Seri Auto Parts

Mitla Ruina

One way to talk about something new in a culture is to borrow a word from the people who had it first. Spanish borrowed the Nahuatl word tomatl, changing it to tomate. Then English borrowed it from Spanish, changing it to tomato.

Alternately, we can make up a word. That is what the Seri people like to do. Look at the ways they name auto parts, which are relatively new to their culture.

Seri Auto

SERI  ENGLISH
thing with which it goes (ziix iitax) motor
the motor’s liver (ziix iitax iyas) battery 
thing the motor puts around its waist
(ziix iitax itj iixquim)
belt
its eyes (itoj) headlights
the reins of its mouth (itéen ihízlca) brakes
its trachea (yahjij)  hose
its paddles (iquéelexolca)  fan
where it drinks water (hax an iisi) radiator
thing its spirit falls into (ihíisax an hant yait) muffler
white things (xica cooxp) spark plugs
where the tire sits
(hant imáasij an ihíij)
rim