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Difrasismo is a term derived from Spanish that is used in the study of certain Mesoamerican languages, to describe a particular grammatical construction in which two separate words are paired together to form a single metaphoric unit. This semantic and stylistic device was commonly employed throughout Mesoamerica,[1] and features notably in historical works of Mesoamerican literature, in languages such as Classical Nahuatl and Classic Maya.

The term was first introduced by Ángel María Garibay K.[2]

For example, in Nahuatl the expression "cuitlapilli ahtlapalli" or "in cuitlapilli in ahtlapalli", literally "the tail, the wing", is used in a metaphoric sense to mean "the people" or "the common folk".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hull (2003, p.137).
  2. ^ See Hull (2003, p.137); Montes de Oca Vega (1997, p.31).


Andrews, J. Richard (2003). Introduction to Classical Nahuatl (revised ed.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 552–556. ISBN 0-8061-3452-6. OCLC 50090230. 
Bright, William (September 1990). " 'With one lip, with two lips': Parallelism in Nahuatl". Language. Washington DC: Linguistic Society of America. 66 (3): 437–452. doi:10.2307/414607. JSTOR 414607. OCLC 93070246. 
Hull, Kerry (2003). Verbal Art and Performance in Ch'orti' and Maya Hieroglyphic Writing (PDF) (Ph.D. thesis ed.). Austin: University of Texas. OCLC 56123278. hdl:2152/1240. 
Montes de Oca Vega, Mercedes (1997). "Los disfrasismos en el náhuatl, un problema de traducción o de conceptualización". Amérindia: Revue d'Ethnolinguistique Amerindienne (in Spanish). Paris: Société d'Études Linguistiques et Anthropologiques de France. 22: 31–44. ISSN 0221-8852. OCLC 4199210. Archived from the original on 2007-05-28.