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CHS 486A: Nahuatl I Fermin Herrera Cal State Northridge

LESSON I: PRONUNCIATION
NOTE: Pronounce vowels as in Spanish. Focus on the following points.
1. THE ACCENT (STRESS) FALLS ON THE SECOND FROM LAST SYLLABLE.
Exampies: Emphasize the underlined syllable in bold print
a) nantli (mother) = nan- tli
b) Aztlan = Az-tlan
c) chapulin (grasshopper) = cha- pul- in
d) Mazatlan = Ma- za- tlan
e) Acapulco (place name) = A- ca- pul- co

Exercise 1: Stress the second from last syllable (bold print) in the following words.

1. nican (here)
2. ompa (there)
3. ome (two)
4. michin (fish)
5. Tlachco (Taxco, Guerrero)
6. TIaloc (rain deity)
7. cocoya (to be ill, coco)
8. pehpena (to select, pick, pepenar)
9. pilmama (babysitter, pilmaina)
10. Tlacopan (Tacuba)
11. mapachtli (racoon, mapache)
12. totopochtli (corn chip, totopo)
13. Tenochtitlan (capital of the Aztecs)
14. Tlaltelolco (a place name)
15. Malinalco (a place name)
16. Tepeyacac (Tepeyac)
17. Atotonilco (a place name)
18. Chapultepec (a place name)
19. Acamapichtli (personal name)
20. Chimalpopoca (a personal name)

2. FINAL -TL: PRONOUNCE THE /t/ BUT RELEASE THE AIR THROUGH THE SIDES OF THE TONGUE. DO NOT PRONOUNCE THE /l/. LISTEN CAREFULLY TO THE INSTRUCTOR.
Examples:
a) atl (water, liquid) = at (NOT a - tl)
b) etl (bean) = et (NOT e-tl)
c) mitl (arrow) = mit (NOT mi - tl)
d) tomatl (tomato) = to - mat (NOT to - ma - tl)
e) coyotl (coyote) = co - yot (NOT co - yó - tl)

Exercise 2: Release the /t/ at the sides of the tongue. Do not pronounce the /l/.
1. mecatl (string, mecate)
2. moyotl (mosquito, moyote)
3. popotl (straw, popote)
4. coatl (twin, pair, snake, cuate)
5. olotl (corn cob, olote)
6. ocotl (torch, ocote)
7. elotl (corn, elote)
8. peyotl (peyote)
9. tecolotl (owl, tecolote)
10. papalotl (butterfly, papalote)
11. pinacatl (black beetle, pinacate)
12. pochtecatl (merchant)
13. chocolatl (chocolate)
14. Olmecatl (Olmec)
15. Toltecatl (Toltec, urban)
16. tlalconetl (potato bug, tlaconete)
17. tocayotl (name, tocayo)
18. Ometeotl (principal deity)
19. Popocatepetl (volcano in Mexico)
20. tlacamecayotl (lineage)

3. X: PRONOUNCE X AS ENGLISH /sh/.
Examples:
a) ixtli (face, eye) = ish - tli
b) mixtli (cloud) = mish - tli
c) Maxtla (personal name) = mash - tla
d) amoxtli (book) = a - mosh - tli
e) Xalixco (place name) = shal - ish - co

Exercise 3: Pronounce the /x/ as an English /sh/.
1. Xolotl (personal name)
2. xilotl (tender ear of com, jilote)
3. exotl (green bean, ejote)
4. xochitl (flower)
5. xictli (navel)
6. pixca (harvest, pizcar)
7. xamitl (adobe)
8. caxitl (bowl)
9. molcaxitl (sauce bowl, molcajete)
10. Mixcoatl (personal name)
11. xicamatl (jicama)
12. axolotl (water creature, ajolote)
13. Xilonen (a deity, Xilomen)
14. xitomatl (tomato, jitomate)
15. texocotl (tejocote, a fruit)
16. xonacatl (onion)
17. Xochimilco (a place name)
18. Xochicalco (a place name)
19. Axayacatl (personal name)
20. xicmecayotl (umbilical cord)

4. H: PRONOUNCE AS AN ENGLISH /H/ (OR SPANISH /J/).
Examples:
a) tahtli (father) = tah - tli
b) pahtli (medicine) = pah - tli
c) ohtli (road) = oh - tli
d) Toltecah (Toltecs) = tol - te - cah
e) Mexihco (Mexico) = me - shih - co

Exercise 4: Pronounce as an English /H/.
1. camohtli (yam, camote)
2. xicohtli (bumble bee, jicote, chicote)
3. tilmahtli (cape, tilma)
4. tahtin (fathers)
5. ihtitl (stomach)
6. ahmo (no)
7. ihcuac (when)
8. ehecatl/ehcatl (wind)
9. amoxeh (scholar)
10. Mexihtli (personal name)
11. Mexihcatl (Mexican, Aztec)
12. Mexihcah (Mexicans, Aztecs)
13. Olmecah (Olmecs)
14. tlacah (people)
15. titicih (physicians)
16. pochtecah (merchants)
17. coconeh (children)
18. teteoh (gods). 19. chichimeh (dogs). 20. tlamatinimeh (wise people)

5. HU: PRONOUNCE AS ENGLISH /W/.
Examples:
a) Huemac (personal name) we- mac
b) huehue (old) =we- we
c) Nahuatl (Nahuatl) na- wat
d) xihuitl (turquoise) shi-wit
e) tomahuac (fat) to- ma - wac

Exercise 5: Pronounce as an English /w/.
1. huilotl (dove, huilota)
2. huaxin (gourd, guaje)
3. pilhuah (parent)
4. amoxhuah (scholar)
5. ahuacatl (avocado, aguacate)
6. huexolotl (turkey, guajolote)
7. Anahuac (the valley of Mexico)
8. cuahuitl (tree)
9. cahuitl (time)
10. chalchihuitl (jade)
11. Ahualulco (place name)
12. ilhuicatl (sky)
13. huitzilin (hummingbird)
14. Cuitlahuac (personal name)
15. yohualnepantla (midnight)
16. huehuetl (drum)
17. tepehuah (conqueror)
18. Hueyapan (place name)
19. ilhuitl (day)
20. huentli (gift)

6. LL: PRONOUNCE AS TWO SEPARATE L's.
Examples:
a) chilli (chili, chile) = chil - li
b) molli (sauce, mole) = mó - li
c) milli (field, milpa) =mil -li
d) nohpalli (cactus, nopal) = no pal-li
e) tamalli (tamale, tamal) =ta ma - li

Exercise 6: Pronounce as two separate l's.
1. calli (house)
2. tonalli (day)
3. tlaxcalli (tortilla)
4. xalli (sand)
5. ulli (rubber, hule)
6. atolli (gruel, corn beverage, atole)
7. pinolli (ground corn,pinole)
8. comalli (griddle, comal)
9. chimalli (shield)
10. pilli (child, noble)
11. tlalli (earth, land)
12. huipilli (blouse, huz
13. tlaolli (corn)
14. yohualli (night)
15. xacalli (hut, jacal)
16. mexcalli (cooked maguey, mezcal)
17. pozolli (stew, pozole)
18. xicalli ( gourd, jIcara)
19. copalli (incense, copal)
20. patolli (a type of dice game)

Exercise 7: Pronounce the /z/ as /s/.
1. iztatl (salt)
2. mazatl (deer, animal)
3. tizatl (chalk, tiza)
4. azcatl (ant)
5. Aztecatl (person from Aztlan, an Aztec)
6. Zapopan (place name)
7. Tezozomoc (personal name)
8. Chicomoztoc (place name)
9. nacaztli (ear)
10. Tizapan (place name)
11. Tiazolteotl (a deity)
12. yoliztli (life)
13. nemiliztli (life)
14. moztla (tomorrow)
15. Maz (place name)
16. teponaztli (horizontal drum)
17. zolin (quail)
18. zan (only)
19. Moteuczomah (personal name)
20. ozomahtli (monkey)

7. Z: PRONOUNCE AS AN /S/.
Examples:
a) Aztlan (place name) =as tlan; b) zacatl (grass) =sa cat;
c) Mazatlan (place name) = ma- sá- tlan; d) pozolli (stew) = po - sól - li
e) Tezozomoc (personal name) = te - so- so -moc

8. QU: PRONOUNCE AS A /K/
Examples:
a) quenin (How?)= ké - nin
b) quilitl (green)=ki- lit
c) quemitl (clothing)=ké - mit
d) aquin (Who?)=a - kin
e) zoquitl (mud)= so- kit

Exercise 8: Pronounce /qu/ as /k/.
1. izquitl (toasted corn, esquite)
2. mizquitl (mesquite)
3. quechtli (neck, collar)
4. quechquemitl (quesquemiti, a type of poncho)
5. quilmilli (vegetable patch)
6. Quetzalcoatl (a deity)
7. Quilaztli (deity)
8. quetzaltototl (quetzal bird)
9. teopixqui (a temple guardian, a priest)
10. quiahuitl (rain)
11. tozquitl (voice)
12. quemah (yes)
13. quilmaitl (leaf)
14. quiltototl (parrot, parakeet)
15. quehtolli (gums)
16. quiltic (green)
17. quiotl (stalk, stem, quiote)
18. quimichin (mouse)
19. quezqui (how many?)
20. quilmach (perhaps)

9. TZ: PRONOUNCE AS THE ZZ IN PIZZA. IF THIS PROVES TOO DIFFICULT, SIMPLY PRONOUNCE AS AN /s/.
Examples:
a) tzanatl (blackbird)= sá- nat
b) tzapotl (zapote)= sá-pot
c) tzictli (gum, chicle)= sic-tli
d) tzintli (bottom) = sin-tli
e) tzontli (400, hair)= son-tli

Exercise 9: Pronounce tz as zz in pizza or a /s/.
1. tzopilotl (vulture, zopilote)
2. tzapatl (dwarf; cf. chapo)
3. itzcuintli (dog; cf. escuincle)
4. potzalli (ant hill)
5. Tzapotlan (place name)
6. tzacualli (mound, platform, pyramid)
7. tzicatl (a large, poisonous ant)
8. tzicahuaztli (comb)
9. tzicatepetl (ant hill)
10. tzilacayohtli (a bluish-green squash, chilacayote)

10. C: PRONOUNCE AS /s/ BEFORE /e/ or /i/.
Examples:
a) ce (one) = se
b) cenca (a lot) = sen- ca
c) cipactli (crocodile) =si- pác - tli
d) oceloti (jaguar) =o- se - lot
e) ticitl (physician) =ti- sit

Exercise 10: Pronounce c as /s/ before /e/ and /i/.
1. cihtli (grandmother, hare)
2. cihuatl (woman)
3. cempoalli (twenty)
4. citlalin (star)
5. tlacelia (to accept)
6. cencalli (household, family)
7. ceyotl (fat, grease)
8. picietl (tobacco)
9. cemihcac (always)
10. cipactli (crocodile)
11. tzintetl (base of a wall)
12. tzintamalli (buttock)
13. tzitzitl (a type of turquoise)
14. tzontecomatl (head)
15. tlacuatzin (opossum, tiacuache)
16. Topiltzin (proper name)
17. tzoniztalli .(white hair)
18. tetzahuitl (omen)
19. Huitzilopochtli (a deity)
20. tzoncalli (wig)
11. cintli (ear of dried corn)
12. centli (same as cintli)
13. cincoatl (a type of snake)
14. cencoatl (same as cincoatl)
15. cilin (a small snail)
16. cemanahuac/cčmanahuatl (world)
17. neci (to appear)
18. cetl (ice) 19. acocilin (a type of small shrimp, acocil) 20. celtic (fresh, new)

LESSON SUMMARY
NOTE: Pronounce vowels as in Spanish.
1. Accent: Stress the second from last syllable.
2. -tl: Release air through sides of tongue. May be pronounced simply as /t/.
3. x: Pronounce as English /sh/.
4. h: Pronounce as English h or Spanish j.
5. ll: Pronounce as two separate l's.
6. hu: Pronounce as /w/.
7. z: Pronounce as /s/.
8. qu: Pronounce as /k/.
9. tz: Pronounce as zz of pizza or as s.
10. c: Before /e/ or /i/ pronounce as s.

CHS 486A: Nahuati I FermIn Herrera
LESSON 2: NOUNS
Part 1: Nouns ending in -tl.
A. Vocabulary
atl-water, liquid mazatl-deer, animal; cf. Mazatlán
cihuatl-woman, female tetl-stone, grain, egg
coatl-snake, pair, twin, cuate tlacatl-person, human
conetl-offspring, child, cub tocatl-spider
iztatl-salt zoquitl-mud, zoquete

B. Structure
1. Atl. Water.It is water.
Coatl. Snake. It is a snake.
Acoatl. Water snake. It is a water snake.
2. Tocatl. Spider. It is a spider.
Atl. Water. It is water.
Atocatl. Water spider. It is a water spider.
3. Mazatl. Deer. Jt is a deer.
Cihuatl. Female. It is a female.
Cihuamazatl. It is a female deer.
4. Tocatl. Spider. It is a spider.
Cihuatl. Female. It is a female.
Cihuatocatl. Female spider. It is a female spider.

C. Summary
1. Nahuatl nouns consist of a stem (root) and a suffix (singular or plural). Noun stems that end in a vowel take the singular suffix -tl.
Examples:
Stem Suffix Complete Noun
a + tl atl (water, liquid)
te + tl tetl (stone)
zoqui + tl zoquitl (mud, zoquete)
2. When two Nahuati nouns are compounded, the first drops the -tl suffix; the second keeps tl. The first noun describes the second-as in English.
Examples:
a) Toltecatl (Toltec) + cihuatl (woman) = Toltecacihuatl (a Toltec woman)
b) zoquitl (mud, zoquete) + atl (water) = zoquiatl (muddy water)
c) tocatl (spider) + conetl (baby)= tocaconetl (a baby spider)
3. Nahuatl nouns can be translated as single words or as complete sentences.
Examples:
a) atl = water or It is water.
b) cihuatl = woman or She is a woman.
c) mazatl = deer or It is a deer.

Exercise 1: Identify the stem and singular suffix in the following.
1. at1- (water, liquid)
2. mazátl (deer, animal; cf. Mazatlán)
3 coatl (twin, pair, snake, complex, anything that goes together, cuate)
4. cihuatl (woman, female)
5 tlacatl (person, human being)
6 iztatl (salt)
7. tčtl (stone, rock, anything smooth and round- e.g. an egg)
8 conetl (offspring, child, baby, cub, pup, chick, etc)
9 tocatl (spider)
I zoquitl (mud, zoquete)
Exercise 2: Compound the following nouns in the order in which they appear. Translate the results.
Example: Mexihcatl (Aztec) + cihuati (woman) > Mexihcacihuatl
She is an Aztec woman.
1. mazatl (deer) + coneti (offspring):
2. mazatl (deer) + matlati (a net):
3. mazatl (deer) + nacati (meat):
4. atl (water) + comitl (jug):
5. atl (water) + tiacatl (person):
6. atl (water) + xolotl (creature, monster)
7. coyotl (coyote) + tepetl (hill):
8. tetl (stone) + caxitl (bowl):
9. iztatl (salt) + caxitl (bowl):
10. tlacatl (human) + mecayotl (lineage):
11. teotl (god) + cuitlatl (excrement):
12. yacatl (nose) + cuitlat (excrement):
13. tetl (stone) + cuitlatl (excrement):

Part 2: Nouns ending in -tli.
A. Vocabulary
cuauhtli-eagle pahtli-medicine
huitztli-thom quechtli-collar, neck
itzcuintli-dog; cf. escuincle tahtli-father; cf. tata
miztli-mountain lion tzontli-400, hair
nantli-mother; cf. nana xictli-navel

B. Structure
1. Conetl. Child, cub. It is a child, a cub.
Miztli. Mountain lion. It is a puma.
Mizconetl. Mountain lion cub. It is a puma cub.
2. Conetl. Child, pup. It is a child, a pup.
Itzcuintli. Dog. It is a dog.
Itzcuinconetl. Puppy. It is a puppy.
3. Tomatl. Tomato. It is a tomato.
Xictli. Navel. It is a navel.
Xictomatl. Navel; tomato. It is a navel tomato.
4. Tecomatl. Jar, jug. It is a jar, a jug.
Tzontli. Hair. It is hair.
Tzontecomatl. Hair jar, jug. It is a hair jug; i.e. a head.

C. Summary
1. Noun stems that end in a consonant (except l) take the singular suffix -tli
Example: Stem + Suffix > Complete Noun
nan + tli > nantli (mother)
tah + tli > tahtli (father)
miz + tli > miztli (cougar, puma)
2. Remember: When two nouns are compounded, the first drops the singular suffix (-tl,
-tli); the second keeps it. The first noun describes the second.
Examples:
a) cuauhtli (eagle) + conetl (chick) > cuauhconetl (eagle chick)
b) cochiztli (sleep) + xihuitl (herb) > cochizxihuitl (sleep herb)
c) cintli (corn) + teotl (god, goddess) > Cinteotl (goddess of corn)
Exercise 3: Identify the stem and singular suffix in the following.
1. mixtli (cloud, cf Cancion Mixteca)
2. cintli (corn, ear of dried corn)
3. ixtli (face, eye)
4 xicojitli (bee, bumble bee, cf jzcote,jicotera, chicote)
5. itztli (obsidian, knife, arrowhead)
6. tenth (edge, lip, lid)
7. xictli (navel)
8. ohtli (road)
9. huitztli (thorn)
10. quechtli (collar, neck)

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Updated 2004