Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The Bad Linguist's Guide to Pronouncing Cat Names
Ahuacatlan: glyph for Place of Many Avocados (ahuacatli)
You aren't the first to puzzle over the tongue-twisting Mesoamerican names we've given the cats. Yes, I did have a linguistics course years ago as an undergraduate, but I didn't get far enough into the class to have to learn proper phonetic spelling. I dropped the class because I needed more time to spend on the Old Norse Literature class I was taking. So, I'll give you my version of how to pronounce the cats' formal names. And maybe a few extra words just because they are so much fun to say--or try to say. The language has a great deal of sounds that make one think the speaker is about to expectorate, but just do the best you can. For more information, go to http://www.mexicolore.co.uk/index.php?one=azt&two=apr. Then click on "Ancient language, modern soundwaves" to hear the words pronounced. Here are the words that were in the "Avocado madness" post.
Chicxulub (Crater): Chick shoo lube
Quetzalcoatl (Stormy): Ket zal qwat ul
Huitzilopochtli (PetCat): Wheet si lo poked lee or Tlaxcalli: Slosh col-lee
K'uk'ulcan (Pester): Kook cool khan
Tenochtitlan (Pushkin): Te noke sheet lahn or TzinTzunTzan: zeen zoon zhan
Tz'ibilchaltun: Ze bill chal toon
tuchtli (rabbit): tooch tlee
Tuchtlan: tooch tlahn glyph for Place of Many Rabbits
We need to give Twinkie and Pascal (Jungle Pants/Pants Man) formal names also. We are thinking of Coatlicue (co aht lee qway; Earth goddess) for Twinkie and Tlahuizcalpantechutli (tla wheetz cal pahn teh coot lee; Lord of the Dawn, god of the morning star Venus) for Pants, since "pants" is in the new name.
I certainly hope this guide is of some help to you.
photos from www.photobucket.com; glyphs images from Mexicolore.com
I enjoy art and like to look for it in the natural world. My craft interests include handspinning and most of the fiber arts, especially knitting, weaving, and working with paper. Other important things are my family and friends, my pets, nature, literature, poetry, music, history, birding, star gazing, museums...and the list goes on. In other times and places, I've been an archaeologist, taught anthropology, and worked in a living history museum, so I find all sorts of things to hold my interest and keep me entertained. I hope to share some of these things with you.