Nahuatl: prefix tla-

< Previous | Next >


New Member
There's so many dictionaries on the language, but a lot of the vocabulary is different. I was just wondering if anyone has any sort of knowledge or expertise on this language to help me out in understanding it. Or maybe you've studied it for a long time and you've made observations. What I'm really trying to figure out is whether or not all the vocabulary is made up of prefixes.

For example: The word, "Tlazotla", means "to love".

But what I was made to understand, was that the prefix, "Tla-" means "something; an inanimate object". Furthermore, there is another prefix that I often see combined with said verb, "Te-" meaning "someone; an actual person", thus making the verb "Tetlazotla". Which, as I've said, varies from dictionary to dictionary. Some will say, "Tetlazotla", and others will say, "Tlazotla". But to my opinion, I would just say that the root word is "Zotla", where someone could either add "Te-" or "Tla-" to the beginning depending on their need-for-usage.

Anyways, I'm probably wasting my time, there's probably no one on here familiar with the language. I'm hoping though...
  • lingüia

    Mexican Spanish
    As far as I know te- and tla- cannot co-occur in the same construction because both are indefinite object pronouns. Also, tlazotla is the verb, e.g.: nimitz-tlazotla, "I love you"; tinech-tlazotla, "You love me",
    tlazotla-lo, "to be loved".

    Jesse Alcala

    New Member
    Ok Phileo, I will add to this that Nahuatl can be a bit tricky on this end. See, /tla/ is just a syllable and can appear at the beginning of a word, even if it isn't the grammatical -tla- prefix we all know and love. I've had this problem too, trying to figure out the etymology of some words is tricky.

    Like tlaxcalli for example, is a tortilla. Simple, yeah? Most students just learn that and move on, but that's not it's ONLY meaning(As you have probably also learned)
    -tla- = something(obviously)
    ixca = to fry or broil
    -lli = a typical ending that in this case along with the -tla- forms a passive derived noun
    Thus tlaxcalli = that which is fried or broiled
    It is obviously linked to tlazohtli, which means a precious thing, so it is probably just a derived verb or it's derived FROM the verb. Tlazohtla actually literally means "to value/it values"

    Love(the idea of being valued) as a noun is tlazohtlaliztli and tlazoh is an adjective(tlazoc in my dialect) which can be added behind a word to enhance or even change the meaning.

    So I usually say no-tlazoh-tepuz-mizton when I refer to my car, which is my-precious-metal-cat

    No-tlazoh-cihuatl or no-tlazoh-tzin is my-precious-woman, or simply (Gollum voice) my-precious-(honorable)

    But as I said earlier, tla as a sound sometimes just starts words. That's something you'll have to accept unfortunately. I understand it can be frustrating, but languages don't always work, even with their own system that SHOULD be easy.

    I'm looking at you English plurals.... "Oh, don't worry tiny mexican kid only speaks spanish, english plurals are just as easy. It's the same, just tack an -s at the end of a word.."
    • Louse lice
    • mouse mice
    • foot feet
    • goose geese
    • tooth teeth
    • deer deer
    • fish fish
    • means means
    • offspring offspring
    • series series
    • sheep sheep
    • species species
    Anyway, sorry for all the mini-rants. Just wanted to dump all of my knowledge on this subject that sprung up when I saw the post. I know it's hard learning Nahuatl with what little material there is, and I just thought I'd try and help. Let me know what you think! :D
    -Itzchimalli Metziuhki
    < Previous | Next >