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Asunto: Olmecas = mixe-zoque (algunso datos)
Fecha:Sabado, 5 de Abril, 2003  22:18:12 (+0200)
Autor:david sanchez <davius_sanctex>
En respuesta a:Mensaje 3031 (escrito por José Luis Santos)

Ops olvidé adjuntar los datos que tengo sobre la relación mixe-zoque y olmecas:

Speaking of jargon

The five senses are reflected not only in the ways that local people identify plants, but also in how they name them. Take the following examples from the Mixe people of the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, Mexico, where I carried out my doctoral research and where my colleague Sřren Wichmann studied the relationship between Mixe-Zoque languages. /GJM


kaaj taatsk. The Mixe believe that the large shiny leaves of various Clusia species (Clusiaceae) resemble cattle ears, hence the figurative name: kaaj = ‘cattle and other animals’ and taatsk = ‘ear’.

nu’upun kup. The red thick sap of Croton draco Schldl. (Euphorbiaceae) reminds people in many cultures of blood. The Mixe call it ‘blood tree’, and similar names are found in other indigenous languages.


poo’p xuu’k. Angel’s trumpets, Brugmansia x candida Pers. (Solanaceae), perfume gardens throughout the world. But the Mixe have come up with the most magical name, which translates as ‘white aroma’.

poom kup. The ‘incense tree’ of the Mixe comprises various species of Bursera and perhaps Protium (Burseraceae) that yield copal resin, which is burned for ritual and medicinal purposes. The etymology of this tree name can be traced to the proto-Mixe-Zoquean term *po:m(o), giving partial evidence that copal incense has played a role in Mesoamerican culture for thousands of years. A proto-language is an assumed or recorded ancestral language that can be reconstructed by comparing words and grammars of current-day, related languages. Reconstructed terms from these languages are always preceded by an asterisk to indicate that they are long-forgotten forms that are not currently in use.


oo’tsun aa’ts. Psitticanthus calyculatus (DC.) G.Don (Loranthaceae), a beautiful mistletoe with reddish-orange flowers, has sticky seeds that attach themselves to tree trunks. The Mixes have named it ‘sticky vine’; the term ‘to stick’ has been reconstructed in proto-Mixe-Zoque, whereas the term ‘vine’ can be traced back to proto-Mixe.

taaxt ke’ev and tajkts ke’ev. A pair of stinging species, Cnidoscolus urens (L.) Arthur (and related plants in the Euphorbiaceae) and Urtica dioica L. (and its relatives in the Urticaceae), are called ‘hail sting’ and ‘mouse sting’ by the Mixe. The proto-Mixe-Zoque term *ke:w? is proof that these plants have left a lasting impression on local people.


tsaa’n xi’tsun. Literally, ‘snake rattle’, a name used by the Mixe for Crotalaria bupleurifolia Schldl. & Cham. (Fabaceae) and related species. The Crotalaria seed pods turn brown and dry when mature, and the seeds come loose, producing a sound reminiscent of rattlesnakes.


pa’ajk tsaats. Can you guess what a ‘sweet agave’ is? For some Mixe speakers, it is the local name for pineapple (Ananas comosus L., Bromeliaceae), a fleshy sweet fruit that almost everyone knows. Of South American origin, the pineapple was introduced to Mesoamerica centuries ago, probably before the arrival of Europeans. Linguistically, the Mixe consider the pineapple a part of the native Agave generic tsaats, apparently because of the similar habit of these distantly related plants. The general tendency to expand existing plant generics to include newly introduced plants is referred to as lexical extension.

Martin, G.J. 1996. Comparative Ethnobotany of the Chinantec and Mixe of the Sierra Norte, Oaxaca, Mexico. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley. Ann Arbor, University Microfilms.

Wichmann, S. 1995. The Relationship among the Mixe-Zoquean Languages of Mexico. Salt Lake City, University of Utah Press.