Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T: Tegucigalpa (A-Z Blog Challenge: Evocative words)

Tegucigalpa and Guadalajara are two of my favorite Spanish words. They are place names, in particular the capitol city of Honduras and the largest city in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

I've yet to get to visit either place, but I love the words themselves.

I'm a long time student (and teacher) of Spanish. Since I first began to study the language as a college student, I was drawn to the sounds of it. It was foreign to my ear, but attractive, so flowing and lovely in its vowels. I think I like these two words for their vowels.

Teh-goo-see-gahl-pah. Say it. Doesn't it feel nice in your mouth? I understand that its originally a Nahuatl word, changed by Spanish influence into the form we know it in today. There's some serious disagreement about what the word means. Some say it refers to the silver in the hills; others say it means something about painted rocks or sharp stones.

But my love for the word is solely about the sound, not the meaning. Being able to pronounce it correctly requires a good facility with Spanish vowels. It has nearly all of them in the single word.

Guadalajara (gwah-dah-lah-har-ah), on the other hand, is all A's.  I think it's the J in that word that makes it
so much fun to say. Spanish J's sound like English H's. Add a flipped R into the end and you've got yourself one beautiful sound. It's almost a song just in the one word.

Obviously, I'm a word nerd. Why else would I choose to write 26 posts all about words I find evocative?

It's interesting to me that the Spanish words I love are all about sound, and the English words I love are mostly about meaning. Maybe it's because I'll always be a visitor in Spanish, but I'm a native in English. Maybe it's because my first literary love was poetry, which is all about sound. In any case, my love affair with words shows no sign of slowing down after all these years.
This post is part of the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.


  1. I hadn't heard the first word, but I agree Guadalajara sounds beautiful. My mom and sister visited on their way to a mountain village (took donkeys to get there) where a friend of hers lived. Mom said my sister looked like a little pigpen compared to the local kids in sparkling white and embroidered clothing. I wish I had a better ear for languages - I would consider moving to Mexico or South America.
    Marlene at On Writing and Riding

  2. Tegucigalpa is certainly fun to say. It's a bit sing-songy. Thanks for providing the pronunciation guide. Spanish is not a language I've studied much so I wasn't sure if the "c" was supposed to be hard or soft.

    I agree--words are fun, in any language! :)

  3. I've liked the word Tegucigalpa since I first heard it. My wife is not fond of the word but she is Ecuadorian and it seems they don't particularly like Central Americans which is something I find a bit odd.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

    1. Quito is another awesome word. It's a place in Ecuador, and it's the yo form of the verb quitar: I remove? There's got to be a good story behind that.