Jacques Melot jacques.melot at ISHOLF.IS
Sat Jan 10 18:19:56 CST 2004

  Le 05-01-2004, à 15:06 -0600, nous recevions de Heike Vibrans :

>Kevin, words adopted from other languages tend to get corrupted.

    Le mot « corrupted » est un peu trop négatif pour un phénomène normal.

>They adapt to habits of pronunciation etc., in the accepting language.
>That is not only the case with words adopted into Spanish from
>indigenous languages, but is a rule all over the world. Just an
>example: the German word "Kindergarten", meaning garden of or for
>children, was transformed to the hybrid "kindergarden" in the US and
>arrived in Mexiko as just "kinder", i.e. children. I sometimes
>derive quite a lot of amusement from the use of German, Spanish or
>French words in english-language novels. Same for the corruption of
>English words in local newspapers or German advertisement. I think
>we shouldn't be too hard on each other with this.

    Il y a cependant là deux choses : des altérations par paresse
(fautes d'orthographe) et des altérations pour des raisons de
prononciation (normes locales ou plus larges).

>Its human.

    La paresse linguistique est humaine,
    L'exactitude linguistique est inhumaine,
    La sagesse linguistique est surhumaine...

    Jacques Melot

>And, as you noted, chilpotle is local in Veracruz, elsewhere in
>Mexico it is also called chipotle, and thats the word that went to
>the US.
>The "Diccionario breve de mejicanismos" (a very nice online site at
>has the following to say (translation is mine):
>chipotle or chipocle or chilpotle or chilpocle. From náhuatl
>chilpoctli [implied idea: 'smoked chili' (from chilli 'chili' +
>poctli 'smoke'), because the chili was smoked to dry it].) m.
>Variety of chili with fruits that are smaller than the chile mulato,
>of brick color and used dried in the kitchen.
>The thread on teosinte/teocintle causes me to wonder why the first
>"l" in chilpotle has been increasingly excised the farther one gets
>from rural Veracruz. For those who don't know this wonderful smoked
>ripe jalapeno (available dried or canned), I recommend that you
>avail yourselves of a culinary delight (in the U.S. I've only seen
>it as 'chipotle'). This and other words make me wonder how fast it's
>acceptable to cause change in words just because we choose to use
>them in English. Some, like this one, seem to be changed with a rude
>abruptness. Meme taxonomists?
>>Kevin Winker
>>University of Alaska Museum
>>907 Yukon Drive
>>Fairbanks, Alaska 99775
>>ffksw at
>Dra. Heike Vibrans L.
>Laboratorio de Etnobotánica
>Programa de Botánica
>Colegio de Postgraduados en Ciencias Agrícolas
>km 35.5 carr. México-Texcoco
>56230 Montecillo
>Estado de México, Mexico
>Tel. +52 (595) 95 20 200 Ext. 1335 (directo), 1331
>(secretaria), 1330 (dirección)
>Fax. +52 (595) 95 20 247
>Correo electrónico: heike at (trabajo),
>heike_texcoco at
>Página web:

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