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REPLY: Question/Request regarding Nahua mathematics

From: "Campbell, R. Joe" <>
Subject: Re: H-Nahuatl : Question/Request regarding Nahua mathematics
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2019 22:08:56 +0000

   When I looked at Chuck Lindsey's word, my first reaction was that

it was probably a misprint.  That was because reduplications don't

repeat anything after the vowel portion of the syllable.  It turns

out that that generalization stands up -- in spite of the occurrence

of "...tzintzin...".  Andrews points out (p. 296 [at least]) that

"piltzin" is lexicalized and embedded in "-tzin", so "-tzintzin"

REPLY: Question/Request regarding Nahua mathematics

Nepohualtzitzin appears in Remi Simeon's Nahuatl dictionary with the description you cite, his source being the 18th-century work of Francisco Javier Clavigero.

It is built on the transitive verb stem pohua "to count something." The necessarily bound form -pohualli refers to a unit of twenty, the basis of the vigesimal counting system. Cempohualli means 'one count of twenty" and ompohualli refers to two counts of twenty, i.e. "forty." Etc. Tlapohualli refers to something countable, and its negation indicates an infinite number.