General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 20 Oct 2017/13 Lizard
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Speaking Nahuatl

Aztec Pronunciation

These are (we hope good) approximations to the correct pronunciation of Náhuatl words. We plan to add to the list, and also provide some general notes on the Náhuatl language - still spoken by several million Mexicans today. Click on ‘Introductory Náhuatl Guide’ (above right) for a downloadable introduction to the language. Our favourite word, as many schools will know, is ‘Tiahue!’ - ‘Let’s go!’ Ian still fondly remembers chorusing ‘Tiahue intekitzintli!’ as a volunteer working in the Náhuatl-speaking village of San Isidro Buensuceso (between Puebla and Tlaxcala) in 1971 - ‘Let’s get/go to work...!’ In each case you can click the icon and hear the mp3 file.

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Tecpatl
meaning in English: flint knife
Telpohcalli
meaning in English: a community school
Temazcalli
meaning in English: a steam sauna
Tenochtitlan
meaning in English: ‘Place of the Cactus Rock’
Teocalli
meaning in English: ‘House of the gods’ (main temple)
Teponaztli
meaning in English: Horizontal slit drum
Texcoco
meaning in English: Main lake surrounding Tenochtitlan
Tezcatlipoca
meaning in English: ‘Smoking Mirror’
Tiahue
meaning in English: ‘Let’s go’
Tlachtli
meaning in English: Ancient ball game
Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli
meaning in English: ‘Lord of the Dawn’ - god of the morning star Venus
Tlaltecuhtli
meaning in English: Earth deity in male form
Tlaxcalli
meaning in English: Tortilla (maize pancake)
Tomatl
meaning in English: Tomato
Tonalpoalli
meaning in English: 260-day sacred calendar
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Here's what others have said:

Mexicolore replies: Most people spell it HUITZILOPOCHTLI.
Mexicolore replies: I don’t actually think there is or should be any accent in between the ‘te’ and the ‘tl’. In any case the pronunciation is pretty well the same in both cases, just drop the ‘o’.
Mexicolore replies: 1) Ton-a-CAY-ot(l), Ton short as in English ‘don’, CAY as in (English) ‘pie’
2) O-me-YO-can, O and YO short as in English ‘on’, me short as in English ‘tell’
3) (I suspect it’s Ometeotl): O-me-TE-ot(l), again short ‘e’ each time
4) KA-weet(l), KA short as in English ‘cup’
The final ‘l’ is hardly pronounced.
Hope this helps a little...!
Mexicolore replies: It’s actually Tecuciztecatl, pronounced roughly as follows: TEC-KOO-SIS-TEC-ATL.
Mexicolore replies: That’s an easy one! Just like it reads: T L A L O C.
Mexicolore replies: Roughly: CHAL-CHEW-TLEE-KWAY.
Mexicolore replies: You should be able to do this either by right-clicking on the sound files or using control-click (on a Mac) - pressing the control key while using the mouse to click on the file. This brings up a little options menu, including ‘Save as Source...’ on your computer.
Mexicolore replies: It’s jolly hard to answer this using text alone, but a very rough approximation would be:-
sho-chee-ya-OH-yot
There is an ‘l’ at the end, but it’s hardly pronounced. In both cases, the ‘o’ sound is short - as in ‘shot’ rather than ‘show’.
Mexicolore replies: Dr. Patrick Johansson provides this answer:-
Tohuanyolqui in oc achi tlatquitl.
Mexicolore replies: Approximately: ‘Way Te-KWEEL-weet.’ The final ‘l’ is barely pronounced. Hope this helps.
Mexicolore replies: Yes! Clearly there’s a similarity in the shape...
Mexicolore replies: Good points, Pakal, thanks for writing in.
Mexicolore replies: Thanks for spotting these gaps: now filled!
Mexicolore replies: Cheers - now sorted!
Mexicolore replies: Thanks for this. We’ve concentrated up to now on words that are more tricky to pronounce, like gods’ names! But you’ve raised a great idea: a glossary of common/important words. Uh uh, another project for us.......