Date: Tue, 3 Oct 1995 07:49:31 -0500

From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: 'chili' or 'chile'


I have encountered no such regularity (although, as you well know, the folk

repondents you may have heard would, like all other nonlinguists, have

wanted to impose some).

Here is what I know:

chilli (Nahuatl) for the pepper itself.

Variants in both Spanish and English include (at least) chilli, chile, and

chili; I do not know about the Spanish dialectal distribution; I assume the

spellings in Spanish reflect real pronunciation differences but that they

do not in English (see just below).

I personally always say 'chili' (chilly) in English and 'chile' (CHEE-lay)

in Spanish for everything - the pepper, the dried powder, the dish (whether

soupy or thick, with (ugh!) or without (yum!) beans, etc.... I use these

pronunciations regardless of spelling.

Of course, there are North and South Chili ('chay-lie') New York (outside

Rochester), but that is another matter.

Dennis Preston (not a southwestern dialectologist)


Dictionaries seem to list these as variant spellings, but I seem to

recall from a cooking class I once took in Santa Fe that 'chile' refers

to the pepper and the powder and 'chili' to some strange kind of soup

made in Texas.

Can any southwestern-savvy dialectologist come to my rescue?

Bob Wachal