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A Non-Athletic Alternative to Bowling

Table of Contents

Aztec dingbat of ocelot with a spear in his gut

Our next session will strike on:
Monday, January 31st, 2000, 6:30 pm (or thereabouts)
in Lit Bldg 3217 (Warren Provost's Office)

You can catch up with us by doing lessons 1-8 of the on-line Inadequate Nahuatl Lessons, which we worked over in paper format in earlier sessions. (Or you can just come and hope a lot. That works about the same way, actually.)
Come one! Come all! Bring Ignorance!

For yet more information, contact:

D.K. Jordan

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What the Dingdong is Recreational Nahuatl?!

Are you tempted to take up bowling but worried about the embarrassment of missing the basket, landing in a sand trap, or running to the wrong base? Then you should consider joining an informal, fortnightly, Recreational Nahuatl Study Group, the non-athletic bowling alternative.

Classical Nahuatl was once the dominant language of central Mexico. Committed to Roman letters shortly after the Spanish arrival, Classical Nahuatl boasts a wealth of texts of late Aztec and early Colonial life in Mexico, from deeds and wills to poems and letters, from the Tale of Quetzalcoatl to the account of the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

In general at most sessions we swot our way through a bit of Nahuatl text, translation in hand, trying to see how the Nahuatl can possibly mean what the translators interpret it as meaning, and in theory gradually picking up a sense of how Nahuatl works in its own terms. Over the course of time we use a wide range of texts differing in difficulty, subject matter, and style. (At least will do so if we live long enough --Nahuatl doesn't lend itself to rushing things.)

Despite several years of my fooling with it, none of us actually knows much (read: any) Nahuatl (which is fascinating but remarkably counterintuitive), so we are essentially rudderless and all bowling on the same forty yard line. But the spirit of Quetzalcóatl will watch over us. (Or Nazahualcóyotl. Or Aunt Minnie. Or somebody.)

If you know of anybody else interested in Classical Nahuatl (and/or bad at bowling), by all means spread the word.

Newcomers are always welcome.
(Confused, sometimes, but welcome.)

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The nifty graphic at the beginning of this page (repeated here) shows an ocelot that has been spoken to in Nahuatl. The language is represented by the artist as an àtlatl dart straight into the heart of the animal. Aztec dingbat of ocelot with a spear in his gut

According to some scholars, Nahuatl often proved fatal to New World game animals, as it did also to the Aztecs' (many) enemies. As one famous Tarascan warrior put it: "Blyaaaaaaaaaahhhh! I am undone!"

Already in 1571, Fr. Bernardino Sebastiano de Gallo y Toro estimated that Aztec success in war had owed far less to the àtlatl than it did to preterite agentive deverbative noun forms, although some believe that it was past quotidian verbs that were eventually to prove most debilitating to the unwary.

If you learn Nahuatl, you will of course dazzle your friends, but you will also be able to disconcert your enemies and strike down ocelots with a single applicative.

(The picture itself is from an old Nahuatl codex called "War & Hunting Secrets Never to Tell the Goymê.")

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