Published: Sat, April 22, 2017
World | By Lorena Waters

Zompist bboard & bull; View topic - Saying & quot; how are you? & Quot; In Classical Nahuatl

This article is written in English and Spanish

By Pedro de Arenas (first printed some time before 1611). The first section is "words of salutation", and I think I might as well quote / translate the whole thing.

God be in this house.
Ma toTecuiyo Dios nican amochantzinco moyetztie.

God is with all. Ma toTecuiyo Dios amotlan moyetztie.

"God be with you." Ma God motlan moyetztie.
"God be with you."

In ora buena esteis.

Ihuian pacca xie.
"Be peaceful." (ihuian and pacca are synonyms meaning "peacefully / gently / slowly"; cf moyolicahtzin below)
Quen tinemi?
"How are you?"

A lot has not been seen.
Ye heucauhtica in ahmo nimitzitta.
"Long time no see."

You have health. Ticpactica.
"You're happy."

Ic nipahpaqui on.
"That makes me happy."


I wonder why. Ic ninotequipachohua on.
"That worries me."

And you, and so, and c. Auh in tehuatl & c.
"And as for you (whoever), etc."

How are you? Quen tica? "How are you?" (Apparently synonymous with Quen tinemi ?)

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I am very happy to see you. Cenca ic nipaqui inic onmitzittac. Tichicahuac.
"You are strong."

With health. > Tipactinemi.
"You are happy."

Stay with God. Ma God motlan mocahua.
"May God remain with you."

God keep you from all evil. Ma God mitzmopieli inipan ixquich ahmo qualli.
"May God protect you from all bad things."

In a modern Huasteca Nahuatl they use piyali which I assume is derived from this.)

God gives you what is good for your service.

Some other greetings are mentioned in Carochi's grammar (1645)

(Ma) moyolicahtzin. (pl: (Ma) amoyolicahtzin)
(Lit. "may you ... peacefully / slowly / Gently ")
This, Carochi says, can be used to greet someone who is coming or going or staying. So I guess it's like "aloha."

Ma nican timohuicatz.
"Welcome." (Literally just the polite form of "come here")

Carochi also confirms that "quen tica" was actually used to mean "how are you". (He gives the polite version quen timoyetztica .) There might be other greetings scattered in Carochi, it's not easily searchable.

Apparently both quen optimixtonaltih and quen optimotlathuiltih can be used to mean "good morning". The second one literally means "how have you dawned?", Which is odd because "dawn" is an impersonal verb. I do not think ixtona is attested outside of this phrase but it probably means the same thing. I can not cite primary sources for these - it's probably in Carochi too but I can not find it.

I agree that "cualli (time of day)" sounds wrong. "Axtlen" might be real but it sounds modern rather than classical.

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