1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. Nahuatl Phrases part 1 (Nahua…

Nahuatl Phrases part 1 (Nahuatl lessons)

[deactivated user]


    Hello everyone, sorry for not posting these lessons in a while, I have been really busy with school and teaching basic Cherokee to a friend. Alright, I did say that I would sometimes go off track of the Esperanto course and organize my lessons their own way. So we are skipping to phrases for now!

    Saying Hello*

    Alright so In nahuatl, there is not really a standard word for something like the english word "hello". However, there is one that is becoming very popular and that word is...

    Niltze : Hello

    So "Niltze" is kinda like hello, and I would so a majority of speakers use it in most dialects. Another common one is Pialli or Piyali in other dialects, but we will never use that in my lessons.

    Now, it is more common to just ask a series of questions. Here are some Nahuatl speakers use the most.

    Quen tica? : How are you?

    Tehuatl tipatica? : Are you happy?

    Tipatica? : Are you happy?

    You already know that saying "Tipatica" is wayyyy more common than saying "Tehuatl tipatica" from the previous lessons, because adding the personal pronoun is all that is really needed. It can be a pain to say "Tehuatl"and "Nehuatl", and all that all the time... As for "Quen tica?", I will explain in further depth later, as we have not covered some of the words in the phrase and that much grammar. Just roll with it for now.

    What are all these Ticas???? Will will get to them later, just hold it.

    Now for my favourite way to say hello, which is...

    Cualli Tonalli : Good day

    Cualli means good as you should already know, and Tonalli is "day" or "sun". Remember when I said understanding Aztec religion and mythology can help understand some words? This is where that comes in. The world Tonalli Comes from the name of the Aztec sun god Tonatiuh. Tonatiuh is the current sun earth revolves around, and requires blood to survive, hence the whole tongue sticking out as a sacraficial knife. You probably know Tonatiuh from the Aztec Calendar http://www.ancient.eu/uploads/images/1416.jpg?v=1431030739. Here his face is shown in the center, commonly mistaken for the Mayan calendar...


    Alright, enough of that, back to the language. Like "hello", there isn't really a word for goodbye. Instead, you can express this through other sentences. Such as....

    Ixquicha moztla : Until tomorrow

    I have actually only heard this used. I guess people don't really like saying good bye until it is for the rest of the day... Some Nahuatl speakers just say it in spanish :P

    When saying good night, the phrase is slightly diffirent in Nahuatl. In english we just say "good night", altough we are really wishing them a good night, yes? In nahuatl we say

    Ma ce cualli yohualli : (May you) have a good night

    Youhualli means night, as you can see. Ce litteraly means one, but can be used as "a" sometimes. we will discuss this more. Ma is kinda like have (command), but that will also be covered more later.

    Other times of the day

    As above, Quen means "how?". As mentioned before, Nahuas ask eachother how are they and hello by questions. Here are some for different times of the day... Get ready for these mouthfulls. I will put the english equivalents in parantheses.

    Quen otlathuililoc? : How was the dawn? (Good morning)

    Quen ocemilhuitihuac? : How was the day? (Good afternoon)

    Quen oteotlahquililo? : How was the dusk? (Good evening)

    And you already know goodnight..... Now I'm actually not tooo sure about the good evening one, because I never say it! But the first two I am certain.

    The esperanto teaches more for the first Phrases part, but that is all I will do for today! Oh I almost forgot, time for the bonus words!

    Bonus words!

    Tezcatl : Mirror

    Cocolia : To hate

    Tlahtoltia : To read

    Bonus mythology story: The world above "Tezcatl" takes origins in the Aztec god "Tezcatlipoca". Tezcatlipoca is probably one of the most important gods in Aztec religion, even other gods are just named blue, yellow, or red Tezcatlipoca. Tezcatlipoca is the enemey of both sides, and the living embodiment of change through conflict. He is also the great rival of Quetzalcoatl, a creator god. His name litteraly translates from classical Nahuatl to "The smoking mirror". I wil save the construction till later lessons when we are putting together words.

    Hope you enjoyed! Ixquicha Moztla!

    My lessons can all be found here on the T.O.C.


    November 11, 2015



    Quen oteotlahquililo? Nipatica. - Is patica "to be happy" (from ti-patica)? Nitelpocatl, nehuatl ahmo hueyi, pilli. - Can hueyi/pilli mean tall/short? Can nehuatl be missed out as the first perosn is implied from the verb? :P

    I had a look at a website on Classical Nahuatl a few weeks ago, it was absolutely fascinating. If there were more hours in the day I'd definitely start studying it and/or the modern language, I love how it sounds and I'd love to learn more about the culture. I've saved/bookmarked/whatever your lesson index, I'll be sure to start taking notes :D

    [deactivated user]

      Niltze, ihuan cualli Tlahtlaniliztli! Tlazohcamati, Nipatica. Auh tehuatl?

      (Hello and good question! Thanks, I'm good. And you?)

      First I wanted to comment on your sentence. Pretty good actually, that is if you where trying to say "I am a young man, I am not tall, I'm small."

      However, hueyi is usually used to describe structures and other things, not really human height. The word for tall in nahuatl is Cuauhtic . Altough, I'm sure people would still understand you using hueyi, but if you want the exact word for tall there it is...

      Pilli I think can be used for short, altough I'm sure there is another word, I just don't know it. Please keep in mind, I'm still a student of nahuatl myself! Carefull though, many people will try to tell you to use Tepitzin for short, but in reality it means "a little" as in an amount.

      We will get more usedto the whole usage of Nehuatl and ni a bit more later, and when it is more appropriate. Technically, both are right, no matter when used, but it may just sound a bit weird. Once nahuatl speakers no you are talking about yourself, they usually imply that the rest of the phrase is about you as well. You could also just start using nehuatl ni. But then you may ask yourself "can I say niahmo huey?". We will get to that later as well, but just but your sentence is somewhat fine for now. We learn how to use "and" soon as well (Ihuan and Auh), and mabe you can use that.

      Thank you for bookmarking, I hope you can learn from the little I know! I will try to include more stuff about the culture and religion every post, I love it too! This dialect is actually quite close to classical, well, compared to the other dialects.

      [deactivated user]

        As for the whole, patica thing and the ticas. We will get more to that later, I would rather Explain that all at once. Uggh, the grammar makes lessons difficult to plan in traditional duolingo style!

        But you are on the right track!

        Hope I answered all your questions!


        Thank you for making this! It was really interesting and fun to learn.

        [deactivated user]

          No problem! Thanks for reading them! I love the Aztec culture :D


          Did the Olmecs speak Nahuatl? Also who built the temple of the sun? Lastly why didn't time come to an end with the ending of the Aztec calendar? I shall wait while you confer with your crystal skulls for these and many more answers. Thanks.

          [deactivated user]


            1.) No, the Olmecs did not speak Nahuatl, they spoke Mixe-Zoque. Altough, the language probably had influence on the Nahuatl languages

            2.)Actually the pyramid of the sun was built by the Teotihuacanans, and was dubbed pyramid of the sun when the Aztecs came to the city a long time after it was built. Assuming you mean the Sun pyramid in the city teotihuacan

            3.)That whole end of the world thing was such a mess, first of all because the media named it the "mayan apacolypse", showed picutes of an aztec calendar, and constantly filmed the pyramid Chichen Itza, a MAYAN pyramid... Sigh, it was deprresing just seeing foolish people believe the media. The whole apocalypse thing actually was built around the belief the MAYAN calendar, not the aztec, since the set of years ends that year. As a student of Mayan glyphs though, I can tell you that it didn't necesarrily mean the end of the world, but the start of a new age. As it always has meant.

            I hope I answered your questions :D I'm a big mesoamerican geek


            You are very knowledgeable and thank you that was awesome info. Sadly I have already offered many sacrifices to Quetzalcoatl in fear of the end of times. The good thing is that after having had a delicious meal of corazon the rest went to the beasts, so only You and I know about all this. I'll keep quiet and offer you much cochineal dye if you also don't tell. Jajaja- seriously though thank you again and have a great Duolingo day. Oh and I'm giving you a lingot for your time.

            [deactivated user]

              Haha, no problem! I find your humour clever and funny :D

              I'm glad I could answer your questions, and thanks! Have a good day too.

              Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.