre in the altepetl of Tzinacantepec in the year [1581].

The year 1581 is written below the main inscription. The original has no spaces, except possibly between XIVIL and †IHS. The H in IHS has a cross incorporated into it that I can’t represent in Unicode.

Pila tequatequiliztli I guess must be a weird attempt to translate “pila bautismal”, but you can’t modify nouns with other nouns like that in Nahuatl. Tequatequililoyan should just be tequatequiloyan, though I can’t find a clear photo of that part so maybe it doesn’t actually say that.

I don’t know anything about epigraphy but the slanted Y and the crossed M stand out to me.

There are four scenes around the sides enclosed in circles:

The indigenous-style stuff is between the circles.

Photos:

Posted by: ayac | October 11, 2014

Auh

In Nahuatl as Written (p. 82) James Lockhart says:

[The word auh] refers to sentence-level phenomena only. We translate it sometimes as “and,” occasionally as “but,” and often not at all except as a preceding period or semicolon, but it tells us that the previous statement is complete and that a new one is beginning.

He says essentially the same thing in his edition of Carochi’s grammar (p. 459, footnote 4), the index of which even lists it as “auh, particle indicating the beginning of a new independent statement”.

But auh can have other uses within a sentence which I think are important to recognize. J. Richard Andrews briefly acknowledged some other uses in Introduction to Classical Nahuatl (revised edition, pp. 546–547), though I didn’t notice that until just now because it’s not a particularly user-friendly book.

I came across a good example in Fable 28, The Seer:

quilhui. quen otimochiuh Yn huel oticachtopayhtohuaya teaxca tetlatqui: auh in tlein tepan mochihuaz oticmomachiztiaya: auh yye tehuatl hamo huel oticma yn tlein mopan mochihuaz?

“He said to him: How did you come to be able to make predictions about other people’s things, and to claim to know what would happen to people, yet you weren’t able to know what would happen to yourself?”

The in (also written yn, or i before y) at the start of each clause indicates that it’s subordinate and can’t be an independent sentence. The punctuation helps to make things clear too, with the end of a subclause marked by a colon, and the question mark at the very end. It doesn’t make much sense to interpret auh yye tehuatl hamo huel oticma… ? as a question on its own; the question must start with quen “how”, and everything that follows up to the question mark is part of a single sentence.

I might add more examples here later.

Posted by: ayac | October 11, 2014

Aesop’s Fables 28: The Seer

Perry 161. For other Aesop’s fables see here.

Previously I had assumed that the dialect simplified /tt/ to /t/, but seeing quihttac for standard quittac makes me think it must have turned /tt/ into /ht/ instead. Thus the scribe would have considered tt as just another way to write /ht/, hence mitonittihuitz for mitonihtihuitz; and htt in tlahttohua (for tlahtohua) and quihttac (quittac) is a combination of the two spellings. That still doesn’t explain ttiçitl though.

There’s also an interesting aspect of syntax which I might talk about in another post.

¶ tlaachpatopa yhttohuani.

Cetlaachtopayhttohuani tianquiznepantla quinanquiliticatca ynçaço a / quin quitlahtlaniaya yntleynipanhuallaz ypanmochihuaz. auh / cepa omachtlacatl cololo intlahtlaniloya tleynipan mochihuaz / cehceyâca, ynoquiçaco titlantli ychampa cencamitonittihuitz, quil / hui, tlaximoquetza, quintontlaachtopayhtoz: ynaxcã mocal / caça camacoyonticac, aoclte ohuetztoc ynmochan mochi: oquit / quique ynichteque motlatqui. auh ynoquicac cenca omocuiti / huetz, niman omoquetzatehuac, omotlalo ynichan.

Auh ohtlica oquinamic cetlacatl , ymoquihttac yhciuhtiuh, quil / hui. quenotimochiuh Ynhuel oticachtopayhtohuaya teaxca te / tlatqui : auh in tlein tepan mochi huaz oticmomachiztiaya:auh / yyetehuatl hamohuel oticma yntlein mopan mochihuaz?

Yniçaçanilli yntechpa tlahttohua, yyehuel quitzohuia tenemi / liz yntlahtoltica : auh yni inahqualnemiliz hamohuel / quitzohuia, hamo huel cahua.

Tlaachtopaihtoāni.
seer
The Seer.

Cē  tlaachtopaihtoāni tiānquiz-nepantlah qui-nānquilih-ti-cat-ca 
one seer              marketplace-middle 3sgO-answer-LIG-be-DPST
A seer was in the middle of the marketplace, answering

in  zāzo āqu=in  qui-tlahtlania-ya in  tle=in   ī-pan   huāl-lā-z,  ī-pan   mo-chīhua-z.
SUB ever who-SUB 3sgO-ask-IMPF     SUB what-SUB 3sgP-on here-go-FUT 3sgP-on REFL-make-FUT
anyone who asked what was going to happen to them.

Auh ce-pa    ō=mach     tlāca-tl   cōlō-lō   in  tlahtlanī-lō-ya tle=in   ī-pan   mo-chīhua-z   cēceyahca,
and one-time PST=really person-ABS bend-PASS SUB ask-PASS-IMPF   what-SUB 3sgP-on REFL-make-FUT individually
And one time people were gathered around asking what would happen to each of them,

in  ō=quīza-co      tītlan-tli    ī-chām-pa.
SUB PST=emerge-come messenger-ABS 3sgP-home-wards
when a messenger came from the direction of his home.

Cencah m-ītōnih-ti-huītz
very   REFL-sweat-LIG-come
He was sweating a lot as he came.

Qu-ilhui-Ø,  "Tlā  xi-mo-quetza!   Quin  t-on-tla-achtopaihtō-z."
3sgO-tell-PST COND 2sgS-REFL-stand later 2sgS-there-thing-predict-FUT
He said to him, "Stand up! You can tell the future later."

"In  āxcān mo-cal     zā   cama-coyōn-t-ihca-c."
 SUB now   2sgP-house just mouth-get_a_hole-LIG-stand-PST
"Right now your house is standing with its door broken."

"A=oc=tle       ō=huetz-t-o-c        in  mo-chān   mochi."
 not=still=what PST=fall-LIG-lie-PST SUB 2sgP-home all
"There is nothing left of what was in your home."

"Ō=qui-tqui-que-h      in  ichteque-h mo-tlatqui."
 PST=3sgO-carry-PST-PL SUB thief-PL   2sgP-property
"Thieves have taken your stuff."

Auh in  ō=qui-cac-Ø       cencah ō=mo-cui-ti-huetz-Ø.
and SUB PST=3sgO-hear-PST very   PST-REFL-take-LIG-fall-PST
And when he heard it he jumped with shock.

Niman ō=mo-quetza-t-ēhua-c;        ō=mo-tlaloh-Ø    in  ī-chān
then  PST=REFL-stand-LIG-leave-PST PST=REFL-run-PST SUB 3sgP-home
He immediately got up and left; he ran home.

Auh oh-tl=ī-ca       ō=qui-nāmic-Ø     cē  tlāca-tl   in  ō=qui-tta-c      ihciuh-tiuh
and road-ABS=3sgP-by PST=3sgO-meet-PST one person-ABS SUB PST=3sgO-see-PST hurry-go_along
And on the road he met someone who saw him hurrying along.

Qu-ilhui-Ø,  "Quēn ō=ti-mo-chīuh-Ø       in  huēl ō=ti-c-achtopaihtoā-ya     tē-āxcā            tē-tlatqui,
3sgO-tell-PST how  PST=2gS-REFL-make-PST SUB ably PST=2sgS-3sgO-predict-IMPF someone's-property someone's-property
He said to him, "How is it that you were able to make predictions about other people's things,

auh in  tle=in   tē-pan       mo-chīhua-z   ō=ti-c-mo-machiztiā-ya
and SUB what=SUB someone's-on REFL-make-FUT PST=2sgS-3sgO-REFL-say_you_know-IMPF
and said that you knew what would happen to people,

auh i   ye      tehhuā-tl ah=mo   huēl ō=ti-c-mah-Ø           in  tle=in   mo-pan  mo-chīhua-z?"
and SUB already 2sg-ABS   not=not ably PST=2sgS-3sgO-know-PST SUB what=SUB 2sgP-on REFL-make-FUT
yet you didn't know what would happen to yourself?"

In=ī     zāzanil-li īn-techpa  tla-htoa      
SUB=this fable-ABS  3plP-about something-say
This fable talks about

i=ye        huēl qui-tzohuia-h   tē-nemiliz     īn-tlahtōl-ti-ca,
SUB-already ably 3sgO-ensnare-PL someone's-life 3sgP-speech-LIG-by
those who criticize(?) other people's lives,

auh in  ī[m]-ahcual-nemiliz ah=mo   huēl qui-tzohuia-h,  ah=mo   huēl c-āhua-h.
and SUB 3plP-bad-life       not=not ably 3sgO-ensnare-PL not=not ably 3sgO-scold-PL
but don't criticize their own bad lives.
Posted by: ayac | October 5, 2014

Aesop’s Fables 9: The Fishermen

Perry 21. For other Aesop’s fables see here.

¶ tlahtlamaque.

Cequintin tlahtlama que yniquac omociauhcauhque tlahtla/ma ynâmotlecahci. ye mocuepaya yninchan , yniquac ah/mo in nehmachpa Cehuey michi ytoca Tunno oncho/lotihuetz ymacalco, caquihualtocaya occequintin mimich/tin auhynoquittaque tlahtlamaque Cenca opahpacque / oquihuicaque yninchan.

Yniçaçanilli techmachtia. Camiecpa topantemo in tlaqualli ynah/mo tonemachpa ynahmo yuhca toyollo.

Tlahtlamahque-h.
fisherman-PL
The Fishermen.

Cequī-n-tin tlahtlamahque-h in  ihcuāc ō=mo-ciauhcāuh-que-h  tlahtlama-h in  ah=mō   tleh c-ahci-h.
some-PL-PL  fisherman-PL    SUB then   PST=REFL-tired-PST-PL fish-PL     SUB not=not what 3sgO-catch-PL
Some fishermen had gotten tired after fishing and not catching anything.

Ye      mo-cuepa-ya-h     in  īn-chān,
already REFL-turn-IMPF-PL SUB 3plP-home
They were starting to return home,

in  ihquāc ah=mō   īn-nehmach-pa     cē  huēi mich-in  ī-tōca    Tunno on-choloh-ti-huetz-Ø    īm-ācal-co
SUB then   not=not 3plP-knowledge-on one big  fish-ABS 3sgP-name tuna  there-jump-LIG-fall-PST 3plP-boat-LOC
without warning a big fish called a tuna suddenly jumped into their boat.

Ca  qui-huāl-tōca-ya         oc    cequī-n-tin mī~mich-tin
IND 3plO-here-follow-IMPF-PL still some-PL-PL  PL~fish-PL
It was chasing some other fish.

(Assuming quinhual- > quihual-.)

Auh in  ō=qui-tta-que-h     tlahtlamahque-h, cencah ō=pahpāc-que-h;     ō=qui-huīca-que-h     in  īn-chān.
and SUB PST=3sgO-see-PST-PL fisherman-PL     very   PST=be_happy-PST-PL PST=3sgO-bring-PST-PL SUB 3plP-home
And when the fishermen saw this, they were overjoyed [and] took them home.

In=ī     zāzanil-li tēch-mach-tia
SUB=this fable-ABS  1plO-know-CAUS
This fable teaches us:

Ca  miec-pa    to-pan  temō    in  tlacual-li in  ah=mō   to-nehmach-pa     in  ah=mō   iuhcah to-yōllō
IND many-times 1plP-on descend SUB food-ABS   SUB not=not 1plP-knowledge-on SUB not=not thus   1plP-heart
Often food falls upon us unexpectedly and without warning.
Posted by: ayac | October 4, 2014

Ce Iztlacaamoxtli

Bernardino de Sahagún is an important figure of early colonial Mexico, who was responsible for the production of many manuscripts in Nahuatl and about indigenous culture. But only one of his works was published in his lifetime: the Psalmodia christiana (1583), a collection of Christian songs in indigenous style intended to replace pagan songs (like those of the Cantares mexicanos manuscript) while maintaining the same social function. Few copies exist today, in part because Francisco de la Rosa Figueroa apparently had many copies destroyed in the 18th century.

The Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese seem to think they have a copy, which has been scanned and uploaded to the Internet Archive. It has “Salmodia del P. Sahagun” on the cover:

It has Psalmodia christiana’s title page:

It even has an insert in the back that says “ONE OF SIX COPIES LOCATED”:

But the text is not that that of the Psalmodia christiana. Here’s what the Psalmodia is supposed to look like on the left, and the Toronto copy on the right:

That’s not the first page of Sahagún’s Psalmodia christiana, that’s the first page of Juan de Mijangos’s Sermonario dominical y sanctoral (1624).

Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe someone accidentally attached the title page of one Nahuatl book to the body of another. Someone who can’t read Nahuatl probably would have trouble telling one text from another.

But the Sermonario is over 600 pages, and this only has the first 50 numbered pages. After that there’s two unnumbered leaves taken from the end of the preface, which is supposed to end with Onitlacuilo, nican Mexico Tenochtitlan in nehuatl, ynamoteopixcauh. Fr. Iuan de Mijangos. “Written here in Mexico Tenochtitlan by me, your priest. Fray Juan de Mijangos.” Here’s what it looks like in an intact copy:

But the Toronto copy appears to have the author’s name scratched out:

I wonder how something like that could happen?

Posted by: ayac | October 3, 2014

Aesop’s Fables 15: The Widow and Her Hen

Perry 58. For other Aesop’s fables see here.

¶Ycnocihuatl yhuan ycihuatotol.

Ceycnocihuatl quihuapahuaya Centetl ycihuatotol: ynmomoz/tlaye centetl yteuh quitlaçaya. auh ceppa omoyolnonotz ynic/no cihuatl, quihto, canelli yntlacenca nic tequitlaqual/ti nototol , caontetl yniteuh quitlaçaz momoztlaye . nimã / quipehualti inquintequi tlamaca , yncenca quimocuitla/huiaya . auh yniquac ohueyx totoli niman omo/tetzauc , aocmotlatlaçaz.

Yniçaçanilli quittoznequi , caynteoyehuacatiliztli miecpa / çan noye huatl quihual huica ynmayanaliztli.

Icnō-cihuā tl    ī-huān    ī-cihuā-tōtol.
orphan-woman-ABS 3sgP-with 3sgP-woman-hen
The Widow and Her Hen.

Cē  icnō-cihuā-tl    qui-huapāhua-ya cen-te-tl     ī-cihuā-tōtol,
one orphan-woman-ABS 3sgO-raise-IMPF one-stone-ABS 3sgP-woman-hen
A widow looked after a hen,

in  mōmōztlayeh cen-te-tl     ī-te-uh        qui-tlāza-ya.
SUB every_day   one-stone-ABS 3sgP-stone-POS 3sgO-throw-IMPF
that laid an egg every day.

Auh cep-pa   ō=mo-yōl-nōnōtz-Ø         in  icnō-cihuā-tl,   qui-htoh-Ø,
and one-time PST-REFL-heart-advise-PST SUB orphan-woman-ABS 3sgO-say-PST
And one day the woman thought to herself,

"Ca  nel-li   in=tlā cencah ni-c-tequih-tla-cua-lti                  no-tōtol,
 IND true-ABS SUB=if very   1sgS-3sgO-excessively-something-eat-CAUS 1sgP-hen
"Surely if I really overfeed my hen,

ca  ōn-te-tl      in  ī-te-uh        qui-tlāza-z    mōmōztlayeh."
IND two-stone-ABS SUB 3sgP-stone-POS 3sgO-throw-FUT every_day
it'll lay two eggs every day."

Niman qui-pēhua-ltih-Ø    in  qui-tequih-tla-maca,            in  cencah qui-mo-cuitlahuia-ya.
then  3sgO-begin-CAUS-PST SUB 3sgO-excessively-something-give SUB very   3sgO-REFL-care_for-IMPF
So she started giving it too much, really spoiling it.

(I think [i]qui-mo-cuitlahuiaya[/i] should be [i]quicuitlahuiaya[/i].)

Auh in=ihcuāc ō=huēī-x-Ø         tōtol-in, niman ō=mo-te-tzauc-Ø;         
and SUB=then  PST=big-become-PST hen-ABS   then  PST-REFL-stone-close-ABS
And when the hen got fat, it stopped producing eggs;

a=oc=mō       tla-tlāza-z.
not=still=not something-throw-FUT
it would no longer lay anything.

In=ī     zāzanil-li qui-ttō-z-nequi:
SUB=this fable-ABS  3sgO-say-FUT-want
This fable means:

ca  in  teoyehuacatiliz-tli miec-pa   zan=no    yehhuā-tl qui-huāl-huīca  in mayānalizt-li.
IND SUB greed-ABS           many-time only=also it-ABS    3sgO-here-bring in hunger-ABS
greed often brings the same hunger.

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