Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chia

Last night my wife made an enchilada lasagna/casserole, essentially alternating layers of tortillas and stewed chicken and vegetables. Interestingly enough, the tortillas were made with corn and chia seeds. Yes, chia as in Chia Pet, that little 80's ornament that grew green "fur" which were in fact chia sprout. It was actually an important pre-Columbian food source and it's coming into vogue in recent times due to the world's appetite for ancient, supposedly-exotic, nearly-lost grains. Tell that to Mexicans who've been eating it for hundreds of years.

The word chia came directly from its Nahuatl equivalent, namely chian, according to an online Nahuat dictionary. Wikipedia claims it's derived from chian "oily" but according to the dictionary, chiahuac is "oily", which feel like compounds with additional suffixes on top of the chia root. As chia seeds produces 25% to 30% oil, I think words with "oily" meaning in Nahuatl were actually derived from the root meaning the chia plant.

The Nahuatl glyph for chia looks like either a brown triangle or a half circle with dots inside, no doubt representing the dark grey chia seeds. However, there is also a variant in which the dots are replaced by conventional symbols of soil, such as the name Chiapan, which corresponds to Chiapas in modern times. Chiapas in fact means "above the river of chias" (http://geography.berkeley.edu/ProjectsResources/Glyphs/Plate12/Chiapan.html). However, a similar toponym, Teochiapan, does use the regular dotted variant (http://geography.berkeley.edu/ProjectsResources/Glyphs/Plate26/Teochiapan.html).

The chia glyph can also be used as a phonetic sign to write the chi syllable. One example of this usage comes from the Codex Xolotl, a book from the Texcoco region of Central Mexico written right after the Spanish conquest. It details the history of the Aztecs and especially the city of Texcoco, one of the three "allies" that made up the Triple Alliance aka the Aztec Empire. Like most Nahuatl manuscripts it is highly pictorial but a surprising amount of texts with phonetic spelling is used. A character named Achitometl, who was the king of the Tepanecs, has his name spelled out nearly phonetically as a-chi-(to)-me-e. For some reason the to syllable is missing, possibly because it served no grammatical function.

Also, take note of the syllabic glyph e, which is the black oval with a white smaller oval inside. Here it serves as a phonetic complement to reinforce the vowel of the last syllable. However, of interest is the fact that the syllabic glyph e is also the bean glyph, as "bean" in Nahuatl is etl. In fact, my wife said that's what's for dinner tomorrow, our approximation of the Costa Rican gallo pinto. However, instead of going into the wonderful world of beans, I shall stop here, and leave the exploration of another ancient staple for another day.

References/Links:

6 comments:

  1. The most beautiful and friendly Nahuat dictionary.
    From San Miguel Tzinacapan, Cuetzalan, for the world.
    Look for it at:
    http://diccionarionahuat.blogspot.com/
    http://www.gutlibros.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. The most beautiful and friendly Nahuat dictionary.
    From San Miguel Tzinacapan, Cuetzalan, for the world.
    Look for it at:
    http://diccionarionahuat.blogspot.com/
    http://www.gutlibros.com/

    ReplyDelete
  3. you have written a great blog.
    classified, blogs, backlinks, online games, forum, music website m11.in
    very very nice
    blog have written.
    nice blog

    ReplyDelete
  4. After watching this, I just have one thing to say to DaeSung…”GET SOMEEE!“

    Also, if you missed SBS Big Show, you can rewatch the Tonight, What Is Right, and Cafe performances on Big Bang’s official Youtube channel.

    ——

    JT’s 4th Mini-album Big Bang VN
    big bang
    thoughts
    I’m really impressed with this mini-album. It shows how much BB has grown in 2 years they’ve been away. I have to say, this whole mini-album was very J-Pop influenced, well considering “Hands Up” and “Somebody to Love” were originally Japanese songs.
    Interior Designers Miami
    Srilanka packages

    Tamarac Homes
    breitling replica

    buy domain
    nj moving

    Maldives tour packages
    local classifeds

    Corporate clothing jackets
    fake watches

    rolex fakes
    furnished apartments sydney

    SBOBET
    Casino With Bonus

    Dallas Apartments
    cat post

    Yes, Cafe deserves it’s own paragraph. Cafe is really an amazing song. It’s like there’s a bunch of upbeat J-Pop-ish K-pop then there’s this one chill song at the end. Just like on the “Stand Up” mini-album, all K-pop songs, then there’s “Oh My Friend.” It’s one song that completely stands out. Just like DaeSung said during SBS The Big Bang Show…

    ReplyDelete
  5. The chia glyph can also be used as a phonetic sign to write the chi syllable. One example of this usage comes from the Codex Xolotl, a book from the Texcoco region of Central Mexico written right after the Spanish conquest. london apartments

    ReplyDelete
  6. the poster's site in an attempt to boost their site's ranking. Others might tweak this approach a bit by posting a generic comment (like "Nice site!") with a commercial user name linking to their site. local seo

    ReplyDelete