Ever wonder where the word chocolate comes from? I know I did for many years. It sounds faintly Mesoamerican, yet according to the experts the original word for chocolate, both the solid substance and the drink, was cacao (supposedly pronounced “kaka-WAH” if you want to get finicky about it). Many linguists believe that “chocolate”, by contrast, is a word that was made up by Spanish colonists. Seeking a separate word for the drink chocolate, not just the substance, they put together the native words for “hot” (xocol) and “water” (atl) to get “xocolatl” in much the same way a mediocre Spanish student might inexpertly slap the words for “bull” (toro) and “excrement” (mierda) together to describe a exam grade he wasn’t happy with. Such clumsy combinations of English and Spanish vocabulary and/or syntax is of course called “Spanglish”. Doing the same with Spanish and Aztec might be, er, it might be called…

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