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Xilitla municipality

Christians at TlapexmecayoAfter having driven several more miles through the mountains of the Huasteca that Sunday afternoon, we came to our next stop: the meeting-place of the congregation in the small Aztec town of Tlapexmecayo. We were quite grateful to the Christians there for waiting on us, since we were running behind. They were most gracious for waiting to have their worship service when we arrived, even though we had previously worshiped with the El Ca帽贸n congregation.

When we arrived, we were heartily greeted by the preacher there, and we were soon led to the meetingplace. Even though this group of Christians did not have a building, they were content to meet under a pavilion, under which there was only enough room for about half of them. The rest stood or sat on benches, and the preacher led the service from under the pavilion.

One thing I noticed was that the preacher did nearly the whole service, except for one of the prayers which he asked brother Jos茅 to lead (which he did entirely in Nahuatl, I may add!). Apparently the men present didn’t know how to lead various parts of worship, or weren’t confortable with it. Of course for all I know they were relatively new Christians!

Although I don’t remember the sermon topic, it was sound and biblical, as well as bilingual. It was actually a bit difficult for me to follow the preacher, since he kept switching between Nahuatl and Spanish. I noticed that he used a good number of Spanish words in his Nahuatl (mostly religious words), and upon asking him afterwards I learned that these are actually loanwords from Spanish, understood by all the Nahuatl speakers. Read More

Do you speak Mexican?

Brothers in ChristSometimes when my Grandpa talks about the Spanish-speaking people in Texas, he says they “talk Mexican.” While this is “incorrect” usage (they speak the same language in Spain, you know), if you go to Mexico you’ll find that they do use the term mexicano to refer to a language–Nahuatl, to be precise.

Nahuatl is the most widely-spoken indigenous tongue in Mexico, and is the native language of the Aztec people who once had a wide-stretching empire and a glorious capital city (Tenochtitl谩n) where Mexico City now stands. When reading histories of the conquest of Mexico by the Spanish conquistadores, you often get the impression that after the Aztecs were conquered, they just disappeared. However, this is far from the truth. This people is still alive and well, and although they have abandoned many of their traditions, their language still lives on and is in no danger of extinction.

Although Nahuatl is often treated as a single language, it has many variations and dialects in different regions, not to mention Classical Nahuatl which was spoken in ancient times. There are quite a few resources for Nahuatl to be found on the internet (although most are in Spanish), but nevertheless I have found nothing for the particular dialect that I encountered, Western Huasteca Nahuatl. Thus, I hope that the following words and phrases will be useful to anyone who may be going to the Huasteca and wants to be at least a bit knowledgeable of the native dialect. Read More