I have a question about a word that is supposed to be from Nahuatl: apaguaji
Apaguaji is a place name from northern Nicaragua: a hill (Cerro Apaguaji) and a cave (Cueva Apaguaji) with a year-round spring that feeds into a steep, rocky valley. (Apparently Precolumbian Nicaragua had a large influx of Nahuatl speakers a long time ago)
When I lived there I was taught to pronounce it (in Spanish) as apaguají , emphasis on the last syllable, but I've never seen it written that way.
I'm trying to figure out what the word might mean in English (or Spanish). I can't find the exact word anywhere. No one who lived in the very rural area could tell me what it meant. I found this: http://elesteliano.com/revista/nov2007/gente3.htm that indicates it means "in the valley of the guajes". Guajes being either gourds or a type of acacia tree. But they don't give any reasoning to back up that conclusion.
So I went to the University of Oregon site http://whp.uoregon.edu/dictionaries/nahuatl/ and poked around. It seems like the first part of the word apa relates strongly to water, like atl . So then I looked around for guaje references, and found this word: āhuahcalli. which is a "large gourd cut in half and used to scoop water." Guaje is a word used for a drinking gourd, as well.
Then I looked up valley: atlauhtli. The wonderful people at the UOrgeon site include a sound file but it doesn't sound like apaguají.
Of course, there's another similar word: atlacaqui. He who does not hear or understand, someone incorrigible. Guaje also can mean someone stupid or a fool.
I don't know much about linguistics or the way Nahuatl works - I'm grabbing at straws. Would anyone who knows more about Nahuatl weigh in on these speculations?