GRE Reading Comprehension
Whether the languages of the ancient American peoples were used for expressing abstract universal concepts can be clearly answered in the case of Nahuatl. Nahuatl, Like Greek and German, is a language that allows the formation of extensive compounds. By the combination of radicals or semantic elements, single compound words can express complex conceptual relations, often of an abstract universal character.
The tlamatinime ("those who know") were able to use this rich stock of abstract terms to express the nuances of their thought. They also availed themselves of other forms of expression with metaphorical meaning, some probably original, some derived from Toltec coinages. Of these forms the most characteristic in Nahuatl is the juxtaposition of two words that, because they are synonyms, associated terms, or even contraries, complement each other to evoke one single idea. Used as metaphor, the juxtaposed terms connote specific or essential traits of the being they refer to, introducing a mode of poetry as an almost habitual form of expression.
Which of the following can be inferred from the passage regarding present- day research relating to Nahuatl?
- A Some record or evidence of the thought of the tlamatinime is available.
- B For at least some Nahuatl expressions, researchers are able to trace their derivation from another ancient American language.
- C Researchers believe that in Nahuatl, abstract universal concepts are always expressed metaphorically.
Correct Answer: AB