Speaking of Lou Dobbs…

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  1. Philip Taylor said,

    October 28, 2018 @ 1:25 pm

    Well, I'm not very familiar with the names of Mexican cities, so I can't guess what he was trying to say. "Huacalda" is the nearest I can get …

  2. Annie Gottlieb said,

    October 28, 2018 @ 1:41 pm


  3. Suzanne Valkemirer said,

    October 28, 2018 @ 1:41 pm

    He seems to have said [waxula] (finally stressed).

    The closest Mexican Spanish place name that comes to mind is Oaxaca, the name of the capital of the state of the same name, which is now pronounced [waxaka] (penultimately stressed). But did the people pass through it?

  4. Suzanne Valkemirer said,

    October 28, 2018 @ 1:53 pm

    @ Annie. You may be right. At least four inhabited places in Mexico bear the name:

    Huautla de Jiménez and San Miguel Huautla, both in the state of Oaxaca, are far enough south for the refugees to have reached by this time. Informally, they are called Huautla [wawtla], with penultimate stress.

    The other two are not south enough:

    Huautla in the state of Hidalgo and Huautla in the state of Morelos.

  5. FM said,

    October 28, 2018 @ 2:07 pm

    According to this:


    …it was Huixtla. But what I actually hear is "wartle-dah".

  6. David Morris said,

    October 28, 2018 @ 7:14 pm

    By the way, in Australian English, a 'caravan' is primarily a 'travel trailer/camper trailer', so I had to think carefully the first time I read about 'several thousand Central Americans travelling in a caravan'.

  7. chris said,

    October 28, 2018 @ 8:12 pm

    @David Morris: In the US, the most frequently discussed type of caravan is the Dodge Caravan, a model of minivan that has been in production for 30+ years. That, too, does not seat several thousand comfortably (or at all).

  8. Jen in Edinburgh said,

    October 29, 2018 @ 6:25 am

    Without wanting to distract too much from serious matters, I have just had a moment of illumination concerning the Caravan of Love!

  9. Ellen K. said,

    October 29, 2018 @ 8:44 am

    When I (in and from the U.S.) hear the word caravan, I think of people and camels traveling in a line.

  10. maidhc said,

    October 30, 2018 @ 5:20 am

    Up until now I had assumed that TV networks would give their presenters phonetic versions of various foreign names on their teleprompters, but I guess that doesn't happen any more?

    So, "caravan", a group of people all travelling together because they're afraid of getting attacked and robbed or worse, but there is safety in numbers. So they all go along together and they are stronger than the robbers. An old idea and it hasn't changed much since. In the old days it was traders transporting goods Now it is desperate people seeking a better life.

    Still the same idea, I think, so the same word can be applied.

  11. Luis said,

    November 1, 2018 @ 6:23 pm

    Knowing Spanish isn't as much help as you might think; "Huixtla" is a tough one for non-Mexicans. After seeing the name spelled out I first thought it would be ['wiʃ.tla], but turns out it's ['wis.tla]. Native Mexican names use the grapheme in ways that contravene Spanish orthographic convetions ( is ['me'hi.ko], not ['me.ksi.jo]]). Also the /tl/ clusters in onsets are characteristic of native borrowings into Mexican Spanish, and often challenge non-Mexicans; I syllabified the /tl/ into syllable onsets above, as I understand they'd be pronounced in Mexico, but it wouldn't be surprising to hear ['wist.la] or ['wis.la]. Some might try to say it as ['wikstʰ.la].

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