Category:Náhuatl Honorifics

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Levels of Náhuatl Honorific

  • Absent - leaving out an honorific suffix is often an expression of contempt. To fail to use the correct verb forms, the correct pronoun, the correct prefixes and suffixes is to insult the victim and potentially to shame oneself. Honorifics are never applied to oneself unless the speaker is deprecating themselves, conveying the meaning of “poor little me.”
  • Intimate - how one addresses intimates, small children, and pets.
  • Formal - how one addresses strangers and superiors.
  • Reverential -how one addresses respected persons, the dead, and God.
  • Courtly - how one addresses a person with obsequious respect, such as the Emperor, an imperial prince, a very senior noble or military officer, a high priest or priestess.

Méxica honorific suffixes

  • -tecutli: lord - used to a person of much higher status.
  • -tecuhtzintli: reverential - used to a person of very much higher status.
  • -ton: smaller or less respectable. Used to denote someone of a lower status than the speaker.
  • -tontli: diminutive or less respectable. Used to denote someone of lower status or a small level of impoliteness.
  • -tzin: reverential or respectful. Used to an adult.
  • -tzin: to a child - small.
  • -é: oh as in tziné oh sir.
  • -tzintli: very reverential or respectful or used as a reverential/diminutive suffix. Used to a person of higher status.
  • -tzintli: to a child - young.
  • -tzintzin: a diminutive mixed with tenderness and respect.

Courteous Terms used in Addressing Nobility

  • Cihuapillé - oh noble woman
  • Cihuatecuhtli - Lady.
  • Pil: prince/noble - lord or lady. Usually with an additional suffix.
  • Pillo: prince - used when addressing one's lord.
  • Piltzintzin - respected noble person.
  • Notlatocatzin - my noble ruler.
  • Nomahuiztlatocatziné - oh my honored ruler.
  • Nopiltzintziné - oh my honored nobleman.
  • Notecuhtzin: my respectable sir.
  • Notecuiyotzin - my honored lord.
  • Notlatocatzin - my noble ruler.
  • Notlacomahuiztlatocatziné - oh my dear honored ruler.
  • Tecuhtli - lord.
  • Tlacatlé - oh personage.
  • Tlatoanié - oh ruler.

Kinship Terms

Náhuatl especially requires polite forms of address between people of different age, rank, and sex. Personal names are avoided in normal conversation with euphemistic kinship terms employed instead. It is an agglutinant language, and some kinship terms vary according to who is speaking and their gender.

Kinship term Male Reference Female Reference
Father -ta
Mother -nan
Uncle -tla
Aunt or addressing the female attendant of a noble woman. -ahui
One’s husband -oquichhui
One’s wife -cihuauch
One's spouse; the absence of the honorific sometimes means trouble in the marriage. -namictzin
One’s grandfather, or an older male -col
One’s grandmother, or an older female or addressing an older female attendant of a noble woman. -ci
One’s great grandfather -achton
One’s great grandmother -pipton
One’s (grown) son -telpoch
One’s (grown) daughter -(i)chpoch
One’s grandchild -(i)xhuiuh
One’s older brother/cousin or someone of similar or higher rank. -teachcauh -ach, -oquichtiuh
One’s older sister/cousin or someone of similar or higher rank or addressing a younger female attendant of a noble woman. -hueltiuh -pi
One’s brother-in-law -tex -huepol
One’s sister-in-law -huepol -huezhui
One’s son-in-law -mon
One’s daughter-in-law -cihuamon
One’s younger sibling/cousin, or schoolmates. -teiccauh -iuc
One’s child -pil -coneuh
One’s niece/nephew -mach -pillo

Possessive Pronouns

The possessive pronouns in Nahuatl are indicated by the following prefixes.

Note: the "o" of the prefixes: "no", "mo", "to", or "amo" is lost when nouns begin with short or long vowels: "o", "e", or "a". Conversely, for nouns beginning with short "i", the short "i," is dropped, thus retaining the "o" of the possessive prefix: "no", "mo", "to", or "amo".

No- My
Mo- Your (singular)
Amo- Your (plural)
I- His/her/its
Im- Their (precedes nouns beginning with vowels or with the letters M, or P)
In- Their (precedes nouns beginning with consonants, except for the letters M and P)
To- Our
In- Their
Te- Someone’s/somebody’s

Examples:

  • Imiuc - Their younger sister.
  • Iteachcauh - His older brother.
  • Nochpoch - My maiden (a term that also denotes daughters).
  • Nocoltziné - Oh my honoured grandfather!.
  • Nohuehpoltzin - my brother-in-law.
  • Nomachtzin - my honored niece.
  • Nonan - My mother.
  • Notatzin - My noble father.
  • Tota - Our father.

Courteous Indirection

Courtesy within a family often demands a level of indirection to the point of inversion of stated relationships:

  • Cihuapillé - oh lady, son to mother.
  • Noconetzin - my child, older sister to younger sister.
  • Nopiltzintziné - oh my noble woman, son to mother.
  • Notecuiyotzin - my honored lord, a woman to her uncle.
  • Notlazohichpochtzin - my dear daughter, older sister to younger sister.
  • Piltzintzin: respected noble person, son to father or mother.
  • Xoloton - little page, mother to son; grandmother to grandson.

Pages in category "Náhuatl Honorifics"

The following 2 pages are in this category, out of 2 total.

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