Conflicting Essays in scholarship which have been the most engaging research job I have ever done. I have also added, over the years, queries about our "dated" geology with their "computerized" confirmations together with climate changes denied since 1963. The Ten-O'clock News have been telling us to change our clocks for DSL and back again BUT no one as noticed it has been changed, more than a few years ago, from March 31 and October 31, to a week or so earlier or even a week or so later.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

One Subtle Impact of the Inquisition in the Nahuatl Language

     The Nahuatl language components, thanks to intensive scholarship, are being salvaged and taught again. However, one impotant aspect of all the languages in the Americas, is the deliberate plans of the Inquisition to demonize the good things in the lands here, in any way or form they could manage.,

         This is not an uncalled for problem, since ANY government, civil or otherwise, has always created derogatory components of the conquered mother tongue to create the impetus for a complete conquest. Posters from the World Wars I and II were more explicit "glyphs" but now we have better weapons and do not need words when the weapons alone do a better job.  

         One such victim of such deliberations during the Conquest of the Americas was the renown Pacal of Palenque, a "magian" with a speaking tube from below the temple floor, who according to the languaage components healed many diseases in his Maya medical center. Some words found in Nahuatl, those of which begin with the letters "PA" infer "good medicine."

      My library, as small as it is, contains several books. One, by Frances Karttunen: An Analytical Dictionary of Nahuatl; the second by  Bernardo de Sahagún, (1956). Historia General de Las Cosas de Nueva EspañaAnother excellent book was a post-conquest Nahuatl dictionary by F. A. de Molina.  Translated in 1970 by Miguel Leon-Portilla: El Vocabulario en Lengua Castellana y Mexicana y Mexicana y Castellana; it remains as an important reference book to long ago. 

      What is found in Sahagun's Historia, or in Molina's Vocabulario  appeared to be of no account, even though they are still used in the modern language. They refer to post-conquest events in both the ancient and modern versions of Nahuatl. The words may be spelled slightly different, but the original translations remain exactly the same and intact.      

      A very basic insult contains the name Pacal. But why Pacal, since he was in Palenque and not associated with the Aztecs in their known history. The word PACALTIA is related to the word PAC(A) that is translated as the causative verb "to wash, to launder something."  TIA{chcauh) refers to a person "more excellent than others", or "brave, and valiant." Even though TIA is not a whole word, it is attached to the word PACAL  which in turn, became a word for cleanliness, very necessary if a disease is to be cured.  

       Coincidence, it may be, since there does not seem to be any real linguistic connection between the verb and the suffix.

    However, that does not explain the word TePACtecALliztica that translates as the word "afrentosamente." (De Molina,  p. 101}.  At first glance, this word with PACtecAL in the middle of it, should be considered to be sheer nonsense if one is to make such a connection with the verb PACALTIA. 

         It seems like a foolish effort to pull out part of a word just to make a "provable" connection. That is all well and good, except for the Spanish words in the front of Molina's dictionary.  On page L-6   "Afrenta,"  and "afrendamente," is translated as TepaPACALiztii. While on page 118, "vituperio" is also translated as TepaPACALiztli. 

        So why is there even a difference in the spelling between Nahuatl and Spanish if the translations are the same? The conclusion I have come to, after reading Libro VII, Capitulas III and IV in Sahagún's translation of the Florentine Codex. The inference was angry prisoners who carefully crafted clues so that later generations would know how they really felt about the changes made to their native language and to the contents of the Codex. 

       First: Although the name Pacal does not appear in Sahagun's translation of the Florentine, his separate list of words contains a series of words that do, with the correct spelling of the Nahuatl words just below it, alphabetically.
chipacaltic very clear.
chipaccaltic very clear.
chipacpatic exceedingly clear, very clean.
chipacpahtic very clean.
chipactic clean, clear.
chipahuacaneci it appears clear

       It almost appears as if Sahagún was practicing a new word containing the name Pacal. But why the double "C"? It seems that Nahuatl is similar to German, insomuch as the prefix and the suffix are also important to a translation of a concept that uses the central noun.  So there is "ChiChi" with a double "C" that means "dog." and "tic" that with a single word may have the meaning "like" or "as."
          chichi          dog
citlalcuicuiltic painted like a star.
        Is it then possible to say that Pacal, the famous person in Palenque was to be considered "like [or as] a dog,"  hence vilified and reviled in all of Mexico, not just in the Maya areas?

       Secondly: Sahagún did make a special effort to tell later generations that he had other ideas about what he had to do and that he actually succeeded in the task he set for himself. In Chapter III of Book VII, he did not use the word Taurus for the constellation.  Instead he claimed that the Mastilejos Ithe title of Chaper III) were in the "signo del toro."

       Now, the word "toro" in a large Spanish dictionary has four different idiomatic phrases that contain the word "toro." And although I have no records in my files that the idioms are from the time of the Conquest, they are very indicative of what a monastic prisoner of the Conquest might want to say to his captors. The pequeño Larousse Español-Inglés/ English-Spanish Dictionary has these phrases: 
toro - figurative: 
          Echarle o soltarle al uno el toro: to give someone a piece of one's mind                             
                               or: decir los cuatro verdades: to tell the four truths,              
 al toro:                        to get to the point, 
           ser un toro corrido:   to be nobody's fool, to be an old hand, to be no easy mark. 

       Were these Sahagún's thoughts, or is this evidence of hiding information where no one could find it?  When I was leaving China by taking the Trans-Siberian Rail to Germany, I was informed by my stateroom companions, that as long as you are not hiding contraband, there was no need to worry, but if you are concealing anything, it would be the cubby holes in the stateroom that would be thoroughly searched.

      Then I remembered two maps of Texcoco, that are always printed upside-down. They have good information on them, but the orientation changes what one sees so that the valid information is ignored. 
In Nahuatl, by changing a word, including another and then make the politically correct translation so that it will be approved. 

      The rule of thumb, then is: "Hide something in plain sight of the enemy and they will never find it. Pacal was good, but he was made to be evil outside of his realm. It means that Sahagún may have done other things to the translations of the Florentine of which we are not yet aware.