jueves, 14 de octubre de 2010

Ch'ol Blog 2010, No. 8

We have been asked for the meaning of "Tumbala". Well, as many modern place names here in the region, there are different views and opinions about their meaning and interpretation. Tumbala, if you ask modern ch'oleros, comes from tyun ("round stone", the modern version of Ch'olan tuun) and bala (Spanish for bullet), so together it mean to locals "the stone bullet" used for shotguns. This is quite similar to another Maya-Spanish interpretation, namely the name of the town of San Juan Chamula. Here the interpretation of the name is ch'am (to take) and mula (the mule).
I personally don't feel that these are correct translations, but more modern interpretations. As for Tumbala, I can accept the first part of tyun. The rest need further investigation. I will get back to it in future posts about local place names!

sábado, 9 de octubre de 2010

Ch'ol Blog 2010, No. 7

Let us start from the basics:
K'iñ .... day
Uh .... month (moon)
Ha'b' .... Year

So now let us orientate around ourselves in time:
wöleyi ... today
ihk'öl ... tomorrow
cha'b'i ... in two days
huxb'i ... in three days
ak'b'ix ... yesterday / ak'b'i ta majlil k'yum ... Yesterday the boss left
ch'öbijix ... two days ago
i yuxpe'le k'iñ ... three days ago
yomty'o' huxpe' k'iñ ... three days are missing (untill...)
huxpe' ty'o' k'iñ yom ... three days are missing (untill...)

About rapidness

humuk hach tyalol ... I come rapidly (now I come)
ora hach tyalol ... he comes rapidly
pityañoñ tz'itya' humuk ... wait for me one moment

viernes, 8 de octubre de 2010

Ch'ol Blog 2010, No. 6

This might sound very mathematical, but it is more about parts or pieces of a bigger object.
The first fraction is "half": ohlil (lit. his/her/its heart)
ohlil lak papaya..... half papaya
aohlil.......your waist (lit. your half)
So there are two interesting things here: you would expect to read i yohlil
for his/her/its heart. But this would rather mean in his center. Actually the root
is the same ohl for heart, but to hold the two meanings apart, it seems to me, they don't use a possessive for the ohlil when if it "half".
Just an example: Añix hunpe' motzo' ty yohlil papaya...There's a worm in the middle of the papaya!
Next fraction: Less than half. I'm sorry to disappoint the reader, if he was expecting 1/4 or 3/7, there is no such thing in Ch'ol, but we have this:
chömb'eñon lak papaya pero ya' tz'ityya' mach ohlil....
Sell me papaya, give me a bit of it, but not half.
This means always less than half. So if you want to be more specific how much you want you will need to say it like this:
...pero ya' hunke lak papaya .....  but give me a slice (and indicate with the space between index and thumbhow how much you want - the ke glyph!!) This are "ringlike" slices.
...pero che' sisili lak papaya ..... but give me a slice (slices in shape of a canoe)

More general:
Ahk'eñon tz'ityya' mach k'omik pejtyelel.... Give me a part, I don't want all.

And finally, if the economical situation doesn't allow more:
Ahk'eñon hunxe'pel .... un pedacito!

Ch'ol Blog 2010, No. 5

How to say "only"
For us it seems easy to say "only three, please!", but in Ch'ol it is a bit more difficult. The same problem arises with the simple word "yes", but this will be discussed in another post.
So if you want to say "only three chickens" you need to add -hax to the classifier:
Huxkahtyhax muty.
Ho'pe'hax k'in...... Only five days.

Anyway, most Ch'oles (for reasons that escape European understanding) avoid words like "only" and other descriptions of scarcity that we have. They more simply describe the amount that is there. Is instead of saying "I will stay there for only three days" they say "Three days I'll be there". It is so "unnatural" to say only to them, that most Ch'oles don't even know the translation for the Spanish word "solo" ("only" not "alone")! 

Ch'ol Blog 2010, No. 4

How to combine numbers and words:
As all Maya languages, Ch'ol uses classifiers that combine with numbers before the object that is counted. This has to be seen as part of the "nature" of numbers. They simply can't stay alone... As you may have noticed in the Number List the basic classicifer is -pe', like the -pel of Yucateco.
The basic classifiers are:
-pe'       (this one is good for everything, it can substitute even the other classifiers)
-tykil    (for humans only, we can find this one already in the Classic Period)
-kohty  (for animals only)
-ty'ek    (for trees and lumber)
-ke       (for slices cut from something. Remember the ke syllable!)
-kuch    (loads of all sorts)

Now how to use them:
hunpe' k'in .......  one day
cha'pe tzima' lak ixim ......2 "jicaras" of corn (note lak ixim our (affective!) corn)
huxkohty chitiam...... 3 pigs
chönty'ek tye'...... 4 trees

As we saw in the Number List the number 20 doesn't use classifiers.
hunk'al i wuhty lak ixim .... 20 corn grains (lit. faces)
hunk'al i b'ök lak ixim ..... 20 corn grains (lit. bones)

lunes, 4 de octubre de 2010

Ch'ol Blog 2010, No. 3

BTW, this Blog should give people interested in Ch'ol language the possibility to make inquiries about the vocabulary, grammar or expressions. Being in Palenque, Chiapas it's a question of minutes to have the answer to the questions! So feel free to ask a question!