Franciscan-Amerindian Dialogs: Multicultural, Multiracial, Multilingual

Franciscan-Amerindian Dialogs: Multicultural, Multiracial, Multilingual
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
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Description and Scope of the Project

In 1519, with the arrival of Hernán Cortés, Mesoamerica began to be integrated into the Spanish empire. Accompanying the conquistadores were Catholic religious orders, beginning with the Franciscans and continuing with the Dominicans, Augustinians, Mercedarians, and Jesuits. The interactions between the Mesoamerican Amerindians and the Catholic religious orders originating in Europe were momentous, transformative, and strikingly more benign than the European-Amerindian relationships in those parts of America under British or Dutch rule.

The San Francisco y las Américas/Saint Francis and the Americas (SFA) project has created Franciscan-Amerindian Dialogs (FAD) in order to identify, review, and post an extraordinary amount of relevant textual and visual information in the quest to better understand what happened in the encounter between native peoples and the Europeans, particularly focusing on the religious orders. Additionally, FAD will compare and contrast colonial Latin America with colonial polities governed by the British, the French, and the Dutch.

FAD is a major component within the SFA project. SFA treats St. Francis, the various Franciscan orders, and many other related topics world wide. It has many entries, including about 100 video clips that treat Franciscan topics in Europe. It has over 2,000 works of art in the public domain, mostly European and mostly medieval and Renaissance.

The SFA homepage is:
Spanish-language homepage: http://stfrancis.clas.asu.edu/es
English-language homepage: http://stfrancis.clas.asu.edu/

FAD is an integral yet separately categorized part of SFA. There are a large number of links between the smaller FAD and the larger SFA, most often indicated by tags, which are used extensively on the website.

FAD treats matters of language, race, ethnicity, and culture and situates them in a historical and geographic context. From a geographic perspective, FAD primarily covers North, Central, and South America, while SFA covers the world. From a historical perspective, SFA reviews the roots of the Franciscan culture, practice, and theology as far back, in some cases, as their original expression in the Old and New Testaments.

FAD primarily covers colonial Latin America, but it does treat to a limited degree information before the colonial period and after the War of Independence, which in Latin America begins in 1810.

Language

Languages are at the heart of FAD. Latin, other European, and Amerindian languages and social registers are prominent components of SFA and of FAD. Among the topics of language use that we review in considerable detail are the following:

For a valuable understanding of the Franciscan reality, we treat some key components of thought, culture, and expression as they appeared in classical Latin and were developed in Medieval Latin or Ecclesiastical Latin (also called Liturgical Latin or Church Latin). The project recognizes Medieval Latin as the form of Latin used in the Middle Ages, primarily as a medium of scholarly exchange and as the liturgical language of the Roman Catholic Church, but also as a language of science, literature, law, and administration. Despite the clerical origin of many of its authors, Medieval Latin should not be confused with Ecclesiastical Latin. Medieval Latin is history-bound with a beginning and an end. Ecclesiastical Latin is not.

The project recognizes Ecclesiastical Latin as the language variant used in theological works, liturgical rites, and dogmatic proclamations. These often vary in style—syntactically simple in the Vulgate Bible, hieratic in the Roman Canon of the Mass, philosophically and theologically technical in Aquinas's Summa Theologica, and Ciceronian in Pope John Paul II's encyclical letter Fides et Ratio. Ecclesiastical Latin is a living and developing language, the official language of the Holy See and the only surviving sociolect of spoken Latin.

Some dimensions of Franciscan reality, including the use of the diminutive and other affixes, are very important to this project. These linguistic features are traced back to their first formation in the Latin language, and they are reviewed in their subsequent development, first in the emergence and subsequently in the flowering of the various Romance languages. One of these is Italian, and St. Francis of Assisi has an important role in its development. He is customarily acknowledged as the first oral composer in the Italian language (he wrote in Latin but spoke in the Umbrian proto-dialect).

The project continues this development to include contemporary language variants not only in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, English, and other languages, but in language varieties especially important to the SFA including Chicano Spanish, Chicano English, and Chicano English-Spanish code-switching.

FAD focuses extensively on the interactions between Amerindians and Franciscans and other Europeans that are richly linguistic. FAD judges that the Franciscans realized the scientific achievement of the century in Mesoamerica in the area of applied linguistics. They were well trained in humanistic philology and believed that their Christian mission required that they learn mexicano (also known as Nahuatl) and teach it to others, expose Spanish to the Nahua, Maya, and other Mesoamerican populations, and teach the gospel and secular subjects—including, with notable success, agriculture—to the native Amerindians. All of the fundamental works that treat the mexicano language spoken by the Nahuas during the 16th century were written or compiled by the mendicant Order of Friars Minor (OFM). These works involved the creation of mexicano vocabularies, grammars, and dictionaries, some of them mexicano-Spanish or mexicano-Latin. The OFM involved itself in the teaching of native languages to Europeans, primarily friars and monks, and, conversely, the teaching to Amerindians of Catholic rite and theology in Latin, Spanish, or other European languages, as well as the practical, everyday vernacular in these European languages related to agriculture, silversmithing, and other trades.

FAD not only treats mexicano and Maya, but tarasco, chontal, and others.

Culture

FAD strives to treat all of the pertinent aspects of the Amerindian-Franciscan multiculture including places, peoples, racial and ethnic admixture, language contact and interaction, religion, texts, and foodstuffs. By way of illustration, its numerous features and components include:

  • Locations. There is extensive review of the missions in California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas; the Eastern states of Florida and Georgia; and the Caribbean, including Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico. There is considerable attention to Latin America, ranging from what is now Mexico to what is now Chile.
  • Place names. Numerous place names are covered ranging from cities like San Francisco and Santa Clara, CA; St. Louis, MO; and St. Bonaventure, NY. Mountains, rivers, and other geological sites are included such as Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain, NY; The San Francisco Peaks, AZ; the San Antonio River, TX; the Sacramento River, CA; and the Riviere Longue, later changed to the Mississippi.
  • The interchange of languages. FAD treats the exchange of new lexical items between European and Amerindian languages as well as the resulting expansion of knowledge and enrichment of the multiculture that resulted from those exchanges. Of course, the project will review the customary and well-known introduction of Mesoamerican foodstuffs and descriptors of culture, commerce, agriculture, skilled trades such as feather working, religion, and warfare into Spanish and from Spanish to other languages including English. Yes, we will include chicle and chile, chocolate, cucaracha, cocoa and the like. That’s just a start. For the sake of illustration, FAD will delve into the subtle differences between maní and cacahuate, tlapalería and ferretería, cuate versus mellizo, pavo (from Latin pavus) versus guajolote (from huexolotl, large monster). It is a commonplace that tomate (and hence the English “tomato”) comes from tomatl. FAD explores the important differences between tomatillos, jitomates and chamotes as well as the derivation of esquintle from xoloitzcuintle, a Mexican hairless dog commonly called xolo. With respect to Mesoamerican vegetables, we include the commonplace mango, papaya, and nopalitos. However, FAD goes way beyond that, reviewing jícama, huitlacoche. Huauzontle, huaraches, horchata de tufo, achiote, and epazote.

Class, Race, and Ethnicity

FAD reviews the system of castas during the Nueva España period and to a limited degree in the years beyond that. This a key area that requires clarification. The casta was a Spanish hierarchical system of race classification created by white elites to describe the mixed ancestry of the post-Conquest peoples of the Americas. This classification system was a practical result of the ever-accelerating process of mestizaje of colonial Latin America, and it had important ramifications in that the legally defined castas generally had certain privileges, responsibilities, and/or limitations. The system was increasingly expanded in an extra-legal manner in the language registers of common people, so that in addition to basic categories including peninsulares (who had a number of privileges reserved to them), criollos, and indios, there were popular ones such as torna atrás (throwback), lobo (wolf) and no te entiendo (I can’t figure you out).

A parallel system of categorization developed over time that was based on the degree of acculturation to Hispanic culture. It distinguished between gente de razón and gente sin razón.

FAD goes way beyond the commonplace explanation of the sistema de castas, which is often misleading especially when it supports the goals of the Black Legend created by the adversaries of Spain in their struggle for hegemony over specific parts of the Americas.

Part of FAD’s correction of the propaganda of the Black Legend is our treatment of the enduring ownership and control, gradually eroded over time, of the Aztec, Maya, Tlaxcalteca, and other nobility of some of their traditional ancestral lands and urban centers. Additionally, we review some of the families that attained the highest conceivable ranks of power and nobility both in Nueva España and Spain itself. Notable among them are the descendants of Moctecusoma II, Emperor of the Aztecs upon the arrival of Hernán Cortés. This family, five centuries later, is robust and numerous, and some members remain part of the Spanish nobility.

The emperor’s son, Pedro Johualicahualtzin Moctezuma, a pureblooded Aztec, married a cousin, Catalina Cuauhjochitl; their son, Diego Luis Ihuitemotzin, also a pureblooded Aztec, went to Spain and married doña Francisca de la Cueva. Their son became the first Count of Moctezuma.

Doña Isabel Moctezuma, born Tecuichpoch Ixcaxochiltzin (c. 1509–c. 1551), was a daughter and legitimate heir of the emperor and became one of the Amerindians granted an encomienda. She had a daughter out of wedlock, Leonor Cortés Moctezuma, with the conquistador Hernán Cortés. The sons of Leonor founded a line of Spanish nobility. The title of Duke of Moctezuma de Tultengo still exists. Isabel’s half-sister Marina (or Leonor) Moctezuma was also an encomendera.

Franciscans and Amerindians in History

FAD recounts the biographies of the first Franciscans in depth, including Jerónimo de Aguilar, Pedro de Gante, Martín de Valencia, Fray Toribio de Benavente “Motolinia,” Juan de Zumárraga, and many others. Their Franciscan adversaries or collaborators are profiled, such as Moctecusoma II and Cuauhtemoc, Juan Valeriano, Don Fernando Alvarado Tezozomoc, Juan Bautista de Pomar, and Fernando de Alva Cortés Ixtilxochitl. Saints and prominent personages include San Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, Junípero Serra, and Fray Bernardino de Sahagún. We cover important Amerindians or mestizos who are key to the history of Mesoamerica including Chimalpahin Cuauhtlehuanitzin; Diego Valadares; Martin Cortés, el mestizo; Garcilaso de la Vega, el Inca; and Don Diego de Torres.

Texts

FAD will identify and suggest the significance of a host of códices, anales, relaciones, lienzos, and the like such as the Códice franciscano, the Florentine Codex, the Relación de Michoacán, the Anales de Tlatelolco y México, and the Lienzo de Tlaxcala. There will be close attention to important religious texts such as the Nican Mopohua of the Huei tlamahuiçoltica.

 

Products of the Project

Bibliographic references are an integral part of FAD, and we have generated thousands of them broken down into large categories such as online codices, facsimile 

manuscripts, published codices, art, linguistics, policy and law, electronic resources, and so on. When broken down, the subcategories number over one hundred. What, then, is an individual to do with this treasure trove? Well, one could treat the project rather like an encyclopedia and investigate the topic(s) of her or his own interest. However, the project is designed to be self-perpetuating. The references will continue to expand and be revised as they reflect the input of individuals and organizations world wide.

See: http://stfrancis.clas.asu.edu/resource/bibliography-suggested-readings, which is updated regularly.

FAD has created over one hundred video clips and several documentaries of its own. It has identified and linked to thousands of works of art, especially two-dimensional and in the public domain. FAD follows the guidelines of the Wikipedia Image Use Policy, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Image_use_policy and is a supporter of and follower of the work of Creative Commons, http://creativecommons.org/.

In addition to our website, we leave for future consideration the production or publication of additional websites, ebooks, and possibly books in hard copy, audio CDs and CD-ROMS, and DVD-ROMS, as well as conferences and related resources for interaction among researchers and opportunities for them to communicate their findings and conclusions.

Project Leadership and Participants

The Hispanic Research Center (HRC) of Arizona State University (ASU) is providing leadership, and Gary Francisco Keller, its director, has ultimate responsibility for FAD’s linguistic style and discourse. It is significant to mention this because the discourse reflects the idiosyncratic idiolect of Keller.

Franciscan-Amerindian Dialogs has no planned end date and no budget or funds to run out of, but it could end at any time, really. That depends on the level of commitment of those who find FAD useful. On the other hand, our goal is for FAD to take root and be perpetuated by its participating members, both organizational and individual.

There are numerous organizations involved in FAD. But there is no binding covenant, no bylaws or membership fees. Participation is determined by interest, and FAD is open to all sorts and sectors and to communications in various languages including Catalán, English, Italian, Latin, Maya, mexicano (Nahuatl), Quechua, Spanish, and Portuguese. One way to obtain a snapshot of the members at a given moment is to review that designated section of the Saint Francis and the Americas/San Francisco y las Américas (SFA) website. While SFA is even broader than FAD, there is a well-provisioned home for the latter in the former.

                                        

Timeliness and Duration

A project with the ambitions aspired to by FAD would not have been possible even 30 years ago. The most compelling reason for this assertion is the ability to access vast amounts of textual and visual information through the consultation of online archives, most of which are relatively or extremely new and all of which are expanding prodigiously. These online archives are producing valuable information that would have taken, without exaggeration, centuries for one or a small group of researchers to physically visit and access without even considering one’s ability to obtain permission to review precious materials. Now, on a weekend one can comfortably conduct research that would have taken a year or more before the posting online of manuscripts, codices, and all sorts of visuals that are freely accessible. FAD relies on material evidence, and there are hundreds of digital archives that have relevance to FAD and that permit this project to realize research not possible until recently. As a result of the accessibility of a vast and ever-increasing amount of textual and visual information, even the customary hard-copy, university press books, despite their notable modesty with respect to images, have increased their use dramatically, though with respect to the visual element, they cannot really compare with the electronic resource. Here are a few books published since 2010 in support of this observation; to find so many revolving around a delimited field devoid of general popularity or readership is quite striking: 

                                  

Bernasocchi, Augusta López, and Manuel Galeote. Tesoro castellano del primer diccionario de América. Lemas y concordancias del Vocabulario español-náhuatl (1555) de Alonso de Molina. Madrid: Editorial Verbum, 2010.

Brittenham, Claudia. The Murals of Cacaxtla: The Power of Painting in Ancient Central Mexico. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015.

Brownstone, Arni, ed. The Lienzo of Tlapiltepec: A Painted History from the Northern Mixteca. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2015.

Burkhart, Louise M. Aztecs on Stage: Religious Theater in Colonial Mexico. Translated by Barry D. Sell and Stafford Poole. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2011.

Chimalpahin Cuauhtlehuanitzin, Domingo Francisco de San Antón Muñón. Chimalpáhin y la conquista de México: La crónica de Francisco López de Gómara comentada por el historiador Nahua. Edited by Susan Schroeder, David Tavárez, and Cristián Roa-de-la-Carrera. Prologue by José Rubén Romero Galván. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2012.

Chimalpahin Cuauhtlehuanitzin, Domingo Francisco de San Antón Muñón. Chimalpahin's conquest. A Nahua historian's rewriting of Francisco López de Gómara's “La conquista de México.” Edited and translated by Susan Schroeder. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010.

Chimalpahin Cuauhtlehuanitzin, Domingo Francisco de San Antón Muñón. Tres crónicas mexicanas: Textos recopilados por Domingo Chimalpáhin. Translated by Rafael Tena. Mexico City: Dirección General de Publicaciones del Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 2012.

Christensen, Mark Z. Nahua and Maya Catholicisms: Texts and Religion in Colonial Central Mexico and Yucatan. Stanford: Stanford Univeristy Press, 2013.

Christensen, Mark Z. Translated Christianities: Nahuatl and Maya Religious Texts. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014.

Douglas, Eduardo de J. In the Palace of Nezahualcoyotl: Painting Manuscripts, Writing the Pre-Hispanic Past in Early Colonial Period Tetzcoco, Mexico. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010.

Haag, Sabine, Alfonso de María y Campos, Lilia Rivero Weber, and Christian Feest, eds. El penacho del México antiguo. Alenstadt, Germany: ZKF Publishers, 2012.

MacLachlan, Colin M. Imperialism and the Origins of Mexican Culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015.

Mathers, Clay, Jeffrey M. Mitchem, and Charles M. Haecker, eds. Native and Spanish New Worlds. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2013.

Milbrath, Susan. Heaven and Earth in Ancient Mexico: Astronomy and Seasonal Cycles in the Codex Borgia. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013.

Miller, Mary, and Claudia Brittenham. The Spectacle of the Late Maya Court: Reflections on the Murals of Bonampak. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013.

Morrill, Penny C. The Casa del Deán: New World Imagery in a Nineteenth Century Mexican Mural Cycle. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2014.

Nesvig, Martin Austin. Forgotten Franciscans: Works from an Inquisitional Theorist, a Heretic, and an Inquisitional Deputy. Universty Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011.

Poole, Stafford. Pedro Moya de Contreras: Catholic Reform and Royal Power in New Spain, 1571-1591. 2nd ed. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2011.

Schwaller, John Frederick. The History of the Catholic Church in Latin America: From Conquest to Revolution and Beyond. New York: NYU Press, 2011.

Téllez Nieto, Heréndira. Vocabulario trilingüe en español-latín-náhuatl atribuido a Fray Bernardino de Sahagún. Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 2010.

Turley, Steven E. Franciscan Spirituality and Mission in New Spain, 1514-1599. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2014.

Returning once more to digital archives, I refer you to the Electronic Resources section of FAD’s references as well as to General Primary Sources and Facsimile Manuscripts (often online). By way of illustration, a tiny fraction of online resources that inform FAD include: Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History; Archivo de la Real Chancillería de Valladolid; Archivo General de Indias; Biblioteca Digital Mexicana; Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes; Bibliothèque nationale de France; The Brigham Young University (BYU) William Gates Special Collection; Directorio Franciscano; Early Nahuatl Library; Electronic Resources from Smithsonian Institution Libraries; FAMSI @ LACMA, Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc.; La fundación de Zacatecas y el Camino de la Plata; John Pohl’s Mesoamerica; Library of Congress; Lilly Library, A Catalogue of Pre-1840 Nahuatl Works; and the New York Public Library. 

There is another emerging contemporary phenomenon that results from the exploding worldwide access to primary sources in the humanities. The conditions under which researchers in the humanities and social sciences have traditionally operated were characterized by a marked lack of collaborators. This has always been in contrast to the sciences and especially Big Science.

Big Science, which has ever increased since World War II and the Manhattan Project and other analogous projects, has been described as often involved in basic or discovery research. It usually has huge staffs, big budgets, sometimes in the billions of dollars, and the big machines that go with them. Research is funded by governments, sometimes themselves in global partnership. Big science has big laboratories.

We think of FAD as a Big Humanities project. It draws on the expertise and interactions of hundreds of individuals and organizations. It has compiled a corpus of products that are subsequently described here. It is only a couple of years old but undoubtedly some of the intrepid researchers who need to have a book published will successfully achieve their goal by accessing some of the project’s data and networking resources.

Nevertheless, there are considerable differences between Big Science and FAD. Our project is involved in basic or discovery research, but it has a tiny budget. In fact it has no budget at all earmarked specifically for the project. We are just doing it.

How does FAD generate income? Through sales? No. FAD doesn’t sell anything, although a handful of affiliated groups, almost all academic presses, sell their books, posters, or prints on their own. We are happy to be modest in a Franciscan way when it comes to financial resources. FAD itself, focusing on the colonial Latin American period, is a component of the larger and even more meagerly funded project, San Francisco y las Américas/Saint Francis and the Americas (SFA).

FAD’s vibrant, ever expanding website is a key component. The website currently features numerous video documentaries, interviews, and clips that can be accessed and reviewed in the references. FAD follows the mission guidelines of SFA, which in the Open and Free Community section state that the SFA project:

provides a website; opportunities for students to research and write articles; opportunities for scholarly publication and blogging; and larger cooperative projects, such as DVD production. SFA is cooperative and based on voluntarism. It has no established budget, and no fees are charged to any member. Certain projects within the SFA scope are being sponsored, funded, and produced by specific member organizations from their own resources or through third parties. SFA is open-ended. SFA provides member organizations, nonmember groups, and interested individuals with the opportunity to collaborate on projects and explore and develop ideas. It provides links to other related websites, and its resources section provides links to other websites that the project has reviewed. Above all, SFA is not cast in stone. It is a work in progress, and its founding organizations, individual members, and other interested parties surely will discover new, imaginative, and valuable projects to pursue. In short, SFA is being shaped by the interests and needs of its members.

Big Science has big staffs. FAD has a few staff members primarily involved in producing raw video and editing it into video clips and documentaries, creating PowerPoints and the like, and designing web pages and the project home page. Well, staff needs to be further considered. Are graduate students working on a project staff? Or interns? As you wish. That’s a considerable part of the cohort in contrast to salaried employees.

Big Science has big machines such as cyclotrons, particle accelerators, the International Space Station, and the Human Genome Project, to name a few. FAD relies on the 

Internet. Big Science has big labs such as Bell Labs; the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR); a radio astronomy observatory, the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA); and the Palo Alto Research Center Incorporated. FAD relies on the Internet, Skype, and academic space that is available to students and professors but not earmarked for this project.

Linguistic Praxis of FAD

Multilingualism, multiculturalism, and code switching are our métier, and currently we make liberal use of the latter between English and Spanish with a good dose of mexicano. There is some Catalán, Italian, Latin, and Portuguese as well, and we look forward to more participation in more languages. While we are on the topic, we use mexicano regularly to describe the common language of the Aztecs and several other cultures of Mesoamerica. Our reasoning is that for the time span of this research and in fact for the first several centuries, mexicano was used to describe what is now usually called Nahuatl in English. The online etymological dictionary dates the English Nahuatl from 1822. Home page, Online Etymological Dictionaryhttp://www.etymonline.com with the following entry:http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Nahuatl&allowed_in_frame=0

In colonial Nueva España, the term nahua along with mexica were used to describe the people, and mexicano, their language. Mexico was synonymous with Tenochtitlan and did not become the name of the nation until after the 1810 War of Independence when it overtook Nueva España. Note the following early vocabularies and grammars:

Olmos, Fr. Andrés de. Arte para aprender lengua Mexicana, 1547.

Molina, Alonso de. Aquí comiença un vocabulario en la lengua Castellana y Mexicana, Compuesto por el muy reuerendo padre fray Alonso de Molina: Guardia[n] d[e]l couen[n]to d[e] sant Antonio d[e] Tetzcuco d[e] la orde[n] de los frayles Menores, 1555.

Molina, Alonso de. Arte de la lengua mexicana y castellana, 1571.

Covarrubias y Orozco, Sebastián de. Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española. 1611.

Carochi, Horacio. Arte de la lengua mexicana: Con la declaración de los adverbios della; edición facsimilar de la publicada por Juan Ruyz en la Ciudad de México, 1645.

Remigio Noydens, Benito. Parte primera del Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española and Parte segunda del Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española, 1674.

In Spanish texts, the vocabulary of the mexicano language is accented in accordance with Spanish rules—hence, Quetzalcóatl. We don’t use Spanish-language imposed accents when we express mexicano vocabulary, which has an entirely different set of rules. Ergo, Quetzalcoatl. Today we have Nahuatl (English), náhuatl (Spanish), and nahuatl (mexicano) in the rare case when the latter appears in this study. In the collaboratively contributed website, Origen de las palabras, home page, http://etimologias.dechile.net/ and entry page, http://etimologias.dechile.net/?na.huatl appear some pertinent and valuable comments. One is:

la palabra nahuatl así escrita en itálicas es correcta, pues está en su lenguaje original, si bien se debe escribir náhuatl cuando se escribe en “español”. Hay que indicar que las palabras en nahuatl, no llevan acento ortográfico pues todas son llanas.

Another valuable comment is:

Aunque hoy en día erróneamente muchos tienden a convertir los topónimos de origen náhuatl en palabras agudas (Teotihuacán, Tenochtitlán, Michoacán) es casi cierto que todas las palabras de ese idioma con la excepción de los vocativos, que son agudos (“cihuaé” sería “¡eh, mujer!). En cuanto al uso de los tildes, “náhuatl” es palabra castellana para designar tal lengua (como “inglés”), por lo tanto se acentúa según las normas habituales.

Gary Francisco Keller
Coordinator, Franciscan-Amerindian Dialogs
Director, Hispanic Research Center
Arizona State University
August 2015

 

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