[FAQ]Mayan X - How to Pronounce

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Normando
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2004/11/23 23:38:52 (permalink)
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Mayan X - How to Pronounce

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.
Normando
post edited by Normando - 2004/11/24 01:05:41
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64 Replies Related Threads

    jx2
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2004/11/23 23:46:46 (permalink)
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    Thank you Normando, as i had the more basics of the x figured out you just taught me more,. Now if i can just put this to use properly.[:)]

    Riviera Maya - You just gotta love it!!! I do
    #2
    XamachDan
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2004/11/24 01:04:34 (permalink)
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    Another Mayan X sound- My place is called Xamach- pronounced cha mach.
    #3
    Normando
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2004/11/24 01:47:40 (permalink)
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    Thanks XamachDan or ChamachDan
    This is another excellent example of the X followed by a vowel.
    Xamach- pronounced cha mach.

    But if the X is followed by a vowel then it has more of a ch or cha sound.



    Normando
    post edited by Normando - 2004/11/24 01:49:13
    #4
    Michelle
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2004/11/24 17:08:22 (permalink)
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    Thanks for the interesting "X" Lesson! I'm still trying to get the good morning, afternoon and evening remembered....I guess I can spell my name MiXhe'l ??

    PS: which witch is which?
    #5
    pepper
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2004/11/24 17:28:39 (permalink)
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    I fondly remember getting an X lesson from a busboy at the restaurant I worked at in Dallas. We were going to stay in Xcalacoco and wanted to at least be able to pronounce it. It took many tries over a few days, but I finally got it.
    Last I heard, he moved back to the Yucatan. His name is Franklin and he worked all the time - 2 jobs at most times - saving all of his money I'm sure. Because now I've heard he bought a car and is a cab driver somewhere in the Yucatan. Maybe Cancun, since his sister worked there.
    If anybody sees him, say hi from Stacy. He was one of my favorite people.
    #6
    Catalina
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2004/11/24 17:45:12 (permalink)
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    Most of them, if unfamiliar with the Yucatan, will not even attempt to pronounce these words.

    Thanks for the lesson on the Mayan X "Normando"!! The Spanish language is a beautiful language I think, but most Spanish speakers know little or nothing about the Mayan language! And you are so right in your quote above about people from other México states - if they do sort of know what you are talking about a lot of them will say, "Oh, that is Mayan!" I was actually in a little Mayan village with a Mexican from México City, who finally said, "Let's get out of here - these people are making me nervous because I understand nothing they are saying!!"

    Cata [:)]
    #7
    Steve O
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2004/11/24 18:10:14 (permalink)
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    Normando,

    I am with you on the X thing. How do you pronounce this? Xtacumbilxunaan. It's a cavern around the Uxmal area.
    #8
    Normando
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2004/11/24 22:01:34 (permalink)
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    Steve O,
    LOL, oh you have a tongue twister there. Hope some of the long time LOCO GRINGOS will give this a try, but here I go to try it Phonetically using the Mayan X rules and Spanish Grammer rules
    Xtacumbilxunaan

    Here goes:::
    EESHtahcoombelESSHoonahhhn

    I am not shore where you would put the accent (acento) marks, having never heard this particular word spoken, and there is actually no need for the double a in Spanish, so am not sure how exactly this is said in Mayan; but I think this would be understood by those living close to there. Try to say it fast faster... LOL. Thanks again Steve O for this great example.

    [8|]Another common X Mayan word is Xpujil (Xpujil) which we can now pronounce as EESHpoo'hel
    Normando
    #9
    Steve O
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2004/11/24 23:16:56 (permalink)
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    Normando,

    That is about how I would pronounce it also. I am still not sure of the correct way. I asked about 8 times. One of the longest names I have run across. Thanks for you post.
    #10
    Catalina
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    ¿¿Huexolotl?? 2004/11/25 01:03:03 (permalink)
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    The following is from an article too long to post, so I am just putting a little part of it here!!
    "Throughout Mexico at major fiestas, people serve roast turkey, but instead of using the Spanish word for turkey, 'pavo', they call it huexolotl, its Aztec name."

    Hey Normando how would you say that word?? [8|] [8|] [8|]

    Cata [8D]
    #11
    Normando
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    RE: ¿¿Huexolotl?? 2004/11/25 01:22:39 (permalink)
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    CATAlina,
    [:D] You are way to funny..
    [8|]Actaully all those Nahuatl (official language of the Aztecs) words really give me trouble.
    How about some of you other LG's out there . Any help for Phonetically Pronuniation of huexolotl - the Aztec Pavo. Oh, the Aztec mainly ate the Gould's Species (Meleagris Gallopavo Mexicana) of wild Turkey. Also the Turkey was domesticated early in all of the Americas.

    Thanks CATa,
    Normando
    #12
    Guest
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    RE: ¿¿Huexolotl?? 2004/11/28 16:17:40 (permalink)
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    So Normando, how do you pronounce this one: Yaxche?
    #13
    playaluver
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2006/01/29 12:29:14 (permalink)
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    Bumping this one up!

    We'll be going to Xaac Cove. Would you pronounce it cha ack? or sha ack? or something completely different?!?

    HELP! Don't want to sound like a gringo!! [;)]
    #14
    playaluver
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2006/01/29 12:46:21 (permalink)
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    Found yet another website that pronounces it zah-ahk???? HELP!!!
    #15
    Steve O
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2006/01/29 12:52:10 (permalink)
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    I pronounce it EESH ACK
    #16
    Sunseeker
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2006/01/29 12:52:39 (permalink)
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    Wow!! Thanks for a great thread. I hate mispronouncing words. sunseeker
    #17
    Lusian1
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2006/01/29 13:07:32 (permalink)
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    Since I'm bringing my son along to the Riviera Maya, and he is a 4th yr. spanish student, I want him to read this post! I think I'll print it so he can bring it to his spanish instructor. Maybe he'll get extra credit.
    #18
    brisco330
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2006/01/29 13:34:03 (permalink)
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    Our good friend, el Kento, just recently learned, on his fourth trip to Mexico, that 'amigo' means 'friend'. I don't think that he is ready for the 'X' lesson just yet!!!!

    Stay on the short stuff


    #19
    Normando
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2006/01/29 17:22:35 (permalink)
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    Steve O,
    Thanks as always for your expertise. I received an email from an old LG friend that the Mayan X thread had been shown some renewed interest. That is exactly how I would pronounce it also - Xaac = EEsh ack It is nice to see some LG's continuing to want to learn some things about the country they are visiting.
    [:)]I can't wait to visit with many Mayan families in the sparsely populated area south of Valladolid when I return to Mexico to take part in the now becoming annual Easter Egg Hunt for children of the locals on the beach at Rio Indio (North of Majahual - now being called Coasta Maya by the cruise ship crowd. I love to hear the Mayan dialect as I enjoy the Mayan people. It is like music to my ears and I usually try to encourage someone from the homes I am visiting to walk around their compound and tell me everything we see in Spanish and then Mayan. I am always amazed for one thing at the many varieties of fruit that they grow that I have never even seen or heard of before. And many times I leave with several varieties of new fruit or always Papaya or my favorite Mangos like we can only dream of in America.
    [8|] Oh, by the way, do LG's know that Mangos are the most eaten fruit in the world and originally came from Malaysia? Hope you will all try some of the many varieties on your next trip to Mexico.
    [:)][:D][:)]I say hi to my LG's friends
    Normando
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    Beachey
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2006/01/29 17:47:05 (permalink)
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    So, would this be considered and X-Rated thread??? [8|] [;)][:D]

     You can't drink all day if you don't start early!!
     
    #21
    Normando
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2006/01/29 18:21:12 (permalink)
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    Beachlovers...
    [:D] That would have to be a definite Yes ---wouldn't it....LOL. Xciting thoughts
    What an Xperience - more than we have Xpected even...Hummmmmn

    [8|]Oh, Wish all my Oriental especially Chinese friends - a Very Happy New Year
    [:)] "Kung hei fa Choi "
    [8|]Red dog Year or Red fire dog if you prefer.
    Kung - Shi
    Normando
    post edited by Normando - 2006/01/29 19:32:12
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    Beachey
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2006/01/29 18:26:06 (permalink)
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    hehehe Xactly what I was thinking!!! Xceptionally helpful to those who were wondering though!!! [;)][:D]

     You can't drink all day if you don't start early!!
     
    #23
    Guest
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2006/01/29 18:33:34 (permalink)
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    Most Xcellent to learn/know... Thanks!

    "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Ralph Waldo Emerson
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    Linda in Houston
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    RE: Mayan X - How to Pronounce 2006/01/30 03:32:08 (permalink)
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    Wouldn't Xaac Bay be pronounced: SHAH-AHK or CHAH-AHK.
    Anyway, that's the way I've heard it.... and after all, the X is
    followed by a vowel in this word.

    I was told several years ago that the Mayan X is only pronounced
    EESH when it is at the beginning of a word & followed by a consonant.

    If X is at the beginning of a word & followed by a vowel AND anywhere
    in the middle of a word, it is pronounced as SH or CH.
    #25
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