X Marks the Spot

How many words do I know that start with an “X”?  Five?  Six?  If I lived here, I’d clearly up that total dramatically.  The Maya definitely have a thing for the X.  It’s all over their city names:

Xcaret
Xcalak
Xpu-Ha
Xel-Ha
Xtulin
X’Tzeal
Xcalacoop
Xkeken
X’Kalakdzonot
X’Alau 

This is only a very partial list.  I love that.  I love all those X’s all over the place.  Love hearing people try to figure out how to say them, what to make of them.  Near as I can tell, the X is an “sh” most of the time.  “Xpu-Ha” is “Shpoo-Hah,” “Xel-Ha” is “Shell-Hah” and so on.  I know in the ‘X’-based people names I know, the X is an ‘s’ … as in Xiomara, Xochitl and Ximena, so maybe there are some ‘s’ sounds in those city names, too.  I want to see some written Mayan text (modern, not ancient, so that it’s written using letters I know!) so I can see if ‘regular words’ are as full of X’s as city names.

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