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16th C Spanish and Nahuatl
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Author:  So Haleza Grise [ Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:22 pm ]
Post subject:  16th C Spanish and Nahuatl

Reading about Classical Nahuatl, I can mostly understand why the system developed by Spaniards to transcribe it looks the way it does except in one detail: Why did they choose to write the Nahuatl phoneme which I am pretty sure is standard [s] as either <z> or <c>? What was going on with Spanish at that time that this was the most logical way of writing down the phoneme [s]? Didn't contemporary Castilian have it?

It's also interesting to me that 16th century Castilian /ʃ/ apparently → modern /x/ or /h/, but I guess a change like that makes sense to me.

Author:  Sumelic [ Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 16th C Spanish and Nahuatl

Not all [s]'s are actually the same. I don't remember the phonetic details or which types of [s] Nahuatl and Spanish have, but e.g. in present-day Basque the letters "s" and "z" are used to write two different kinds of [s]-like sounds.

Author:  Travis B. [ Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 16th C Spanish and Nahuatl

I remember that 16th-century Castilian had a distinction between apical and laminal /s/, orthographically indicated as <s> versus <c/z> (I do not remember which was which), and <c/z> was used to capture which of these is used to realize Nahuatl /s/. Only later was this distinction lost in Latin American Spanish, obscuring the reasons for why Nahuatl was written with <c/z> rather than <s> for /s/.

Author:  Vijay [ Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 16th C Spanish and Nahuatl

Sumelic wrote:
Not all [s]'s are actually the same. I don't remember the phonetic details or which types of [s] Nahuatl and Spanish have, but e.g. in present-day Basque the letters "s" and "z" are used to write two different kinds of [s]-like sounds.

Those are the same ones Spanish used to have at the time.

Author:  Astraios [ Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 16th C Spanish and Nahuatl

See Wikipedia.

Author:  So Haleza Grise [ Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 16th C Spanish and Nahuatl

six?! How many damn distinct coronal fricatives does one language need?!

Anyway, thanks.

Author:  ˈd̪ʲɛ.gɔ kɾuˑl̪ [ Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 16th C Spanish and Nahuatl

So Haleza Grise wrote:
six?! How many damn distinct coronal fricatives does one language need?!

[whisper]Six is just fine for Polish, but Russian thinks it's not enough and has seven or sometimes eight. Don't even ask the Caucasians, some people can't probably count up to these numbers.[/whisper]

Author:  mèþru [ Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 16th C Spanish and Nahuatl

One of those Caucasian languages, Ubykh, had 14. The language is extinct.

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