Pronouncing the Mayan X
Have you ever noticed how those around you on the plane ride south seem to murder those many Mayan words in the brochures that have and X at their beginnings ( Xcaret, Xcalak, Xel'ha, etc). How many different ways have you heard them pronounced, even at the resorts. Also to those new LG, I hope this thread will help you to understand a little better how to pronounce these perplexing names you will find all over the Yucatan.
[;)]I want to first say that I am not a linguist and would appreciate further input or information on this topic from other LG's. [;)]I would also like to acknowledge a new LG-- Lyon 19; for her input to the information in this thread and for her knowledge and understanding of the Mayan dialects, having lived for 7+ years in the state of Chiapas and time in Quintana Roo also. I was visiting with her on another Yucatan project she is interested in, and when I mentioned to her that I had wanted to write this thread for some time; she added much to my understanding of this Yucatan Paradox. This is what I have been able to gather on the subject, talking with Native speakers and other Gringos (namely my brother) who have spent much time in the Yucatan and are fluent with the Spanish language.
[8|]When the Spanish came to the Yucatan they found that they had no letter for the sound they heard often from the Maya to name towns, Cenotes and objects. I am not sure why they chose and X for these sounds, other than X sound is a little vague in Spanish proper. To prove this point, over the last while I have handed Spanish natives from other states in Mexico, a paper with a few Mayan words on - Xcaret, Xel'ha, Xcalak. Most of them, if unfamiliar with the Yucatan, will not even attempt to pronounce these words. Anyway to get to the point of this discussion. In the rest of Mexico X takes on the properties of many of our English letters, changing with various words. We could give many examples . but that is another discussion.
[8|][8|]What I have learned so far::: Mayan X
has a kind of ESH or EESH sound therefore Xcalak easily becomes EESHcalak and Xcaret - EESHcaret. But was still babbled with the words that the Mayans pronounced a little differently as Xel'ha. After talking with Lyon19 I learned that this is true when the X is followed by a consonant. But if the X is followed by a vowel then it has more of a ch or cha sound. Now Xel'ha sounds a little more like the Mayans pronounce it:: as Chaell'ha. Now try your new knowledge with these other Mayan words from around Yucatan and Quintana Roo. --Ixhil ,Xkatun, X' Uilub, Xhil, Xioldo, X,Ulub, Xcunya. Okay got a handle on them...try a few of these... Chicxulub,Tixhualactun, . [8|]When X is found within a word it has a little different sound, but hopefully the information above will help some of you as you pronounce the many names beginning with X as you travel and enjoy the Yucatan.
[;)][;)]Wishing you all a wonderful adventure.