Friday, April 13, 2007

Aztec Nahuatl

So in case anyone besides me finds this interesting, I got a little lecture on the way to Nicaragua from Alejandro on tepec and tepe. I was asking why so many of the town end in tepec in Mexico. Apparently it's left over from the Aztec language Nahuatl (which they co-opted from earlier civilizations) and according to Alejandro means house. I've seen it translated as house as well as hill, which seems to be because 'house of' can mean small town and a small town is often associated with a nearby hill. Not that it originally meant both, but the understanding of the word changed as it was used in association with those things.

In Nicaragua, we have similar names, only here they are tepe instead of tepec. For example, the orphanage is currently on the island of Omotepe, but we're moving it closer to the town of Jinotepe. I can't easily figure out what Omo or Jino means, so we'll leave that for another day :)

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