Luis Arnold Gonzalez-Reimann
reimann at uclink.berkeley.edu
Wed Aug 28 22:13:17 UTC 1996
> Hmm. Perhaps irrelevant, but in Maltese (Semitic arabic-like language
> written in Roman script) the letter "x" is pronounced "sh" as in English
> "sheep". Thus, the town Xemxija is pronounced "Shemshiiya". I go to
> Malta a lot, and am thoroughly accustomed to this value for the letter.
> Would it do for us?
> Best wishes,
No doubt irrelevant, but just for the sake of it: in old Spanish the "X"
also stood for "Sh". Don Quixote is, therefore, Don Quishote. That is why
Mexico is spelled with an "x", because it was the land of the Meshicas.
When the Academia de la Lengua Espanola decided (in the 18th century?)
that it was necessary to update the spelling because the "x" no longer
represented the "sh" value, they changed the name of the country to
Mejico, which is how it is pronounced (the "j" in Spanish being a strong
guttural, like Hebrew heth).
The Mexican Government, however, decided to stick to the old spelling,
although the pronunciation had changed, so the official name of the
country is Mexico (and Don Quixote is Don Quijote).
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