General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 20 Apr 2021/4 Wind
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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.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 

meaning in English: avocado
meaning in English: Ahuitzotl... who ruled from 1486 to 1502
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Here's what others have said:

Mexicolore replies: 1) Ach-KOWH-tlee (try and aspirate the ‘h’ a little)
2) A-wee-LEE-stlee
Mexicolore replies: It’s pronounced ‘SHOcheet’. The ‘tl’ at the end is barely pronounced anyway, so it’s not really making much difference if you actively leave it off.
Mexicolore replies: Here are the individual ‘bits’:-
’tol’-’leet’-’tseen’-’TLEE’-’co’. So something like ‘tolleetseenTLEEco’. Hope that helps!
Mexicolore replies: Exactly the same, only the ‘x’ is pronounced ‘sh’.
Mexicolore replies: Tlazolteotl is, roughly, ‘Tla-sol-TAY-ot’. The first ‘a’ is pronounced more like ‘cup’ rather than ‘cap’.
Micatecacihuatl is, roughly, ‘Mee-ca-te-ca-SEE-wat’. Again, the ‘a’s should be pronounced like a short ‘u’ as in the English ‘cup’ rather than ‘cap’. The ‘te’ is short too, as in English ‘’bet’.
The final ‘l’ is barely pronounced.
Mexicolore replies: Putting it very simply, take the pronunciation of the English ‘car nut’ and copy it to say the word Nahuatl - as in ‘Nar’ - ‘wat’. So if you say NARWUT just as you’d say ‘car nut’, you’re pretty well ‘there’. The final ‘l’ is barely pronounced, so best to leave it out altogether. Hope that’s not too crude a guide!
Mexicolore replies: Something like ‘Kwetlashocheet’. The final ‘l’ is soft and barely pronounced.
Mexicolore replies: ‘Tlazotla’ is pretty well as it looks, ie ‘tlasotla’.
’I love you’ in Nahuatl is Nimitztlazotla. ‘Ni’ is I, ‘mitz’ is you, and obviously ‘tlazotla’ is love.
Mexicolore replies: Try ‘tlapEEshky’.
Mexicolore replies: Almost! Just remember that the ‘x’ at the end is like ‘sh’ in English, so the word would be pronounced ‘namacuish’, with emphasis on the second ‘a’.
Mexicolore replies: No. The Aztecs spoke Nahuatl and the Maya spoke one of a number of regional languages, the two most important being Yucatec and K’iche. There was a ‘buffer zone’ in between, where Chontal is spoken: it was common for Chontal speakers to be familiar with Nahuatl as well as Yucatec Maya, so they could act as intermediaries - the most famous example being Malintzin (who interpreted for Cortés).
Mexicolore replies: No, because you pronounce it exactly as it reads/looks! (Tla-loc, with the emphasis on the Tla)
Mexicolore replies: Pretty well as it reads, with the ‘z’ pronounced as ‘s’. Where did you come across this word? We can’t find any Nahuatl word beginning with ‘azco...’ in our dictionaries...
Mexicolore replies: Try ‘ya’ followed by ‘ot’, with the emphasis on the first syllable. The ‘l’ at the end is barely pronounced.
Mexicolore replies: It means spring or (water) fountain. UM-E(as in ‘end’)-YUL-LEE.
Mexicolore replies: Great ideas. Thanks!
Mexicolore replies: ‘EEweetl’, with the ‘tl’ pronounced as in English ‘atlas’.
Mexicolore replies: Most people spell it HUITZILOPOCHTLI.
Mexicolore replies: Try ‘AsCOtatl’, with the emphasis on the O and the tl pronounced as in English ‘atlas’.
We’ve never come across a word for hammock, but let’s see what others have found...
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:-
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.......