The nahuatl , which probably derives from nahuatlahtolli , meaning “word clear, harmonious, which returns a good sound” is a Langue spoken with the Mexico and the El Salvador by the Nahua S (ethnicity of which the Aztèque S and the Pipils formed part). The nahuatl remains the indigenous language most spoken in Mexico. It counts more than 1,6 million speakers, mainly in some southernmost States: Puebla, Veracruz, Hidalgo and Guerrero. The large majority of the people knowing the nahuatl - except for the elderly - have also a good knowledge of the Spanish , which had a strong influence on the contemporary nahuatl. The nahuatl is composed today of several dialects whose some do not allow mutual comprehension.
The nahuatl belongs to the southernmost branch of the Uto-Aztecan family. It is about a agglutinant Langue. It is also one of the very rare languages of the world not to clearly distinguish the verbs from the names; any word, indeed, can play the part of the predicate: one says this language which it is omni-predicative .
The French borrowed some words from the nahuatl like “lawyer/ahuacatl” (the plant), “Chocolat /xocolatl”, “Coyote /coyotl”, “Ocelot /ocelotl”, “Peyotl”, “Teocalli”, “Cacahuète /cacahuetl”, “Copal”, “Cacao /cacahuatl”, “Tomate /tomatl” or “Haricot” (by crossing with the verb harigoter ).
WritingThe writing Nahuatl used Pictogramme S and some Idéogramme S. This system made it possible to keep hard copies of the genealogies, astronomical data, etc, but did not allow to represent the whole of the oral vocabulary. The written form was thus developed less than the Maya writing.
The Spanish introduced the Latin Alphabet: the nahuatl is thus romanized according to uses specific to Spanish, but some exceptions exist:
La notation follows the uses of the API.
- X is pronounced like the digraph CH in French, that is to say; to note that this letter decided at the Spanish origin thus, before becoming jota (being worth). It is what explains why the name of Mexico City, origin nahuatl, is written, in Spain, Mejico ;
- the digraph Tl is a single consonant. It is about the deaf side affricate consonant. This type of sound is only in very few European languages but is very widespread in the languages of North America, Central America and the the Caucasus; one finds in Welsh a close consonant, which is not fricative affricate consonant but, noted by the digraph L and being worth;
- the digraph Cu is occlusive labiovelarized; one writes this sound CPU at the end of the word;
- hu decides; one writes uh at the end of the word;
- a H after a vowel, is called “saltillo”. Out in the Digraph hu , it notes, according to the dialects and the vocalic context, either occlusive a glottale (the Glottal stop) or fricative a glottale or still the fricative palatal or still a simple lengthening of the preceding vowel.
- Z decides, its that one writes C in front of E and I ;
- L does not note /l/ palatal Spanish, but a /l/ length;
PhonologyThe phonological system of the nahuatl account four vowels: /a/, /e/, /i/ and /o/, which can be long or short. A detailed transcription indicates it by means of the Macron: ā , ē , etc
The accent falls on the penult, except with the male Vocatif.
French loansOne finds a certain number of words of origin nahuatl in French, in particular bean, ocelot, lawyer, peanut, cocoa, chocolate, coyote, tomato, axolotl. The Spanish was often used as intermediary.
- Dictionaries French-nahuatl/nahuatl-French and traditional nahuatl-Spanish
- Dictionary of nahuatl
Simple: Nahuatl language
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