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Introduction to Mayan Hieroglyphs

Introduction to Mayan Hieroglyphs

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Published by Luis Dubon

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Luis Dubon on Nov 11, 2009
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07/05/2013

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Introduction toMaya Hieroglyphs
 
Workshop Handbook
Sixth Edition (revised)2004
Harri KettunenUniversity of HelsinkiChristophe HelmkeUniversity College London
 
 
2
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
 
Foreword.................................................................................................................................................5
 
Acknowledgments...................................................................................................................................5
 
 Note on the Orthography.........................................................................................................................6
 
1. Introduction........................................................................................................................................7
 
2. History of Decipherment....................................................................................................................8
 
3. Origins of the Maya Script...............................................................................................................12
 
4. Language(s) of the Hieroglyphs.......................................................................................................13
 
5. Writing System.................................................................................................................................13
 
5.1. Conventions of Transcribing and Transliterating Maya Texts..................................................13
 
5.2. Reading Order...........................................................................................................................15
 
5.3. Compound Glyphs, Infixing, and Conflations..........................................................................16
 
5.4. Logographs...............................................................................................................................17
 
5.5. Syllables (Phoneticism).............................................................................................................17
 
5.6. Phonetic Complements.............................................................................................................17
 
5.7. Semantic Determinatives and Diacritical Signs........................................................................18
 
5.8. Polyvalence: Polyphony and Homophony................................................................................18
 
5.9. Number of Known Hieroglyphs................................................................................................19
 
5.10. Grammar.................................................................................................................................20
 
5.10.1. Word Order......................................................................................................................20
 
5.10.2. Verbs................................................................................................................................20
 
5.10.3. Nouns...............................................................................................................................20
 
5.10.4. Pronouns..........................................................................................................................20
 
5.11. Typical Structure and Content of the Texts............................................................................21
 
5.11.1. Monumental Inscriptions.................................................................................................21
 
5.11.2. Portable Artifacts.............................................................................................................21
 
5.11.3. Ceramics..........................................................................................................................21
 
5.11.4. Codices............................................................................................................................22
 
Appendices............................................................................................................................................28
 
Appendix A: Assorted Texts................................................................................................................28
 
Appendix B: Titles...............................................................................................................................34
 
Appendix C: Relationship Glyphs........................................................................................................34
 
Appendix D: Classic Maya Emblem Glyphs........................................................................................35
 
Appendix E: Note on the Calendar.......................................................................................................38
 
Mathematics..................................................................................................................................38
 
Tzolk’in and Haab’.......................................................................................................................40
 
Calendar Round............................................................................................................................40
 
Long Count...................................................................................................................................41
 
Initial Series..................................................................................................................................41
 
Supplementary Series...................................................................................................................41
 
Distance Numbers.........................................................................................................................41
 
Possible Haab’ Coefficients for the Tzolk’in Day Names............................................................42
 
“Lords of the Night” (Cycle of 9 Days)........................................................................................43
 
An Example of the Correlation of Different Calandars................................................................43
 
How to Convert Maya Long Count Dates to Gregorian Dates.....................................................44
 
 
 
3
A Shortcut Guide for the Conversion of Maya Long Count Dates to Gregorian Dates...............45
 
Period Names...........................................................................................................................46
 
Day Names (Tzolk’in Calendar)..............................................................................................47
 
Month Names (Haab’ Calendar)..............................................................................................49
 
Month Names (Haab’ Calendar)..............................................................................................50
 
Appendix F: Syllable Charts................................................................................................................51
 
Appendix G: The Landa Alphabet.......................................................................................................55
 
Appendix H: Transcriptions of Classic Maya Phonemes......................................................................56
 
Appendix I: Articulation Organs and Places........................................................................................57
 
Appendix J: Synharmonic vs. Disharmonic Spellings, Underspellings, andReconstructed Glottal Fricatives in Maya Hieroglyphic Writing.....................................................58
 
Appendix K: Notes on Classic Maya Grammar...................................................................................62
 
Classic Maya Voice System.........................................................................................................63
 
Appendix L: An Example of Hieroglyphic Analysis............................................................................69
 
Concise Classic Maya—English Dictionary.........................................................................................70
 
Glossary of Linguistic Terminology.....................................................................................................83
 
Abbreviations used in morphological segmentation and analysis..............................................100
 
Sources and Further Reading..............................................................................................................102
 
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
1
:
Cover:
Panel 2, Xunantunich (drawing by Christophe Helmke)
 TOC:
Artist’s hand incised on a bone stylus, from burial 116, Tikal &
u-tz’i-b’i
collocation from a PSS text ona Late Classic cylindrical vase (drawing based on a photo by Justin Kerr [file #1837]).
Figure 1: Stela A, Copan, Honduras (drawing by Frederick Catherwood)............................................8
 
Figure 2: Detail from the Madrid Codex (drawing by Carlos A. Villacorta).......................................10
 
Figure 3: Detail from the Dresden Codex (drawing by Carlos A. Villacorta).....................................10
 
Figure 4: Lintel 8, Yaxchilan, Mexico (drawing by Ian Graham)........................................................11
 
Figure 5: Image and text from a reused Olmec greenstone pectoral....................................................12
 
Figure 6: Direct quotation from Panel 3, Piedras Negras.....................................................................21
 
Figure 7: Classic Maya absolutive and ergative pronouns...................................................................21
 
Figure 8: Late Classic bichrome
 jawante’ 
plate (adapted from a photo by Justin Kerr [MS #1421]).22
 
Figure 9: Page 8 from the Grolier Codex (after Coe and Kerr 1998: Fig. 134)...................................23
 
Figure 10: Page 91 from the Madrid Codex (after 
Codex Tro-Cortesianus (Codex Madrid)
1967)....24
 
Figure 11: Bottom of the page 56 from the Madrid Codex showing Latin text (after 
Codex Tro-Cortesianus (Codex Madrid)
1967)...............................................................................................24
 
Figure 12: Page 9 from the Dresden Codex (after Förstemann 1880)..................................................25
 
Figure 13: Page 6 from the Paris Codex (after 
Codex Peresianus (Codex Paris)
1968)......................25
 
Figure 14: Obsidian earflares & accompanying hieroglyphs; Str. A-1, Tomb 1, Altun Ha(Drawings by David Findlay and Peter Mathews).........................................................................26
 
Figure 15: Roll-out photo of a Classic Maya ceramic vessel illustrating writing on codices(photo by Justin Kerr [File #1523])...............................................................................................26
 
Figure 16: Drawing 82, Naj Tunich, Guatemala (drawing by Andrea J. Stone)..................................28
 
Figure 17: Altar 23, Caracol, Belize (drawing by Nikolai Grube)........................................................28
 
Figure 18: Inscription on back of Stela 3 (upper part), Piedras Negras, Guatemala(drawing by David Stuart [in Stuart and Graham 2003: 9:27 )......................................................29
 
Figure 19: Lintel 8, Yaxchilan, Mexico (drawing by Ian Graham [Graham and von Euw 1977: 27])30
 
Figure 20: Lintel 2, Yaxchilan, Mexico (drawing by Ian Graham [Graham and von Euw 1977: 15])30
 
Figure 21: Stela 4 (A1-B5), Ixtutz, Guatemala....................................................................................31
 
Figure 22: Panel of 96 Glyphs (A1-F8), Palenque, Mexico(drawing by Merle Greene Robertson [after Robertson 1991: Fig. 264])......................................32
 
1
All drawings and graphics by Harri Kettunen unless otherwise indicated.

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