Maya Hieroglyphs

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Introduction to
Maya Hieroglyphs
XVI European Maya Conference
Copenhagen 2011
Harri Kettunen
Christophe Helmke
Department of American Indian Languages and Cultures
Institute of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies
University of Copenhagen
The National Museum of Denmark
Wayeb
Introduction to
Maya Hieroglyphs
Twelfth Edition
XVI European Maya Conference
Copenhagen 2011
Harri Kettunen
Christophe Helmke
Department of American Indian Languages and Cultures
Institute of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies
University of Copenhagen
In association with
The National Museum of Denmark
& Wayeb
2011
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Maya Hieroglyphs
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
FOREWORD .................................................................................................................................................................... 6
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................................................................................................................................... 6
NOTE ON THE ORTHOGRAPHY ...................................................................................................................................... 7
I INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................................................................... 8
1. History of Decipherment .................................................................................................................................. 9
2. Origins of the Maya Script ............................................................................................................................. 12
3. Language(s) of the Hieroglyphs .................................................................................................................... 13
II THE WRITING SYSTEM............................................................................................................................................. 14
4. Conventions of Transliterating and Transcribing Maya Texts.................................................................. 14
5. Reading Order.................................................................................................................................................. 16
6. Compound Glyphs, Infixing, and Conflations ............................................................................................ 17
7. Logograms ........................................................................................................................................................ 18
8. Syllables (Syllabograms) ................................................................................................................................. 19
9. Phonetic Complements ................................................................................................................................... 19
10. Semantic Determinatives and Diacritical Signs......................................................................................... 20
11. Polyvalence: Polyphony and Homophony ................................................................................................ 20
12. Number of Known Hieroglyphs ................................................................................................................. 22
III GRAMMAR.............................................................................................................................................................. 24
13. Word Order .................................................................................................................................................... 24
14. Verbs ............................................................................................................................................................... 26
15. Nouns and Adjectives ................................................................................................................................... 26
16. Pronominal System ....................................................................................................................................... 27
IV TYPICAL STRUCTURE AND CONTENT OF THE TEXTS ............................................................................................ 30
17. Monumental Inscriptions ............................................................................................................................. 30
18. Ceramics ......................................................................................................................................................... 30
19. Codices ............................................................................................................................................................ 37
20. Portable Artefacts .......................................................................................................................................... 39
APPENDICES ................................................................................................................................................................ 40
Appendix A: Assorted Texts .................................................................................................................................. 40
Appendix B: Titles .................................................................................................................................................... 44
Appendix C: Relationship Glyphs ......................................................................................................................... 44
Appendix D: Classic Maya Emblem Glyphs ........................................................................................................ 45
Appendix E: Note on the Calendar........................................................................................................................ 47
Mathematics .......................................................................................................................................................... 47
Tzolk’in and Haab ................................................................................................................................................ 49
Calendar Round.................................................................................................................................................... 49
Long Count............................................................................................................................................................ 49
Initial Series ........................................................................................................................................................... 50
Supplementary Series .......................................................................................................................................... 50
Distance Numbers ................................................................................................................................................ 50
Possible Haab Coefficients for the Tzolk’in Day Names ................................................................................ 51
“Lords of the Night” (Cycle of 9 Days) ............................................................................................................. 51
An Example of the Correlation of the Long Count, Tzolk’in, Haab, and the Lords of the Night ............. 52
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Maya Hieroglyphs
How to Convert Maya Long Count Dates to Gregorian Dates ...................................................................... 52
A Shortcut Guide for the Conversion of Maya Long Count Dates to Gregorian Dates ............................. 54
Period Names ........................................................................................................................................................ 55
Day Names (Tzolk’in Calendar) ......................................................................................................................... 56
Month Names (Haab Calendar) ......................................................................................................................... 58
Appendix F: The Landa Alphabet ......................................................................................................................... 60
Appendix G: Transcriptions of Classic Maya Phonemes ................................................................................... 61
Appendix H: Articulation Organs and Places...................................................................................................... 62
Appendix I: Synharmony vs. Disharmony .......................................................................................................... 63
Appendix J: Notes on Classic Maya Grammar .................................................................................................... 66
Appendix K: An Example of Hieroglyphic Analysis .......................................................................................... 73
Appendix L: Syllable Charts ................................................................................................................................... 74
CONCISE CLASSIC MAYA – ENGLISH DICTIONARY .................................................................................................... 79
A THEMATIC CLASSIC MAYA – ENGLISH DICTIONARY ............................................................................................. 94
Verbs ...................................................................................................................................................................... 94
Nouns and Adjectives ........................................................................................................................................ 103
Other Parts of Speech & Grammatical Affixes ............................................................................................... 127
Abbreviations used in morphological segmentation and morphological analysis ................................... 145
SOURCES AND FURTHER READING ........................................................................................................................... 146
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS1:
Cover: Fragment V0017 / TT0103, Corridor 12, Tetitla, Teotihuacan Mexico (Drawing by Christophe Helmke,
based on a photograph by Miguel Morales; courtesy of the Zona Arqueologica de Teotihuacan).
Figure 1: Stela A, Copan, Honduras (drawing by Frederick Catherwood) .................................................................... 9
Figure 2: The Landa “Alphabet” ........................................................................................................................................ 10
Figure 3: Details from the Madrid and Dresden Codices................................................................................................ 11
Figure 4: Lintel 8, Yaxchilan, Mexico ................................................................................................................................. 11
Figure 5: Text and image from a reused Olmec greenstone pectoral ............................................................................ 12
Figure 6: Reading order of the text on the basal register of Stela 11 from Yaxchilan. ................................................. 16
Figure 7: Tablet of 96 Glyphs, Palenque, Chiapas, México ............................................................................................. 25
Figure 8: Direct quotation from Panel 3, Piedras Negras ............................................................................................... 28
Figure 9: Classic Maya ergative and absolutive pronominal affixes ............................................................................. 28
Figure 10: Text and image incised on a shell ................................................................................................................... 28
Figure 11: Stela 4 (A1-B5), Ixtutz, Guatemala .................................................................................................................. 30
Figure 12: Page 9 from the Dresden Codex ...................................................................................................................... 38
Figure 13: Page 91 from the Madrid Codex ..................................................................................................................... 38
Figure 14: Page 6 from the Paris Codex ............................................................................................................................ 39
Figure 15: Page 8 from the Grolier Codex ........................................................................................................................ 39
Figure 16: Bottom of the page 56 from the Madrid Codex ............................................................................................. 39
Figure 17: Carved bone from Burial 116, Tikal (TIK MT-44) ......................................................................................... 39
Figure 18: Inscription on the upper section of the back of Stela 3, Piedras Negras, Guatemala ............................... 40
Figure 19: Lintel 1, Yaxchilan, Mexico .............................................................................................................................. 41
Figure 20: Lintel 2, Yaxchilan, Mexico .............................................................................................................................. 41
Figure 21: Ballcourt Marker 4, Caracol, Belize ................................................................................................................. 42
Figure 22: Altar 23, Caracol, Belize ................................................................................................................................... 42
Figure 23: Unprovenienced jadeite celt, the “Leiden Plaque” ........................................................................................ 43
Figure 24: Monument 101, Tonina & Stela 6, Itzimte, Mexico ........................................................................................ 43
Figure 25: Selected Classic Period Emblem Glyphs ........................................................................................................ 45
1
All drawings and graphics by Harri Kettunen unless otherwise indicated.
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Figure 26:
Figure 27:
Figure 28:
Figure 29:
Figure 30:
Maya Hieroglyphs
Map of the Maya area showing principal archaeological sites .................................................................... 46
Codex style vase from the Late Classic Period .............................................................................................. 54
The Landa Alphabet ......................................................................................................................................... 60
Articulation places ............................................................................................................................................. 62
Lintel 10, Yaxchilan, Mexico ............................................................................................................................ 65
LIST OF TABLES2:
Table I: Common Classic Maya vessel type glyphs ........................................................................................................ 33
Table II: Comparisons between idealized vessel forms and written vessel type referents ........................................ 34
Table III: Common royal titles ............................................................................................................................................ 44
Table IV: Relationship glyphs ............................................................................................................................................. 44
Table V: Vigesimal vs. decimal system.............................................................................................................................. 47
Table VI: Applied vigesimal system for calendrical calculations .................................................................................. 47
Table VII: Classic Maya numerals from zero to nineteen .............................................................................................. 48
Table VIII: Organization of successive Tzolk’in dates ..................................................................................................... 49
Table IX: Lords of the Night ............................................................................................................................................... 51
Table X: Period names for Long Count dates and Distance Numbers .......................................................................... 55
Table XI: Day names in the Tzolk’in calendar: Imix-Ok ................................................................................................ 56
Table XII: Day names in the Tzolk’in calendar: Chuwen-Ajaw .................................................................................... 57
Table XIII: “Month” names in the Haab calendar: Pop-Yax .......................................................................................... 58
Table XIV: “Month” names in the Haab calendar: Sak-Wayeb ..................................................................................... 59
Table XV: Classic Maya consonants ................................................................................................................................... 61
Table XVI: Classic Maya vowels......................................................................................................................................... 61
Table XVII: Articulation organs and places ...................................................................................................................... 62
Table XVIII: Examples based on harmony rules according to Lacadena and Wichmann (2004)............................... 64
Table XIX: Examples of underspelled words .................................................................................................................... 64
Table XX: An example of varying spelling of the name Ahkul Mo’ from Lintel 10, Yaxchilan ................................... 65
Table XXI: Classic Maya voice system ............................................................................................................................... 66
Table XXII: Examples of grammatical changes in time and space: chum- ..................................................................... 72
Table XXIII: Examples of grammatical changes in time: hul- ......................................................................................... 72
Table XXIV: Concise Classic Maya – English Dictionary ................................................................................................ 93
Table XXV: Examples of Classic Maya pronouns in the hieroglyphic texts ............................................................... 141
2
All drawings and graphics by Harri Kettunen unless otherwise indicated.
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Maya Hieroglyphs
FOREWORD
During the past four decades we have witnessed groundbreaking developments in the field of Maya epigraphy.
The purpose of this handbook is to provide an introduction to the study of Maya hieroglyphs and is designed to
be used in conjunction with Maya hieroglyphic workshops. It is our objective to summarize and render
comprehensibly the recent developments of Maya epigraphy (i.e. hieroglyph studies). The audience targeted is
that of beginners attending Maya hieroglyphic workshops3.
The authors wish to receive any possible comments on the contents and structure of this handbook in order for us
to be able to produce improved versions in the future. Readers of this handbook are advised to realize, as noted
above, that this introduction is intended to be used in combination with the workshops provided, i.e. the
handbook only presents a skeleton of the writing system, and to get the best out of the current volume, the reader
is suggested to participate in the workshops and lectures provided by numerous individuals and institutes
around the world offering workshops on the Ancient Maya script.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Over the years we have had the opportunity and privilege to work in collaboration with the world’s best
epigraphers and have often had the opportunity to learn of new decipherments first-hand from the people who
made these discoveries. As we owe a great deal of our intellectual baggage to the insight of our colleagues, we
would like to acknowledge them collectively for their contribution to this workshop handbook, be it conscious or
unconscious, direct or unwitting. These are Dmitri Beliaev, Erik Boot, Pierre Robert Colas, Hugo García
Capistrán, Nikolai Grube, Stanley Guenter, Stephen Houston, Kerry Hull, Alfonso Lacadena, Barbara MacLeod,
Simon Martin, Peter Mathews, Joel Palka, Carlos Pallán Gayol, Christian Prager, Linda Schele, David Stuart, Erik
Velásquez García, Robert Wald, Søren Wichmann, and Marc Zender.
Special thanks are addressed to the colleagues who have made valuable suggestions and corrections to the earlier
versions of this handbook: namely Ramzy Barrois, Ignacio Cases, Wilhelmina Dyster, Alfonso Lacadena, Simon
Martin, Christian Prager, Verónica Amellali Vázquez López, and Søren Wichmann. Furthermore, we would like
to thank Antti Arppe and Matti Miestamo for their insightful and constructive observations and consequent
modifications of the linguistic part of this volume. Also, our thanks go to the following people who have had an
influence on the present volume: Michael Coe, Antonio Cuxil Guitz, Albert Davletshin, Lolmay Pedro García
Matzar, Ian Graham, Sven Gronemeyer, Scott Johnson, John Justeson, Terry Kaufman, Justin Kerr, Guido
Krempel, Danny Law, John Montgomery, Dorie Reents-Budet, Joel Skidmore, and Mark Van Stone. Moreover, we
would like to thank the late Linda Schele for initiating the formula of the workshops on Maya hieroglyphic
writing.
Last but not least, the authors would also like to express more personal gratitudes. The Senior author thanks Asta,
Hilla, and Otso Kettunen for their support and affection. The Junior author wishes to thank Reinhart, Françoise
and Eric Helmke and Julie Nehammer Helmke for unflagging emotional support.
Due to the fact that this handbook is designed for beginners’ purposes and intended to be a concise introduction
to the topic, we find it extraneous to cite all the people involved in deciphering particular hieroglyphs or
producing ideas, insights, and discoveries related to the subject. We would therefore like to apologize for any
substantial omissions regarding ignored acknowledgements, and would welcome feedback in this regard.
This handbook is also designed for more advanced students, and it should be noted here that some parts of the current volume (e.g. Chapter 4.
Conventions of Transliterating and Transcribing Maya Texts, Appendix I: Synharmonic vs. Disharmonic Spelling, Underspelled Sounds, and
Reconstructed Glottal Fricatives in Maya Hieroglyphic Writing and Appendix J: Notes on Classic Maya Grammarare intended for students
already exposed to the Maya writing system, and are only expected to be skimmed through by beginners. This Introduction is intended to be as
short as possible as regards to the main part of the volume, but additional information is provided to the audience with extra craving for the
intricacies of the Maya script.
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Introduction
NOTE ON THE ORTHOGRAPHY
The conventions of orthography have plagued Maya studies since the very beginning of the discipline. Maya
words have been and still are written in sundry fashion. One illuminating example is the numerously used word
for ‘lord’ or ‘king’ which appears at least in five different forms in the Maya literature: ahau, ahaw, ajau, ajaw and
’ajaw. Since the ratification of the new official alphabets for the Guatemalan Maya languages (Acuerdo Gubernativo
numero 1046-87 [23rd of November 1987]) and its modification (Acuerdo Gubernativo numero 129-88 [2nd of March
1988]), and its subsequent publication (Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala: Documento de referencia para la pronunciación de
los nuevos alfabetos oficiales), most but not all Maya scholars around the world have started to use the new alphabet
in their publications, with one addition, the distinction between h/j for Classic Maya.
When it comes to the application of this new alphabet, one can notice various ways of dealing with the issue. The
conventions of the orthography usually touch four “domains” of groups of words:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
Words in different Maya languages;
Maya words that are considered to be somewhat constant in the terminology of the Maya studies (such
as day and month names [derived from colonial Yukatek]);
Place and proper names
Names of languages and ethnic groups
On the other end of the “scale” are scholars, who use new alphabets for the words in Maya languages but retain
the custom of using old (colonial) alphabets for the cases #2-4; in the middle of the scale are scholars with various
solutions: some are applying the new alphabet for the Guatemalan Maya languages only (case #1), and old
alphabets for the others; both of these might use either old or new orthography in the case #2. The Maya name for
a so-called ‘day’ may be particularly revealing in this regard: e.g. Cauac/Kawak (see the section on Day Names,
below).
On the other end of the “scale” are scholars, who employ the new alphabets not only in the cases #1-2, but also in
the cases #3-4 thus using Yukatan instead of Yucatan, Waxaktun instead of Uaxactun, and K’iche’ instead of
Quiche or Quiché. Also, most scholars who have started employing the new orthography in all of the cases stated
above, still maintain the convention of using traditional orthography for languages and ethnic groups outside the
Maya realm, thus using words such as Q’eqchi’, Kaqchikel, and Wastek in the same text with Mixe, Zoque, and
Nahuatl instead of using either one of the following sets:
(a) Q’eqchi’, Kaqchikel, Wastek, Mihe, Soke, and Nawatl
(b) Kekchi, Cakchiquel, Huastec, Mixe, Zoque, and Nahuatl
Our position in this medley is that of finding a closely argued, consistent, and coherent standpoint. We have
chosen to follow the sequent logic: when it comes to the Maya words, whether in the form of the above stated
cases #1 or #2, we have chosen to follow the “new alphabet”. In the case of the place names we have chosen not to
follow the usage of the “new alphabet” since most place names are well established in the geographical
vocabulary, including maps and road signs, and, furthermore, reflect a world-wide custom of natural
“frozenness” of place names (on the same grounds the cities of Leicester and Gloucester in England retain their
old orthographies, and their spellings are not revised to *Lester and *Gloster, respectively). Thus we are inclined
to hold back to the traditional orthography in the case of such place names as Yucatan (not *Yukatan), Edzna (not
*Etz’na or *Ets’na), Coba (not *Koba), and Uaxactun (instead of *Waxaktun or *Waxaktuun). Also, the accents
represented on Maya words are redundant since all words of Maya origin are pronounced with the stress placed
on their last syllable. Thus, the use of Spanish-derived accents is eliminated: thus e.g. Tonina instead of *Toniná4.
The only exception is the usage of accents that represent tones in languages such as Yukatek.
However, in the case of the names of the Maya languages and “nations” we have chosen to follow the “new”
orthography on the ground of practicality and rationality: practicality in the sense that the new forms of the
languages and nations have been accepted (with some exceptions) by most scholars whether they live in Central
On the same grounds, for example, all words in Finnish (including place names) are not marked with accents due to the fact that in Finnish the
stress is always on the first syllable; thus: Helsinki, not *Hélsinki (asterisks are used here to indicate incorrect spellings).
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Introduction
America, Mexico, the United States or Europe (regardless of the respective languages they employ); rationality in
the sense that the new orthographies reflect the names of the languages and nations far better than the older
somewhat inconsistent names.
This reasoning is not, however, accepted by some scholars who – with an understandable and well-grounded
argumentation – rationalize that the names of the Maya languages and nations in the English language are English
words, i.e. it is not reasonable to assume that the change of the orthography of a given language outside of
English speaking world affects English orthography. According to the same reasoning, English speaking people
use words such as German (not *Deutsch), visit countries and places such as Brittany (not *Bretagne), Saxony (not
*Sachsen), and Finland (not *Suomi), talk about languages such as French (not *français), Swedish (not *svenska),
and Spanish (not *español), etc. From our viewpoint, names of the Maya languages and nations do not fall into a
same type of category as the previous examples. They are less well known and less used in common spoken or
written language, and are, therefore, more easily to be “revised” if needed.
In this handbook we will follow the new alphabet and new orthography when dealing with Maya names and
terminology, but we shall continue using the old orthography when employing names of Maya origin that have
been incorporated into English. The ‘old’ or so-called ‘Colonial’ orthography is thus used here to render place
names (i.e. toponyms). The only adjustment to the orthography used for modern Maya languages in Guatemala
(see above) is the elimination of the redundant apostrophe marking the glottal stop of the bilabial sound /b/ – as
there is no opposition (/b/ ~ /b’/) in Maya languages (except for Spanish loanwords).
I
INTRODUCTION
The earliest known Maya texts date back to the third century BC, and the latest were written around the time of
the Spanish Conquest, although it is possible that the tradition to write with hieroglyphs survived until the 17th
century in areas unaffected by Spanish control, such as in Tayasal in Northern Petén. A very rough estimate of
around 5,000 individual texts can be suggested to account for those that have so far been discovered
archaeologically or they are found in the museums or private collections around the world. Most of these texts
were written during the Classic period (AD 200–900) on ceramic vessels and on stone monuments, such as stelae
(sg. stela) and lintels. Besides these we have hieroglyphic texts on a number of other media and locations, such as
codices5, wooden lintels, stucco façades, frescoes on the walls of buildings, cave walls, animal shells, bones,
jadeite, obsidian, brick, clay, etc.
The system of Maya hieroglyphic writing consists of more than one thousand different signs. However, many of
these signs are either variations of the same sign (allographs) or signs with the same reading (homophones), or
they were utilized only at a given period of time or in a given location. Thus, the total of hieroglyphs used at any
one time did not exceed an inventory of more than 500 signs6.
The Maya writing system is described linguistically as a logosyllabic system, comprised of signs representing
whole words (logograms) and syllables (syllabic signs, which can either work as syllables or phonetic signs).
There are approximately 200 different syllabic/phonetic signs in the Maya script, of which around 60 percent
comprise of homophonic signs. Thus, there are some 80 phonetic syllables in the Classic Maya language and
about 200 graphemic syllables in the script. Once contrasted to other Mesoamerican writing systems, it is apparent
that the ancient Maya used a system of writing that had the potential to record linguistic structures as complex as
the syntax present in the oral manifestations of their languages. In practice, however, the writing system is a
graphemic abbreviation of highly complex syntactical structures and thus many items omitted had to be provided
by readers intimately familiar with the language the script records.
All the four surviving readable Maya codices, or books, date back to the Postclassic period (AD 1000–1697). The Maya codices were manufactured
using the inner bark of different species of amate (fig tree, Ficus cotonifolia, Ficus padifolia). These were folded into the shape of an accordion that
can be folded and unfolded like a screen. Besides the Postclassic codices, there are a few examples of Classic period codices that have been
uncovered archaeologically in burials (cf. e.g. Angulo 1970, Coe 1990, and Fash 1992). However, these codices have been affected so adversely by
the tropical climate, that these have been reduced to amorphous heaps of organic remains, plaster and pigment.
6 Michael Coe (1992: 262) gives a lot lower number of 200–300 glyphs used at any given time with the total of 800 glyphs in the Maya script in
general.
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Introduction
1. HISTORY OF DECIPHERMENT
The history of the decipherment of the Maya script is an intriguing account, nearly 500 years in duration, wherein
a functional understanding of the writing system was pursued, a system that at a first glance looks as alien as can
possibly be imagined. It is impossible to relate even the basic features of these histories in this volume, but some
outlines of the most important discoveries should be mentioned in order for the reader to be able to comprehend
how some of the readings came about.
In 1862, while looking for New World research material at the Royal Academy of History in Madrid, a French
clergyman by the name of Charles Étienne Brasseur de Bourbourg came upon a manuscript titled Relación de las
cosas de Yucatán7 written by a bishop Diego de Landa. Two years later, Brasseur de Bourbourg published the
manuscript as a bilingual edition (Spanish and French) by the name of Relation des choses de Yucatán de Diego de
Landa.
Three decades prior, American lawyer and travel writer John Lloyd Stephens set off
with English artist Frederick Catherwood, from New York to travel to the Maya area
via Belize. During their annual sojourns between 1839 and 1842, they explored
ruined Maya sites, wrote reports, drafted maps and sketched ancient sculptures and
buildings. Through their efforts they made the “lost cities” of the Maya known for
the general audience in two lavishly illustrated volumes: Incidents of Travel in Central
America, Chiapas, and Yucatan (1841) and Incidents of Travel in Yucatan (1843). In the
first of these volumes Stephens wrote of Copan:
In regard to the age of this desolate city I shall not at present offer any conjecture. Some idea
might perhaps be formed from the accumulations of earth and the gigantic trees growing on the
top of the ruined structures, but it would be uncertain and unsatisfactory. Nor shall I at this
moment offer any conjecture in regard to the people who built it, or to the time when or the
means by which it was depopulated, and became a desolation and ruin; whether it fell by the
sword, or famine, or pestilence. The trees which shroud it may have sprung from the blood of
its slaughtered inhabitants; they may have perished howling with hunger; or pestilence, like
the cholera, may have piled its streets with dead, and driven forever the feeble remnants from
their homes; of which dire calamities to other cities we have authentic accounts, in eras both
prior and subsequent to the discovery of the country by the Spaniards. One thing I believe,
that its history is graven on its monuments. Who shall read them? (Stephens 1993 [1841]:
59).
This challenge was probably put forward by Stephens in view of the fact that
the Egyptian script had been cracked (by Jean-François Champollion) just
decades prior to the publication of his book. However, during Stephen’s times
there was no Rosetta stone8 available for the still nascent Maya studies. After
the discovery of Landa’s Relación by Brasseur de Bourbourg, the scholars thought
they had the Rosetta stone of Maya studies at their disposal.
In one of the pages Landa describes what he thought were Maya alphabetic
characters. The so-called Landa alphabet (see Figure 28) was just about instantly
condemned to be a misunderstanding by this Spanish clergyman (which it was –
to a certain point at least). Thus, it was assumed that this ‘alphabet’ was useless.
Consequently, no correlation or academic examination worthy of consideration
were completed during the following hundred years.
One of the problems was that both Landa and the scholars of the late
19th century, up to those of the 1950’s, failed to understand that the
Maya script was not alphabetic or solely phonetic (or merely
logographic for that matter)9. At first scholars tried to apply the Landa alphabet directly (but, time and again,
unsuccessfully) to the Maya script. On the other hand – at around the same time – the logograms for calendrical
Figure 1: Stela A, Copan, Honduras
(drawing by Frederick Catherwood)
The manuscript is actually an abridgement of the original by Diego de Landa Calderón, written around 1566 in Spain, but never recovered since.
This abridgement proceeded from one copyist to another until a later version (written around 1660) was uncovered by Brasseur de Bourbourg.
8 The Rosetta stone was discovered in 1798 during the intrusion of the Napoleonic army in Egypt. It contained three parallel texts in Greek,
demotic Egyptian, and hieroglyphic Egyptian. The proper names in the parallel texts were the basis for cracking the Egyptian hieroglyphs.
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Introduction
signs depicted in the Relación were successfully applied to Maya texts. Based on the success of logographic signs
and the failure of so-called alphabetic ones, it was deemed that Maya writing on the whole could not be
phonetic10.
The study of Maya hieroglyphs advanced towards the 1950’s steadily in stages, especially as relates to the glyphs
forming the calendrical parts of texts11. Perhaps as a direct consequence, the idea was developed that the Maya
script was purely logographic. In the same vein, it was presumed that the content of the inscriptions dealt almost
exclusively with astronomical and non-historical matters, an idea that prevailed in the academic circles of the
time. Attempts to read Maya hieroglyphs (or parts of the hieroglyphs) phonetically were doomed to failure or,
conversely, neglected by the leading scholars of the time. However, beginning already in the 19th century, several
prolific interpretations were made by a handful of researchers. Nevertheless, all of these scholars failed to find a
systematic method to fully clarify their ideas.
In 1876, a French academic by the name of Léon Louis Lucien Prunol de Rosny proposed in his study
Déchiffrement de l’Écriture Hiératique de l’Amérique Centrale that Maya hieroglyphic writing was partly based on
phonetic signs. His work on the Maya hieroglyphs and his linguistic background along with his knowledge of
other writing systems in the world made him conclude that the Maya script consist of both logograms and
phonetic signs. However, third of a century passed by after de Rosny’s noteworthy work until the first systematic
study of the phonetic content of the Maya script saw daylight.
In the beginning of 1950’s a researcher
from the Institute of Ethnology in
Leningrad, Yuri Knorozov, tested out
the Landa alphabet once again, and
compared them with the then few
existing reproductions of the three
known Maya codices (Villacorta and
Villacorta 1933) that the Red Army had
apparently stumbled on and ‘rescued’
in 1945 in Berlin.12
The method used by Knorozov was to
study writing systems, which had
already been deciphered. Based on
Figure 2: The Landa “Alphabet”
shared similarities between them, and
(adapted after Coe and Kerr 1998: 228)
the number of signs used by each type
of writing system, Knorozov suggested
that the Maya writing system was comprised of logograms and phonetic signs. In the broad strokes the Maya
writing system was thought to resemble the Japanese writing system.
Knorozov set out to test his ideas by using the Landa Alphabet as though it were (partly) comprised not of
alphabetic signs, but syllabic ones. The syllabic approach was supported by the fact that this was a typical feature
of other ancient scripts which had been deciphered previously. He applied some of these signs directly to the
9 In 1915 Sylvanus Morley wrote in his An Introduction to the Study of Maya Hieroglyphs: “It is apparent at the outset that the first of these theories [that the
glyphs are phonetic, each representing some sound, and entirely dissociated from the representation of any thought or idea] can not be accepted in its
entirety; for although there are undeniable traces of phoneticism among the Maya glyphs, all attempts to reduce them to a phonetic system or alphabet,
which will interpret the writing, have signally failed”. (Morley 1975: 26-27 [our italics]).
10 Largely due to unsuccessful attempts by linguists like Benjamin Lee Whorf to prove that the Maya script had phonetic signs as well as logographic,
Eric Thompson wrote the following in 1950 in his Maya Hieroglyphic Writing: An Introduction: “It had been my intention to ignore Whorf’s (1933, 1942)
attempts to read the Maya hieroglyphic writing, supposing that all students of the subject would by now have consigned them to that limbo which
already holds the discredited interpretations of Brasseur de Bourbourg (1869-70), de Rosny (1876), Charency (1876), Le Plongeon, Cresson (1894), and
Cyrus Thomas (1886) [...] Whorf’s writings are a direful warning to those with a similary uncritical approach to the hieroglyphic problems.”
11 Towards the end of the 19th century, a Saxon librarian by the name of Ernst Förstemann studied the calendrical part of Landa’s Relación
together with the Dresden Codex and other Maya texts. He discovered that the Maya used a vigesimal, or base twenty, system in their
calculations, and that they employed the concept of zero in their mathematical system. Förstemann also worked out the Venus tables, the Tzolk’in
calendar, and the lunar tables in the Dresden codex, and discovered the Long Count system in Maya monumental texts. Early 20th century saw
other discoveries, as the identification of head variants for Maya numerals, and the correlation between the Maya Long Count dates and
Gregorian dates by Joseph T. Goodman, and American journalist.
12 Kettunen 1998a & 1998b. Note that it appears that Knorozov never entered Berlin during the Second World War but, rather, became familiar
with the Villacorta edition in post-war Soviet Union.
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Introduction
corresponding ones in the Maya codices. One of the signs in the codices was Landa’s cu13 followed by a then
unknown sign. These signs were above a figure representing a turkey, and, consequently, Knorozov assumed that
the glyph represents the animal depicted14. This assumption was supported by the repeated association between
that glyphic collocation and the representation of the turkey in the codices.
In Yukatek Maya the word for ‘turkey’ is kutz (cutz in the old orthography; also used by Knorozov; hence the
words below are written in the old orthography to avoid anachronisms). Knorozov reasoned that the first sign
might represent the syllable cu, also represented in the “Landa Alphabet”, while the second, ought to be tzu
(assuming that the last vowel was dropped since most Maya words end with consonants, and the vowel in the
end he presumed to be /u/ according to the principle of synharmony)15.
Figure 3: Details from the Madrid and Dresden Codices, respectively (drawings by Carlos A. Villacorta)
As a result he reached the conclusion that the signs read: cu-tz(u). To verify this, Knorozov looked for a glyph
that started with the sign tzu, and found it above a picture depicting a dog (tzul in Yukatek), and, consequently,
the signs ought to be tzu and lu (the lu-sign is presented in the “Landa Alphabet” as letter “l”).
Knorozov went on with other glyphs in the codices, and arrived at a result, which was going to divide the
established school of Maya hieroglyphic studies in the Western academic tradition.
This rather straightforward theorem and its associated method
provided the key for the phonetic reading of various glyphs in
the Maya script, and irrevocably changed the course of the
Maya hieroglyphic studies. However, change in the field
would not be visible for another twenty years, largely due to
the cold war politics of the iron curtain, language barriers and
lack of communication between academic arenas16.
Besides the work of Knorozov, the 1950’s and 1960’s saw two
other developments in the decipherment of the Maya script.
Both of these were to have an important impact on the
discipline. In late 1950’s, Heinrich Berlin, a German-born
grocery wholesaler living in Mexico, discovered what he
called “el glifo ‘emblema’” (“Emblem Glyphs”): hieroglyphs
that are linked with specific cities or lineages in the Maya
inscriptions17. In 1960, Tatiana Proskouriakoff, a Russian-born
Figure 4: Lintel 8, Yaxchilan, Mexico
(drawing by Ian Graham).
This is ku in the new orthography (see chapter ‘Note on the Orthography’).
14 The ‘Knorozovian method’ is simplified here, and below, to provide readers with a rough grasp on how the system works. For a more detailed
analysis one should consult either the studies including analyses of the Knorozovian method (e.g. Coe 1992), or, preferably, work by Knorozov
himself.
15 Already in 1876, de Rosny had applied the Landa Alphabet for Maya codices. He also used Landa’s cu-sign for the first symbol in the glyph
depicting a turkey in the Madrid Codex, and speculated that the complete hieroglyph might stand for cutz, or “turkey” in Yukatek.
16 In his book Maya Hieroglyphs Without Tears Thompson writes: “Overmuch space has been assigned to this ‘system’ because it has attracted amateurs
and a sprinkling of linguists with little or no knowledge of Maya hieroglyphs; keys to codes and simple explanations of complex matters have strange
powers to allure. I know of only one serious student of the subject who supports the Knorozov system, and he with reservations.” (Thompson 1972:
31).
17 Berlin 1958: 111-119.
13
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Introduction
American, published for the first time evidence that the texts of Maya monuments did indeed contain historical
records18. Around the same time the “great names” in the field of Maya studies, J. Eric S. Thompson and
Sylvanus G. Morley, declared that the Maya hieroglyphic corpus merely contained dates without any historical
information. They also argued that the texts on ceramic vessels were crude copies of monumental inscriptions
without any meaning or any linguistic value.
2. ORIGINS OF THE MAYA SCRIPT
The Maya were not the first or last to develop writing systems in Mesoamerica. Before the emergence of the first
known Maya hieroglyphs (in the third century BC) – or possibly around the same time19 – writing systems
already existed in at least three cultural areas in the region: in the so-called Olmec heartland in the southern coast
of the Gulf of Mexico, in the Oaxaca Valley, and in the highland valleys of Alta Verapaz in Southern Guatemala.
Writing in Mesoamerica developed during the late Olmec times, around 700–500 BC, and probably originated
from Olmec iconography that preceded it. Whether this early ‘writing’ is true writing – or merely a composition
of iconic elements that do not represent sounds of any given language – can be debated20. This writing system
was later separated into two traditions in two different areas: the highlands of Mexico, and the highlands of
Guatemala and Chiapas with an adjacent area in the Guatemalan Pacific coast.
The first known signs that can be identified as part of the Maya hieroglyphic writing system can be found at San
Bartolo in present day Northern Guatemala21. In Structure 1 of San Bartolo one can find early versions of at least 4
signs (syllables/syllabograms mo, po, and ja, and a sign for ‘lord’ or AJAW22). Other early textual indications
from the Maya Lowlands of known archaeological context come from the site of Cerros in Northern Belize. On
the masonry masks fronting Structure 5C-2nd two glyphs can be identified: YAX (blue-green / first) and K’IN (sun
/ day). Roughly contemporaneous to the Cerros example is a masonry mask from Lamanai Structure N9-56 which
bears the glyph for AK’AB (night / darkness) on its cheek.
Yet another early Maya text is found on a reused Olmec greenstone pectoral (the so-called Dumbarton Oaks jade
plaque, Figure 5), which can be dated stylistically as being contemporaneous to the Cerros masks. On the back of
the jadeite pectoral are incisions representing the portrait of a seated Maya ruler and two double columns of
hieroglyphs.
Figure 5: Text and image from a reused Olmec greenstone pectoral (drawing by Harri Kettunen)
In another early text, a carving on a cliff at the site of San Diego, southern Peten, a standing Maya ruler is
depicted with a double column of 19 glyphs. This carving shows that the layout for recording dates (the first two
[missing] glyphs, the large Initial Series Introductory Glyph (commonly referred as an ISIG-sign23), and the
Proskouriakoff 1960: 454-475.
See Saturno, Taube, and Stuart 2005 & Saturno, Stuart, and Beltrán 2006.
20 See Houston 2004.
21 See Saturno, Taube, and Stuart 2005 & Saturno, Stuart, and Beltrán 2006.
22 See Saturno, Taube, and Stuart 2005.
23 See Appendix E: Note on the Calendar.
18
19
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Introduction
following four glyphs) was still fairly flexible and inconsistent. This carving, along with the Dumbarton Oaks jade
pectoral, represents the events that were to be most frequently documented on subsequent Maya monuments,
namely bloodletting and royal accession. From the beginning of the Classic Period (ca. AD 250) the Maya script
developed into a more consistent and more rigid system that is explained in the following chapters.
3. LANGUAGE(S) OF THE HIEROGLYPHS
Until very recently the study of Maya hieroglyphs was a linguistic oddity. Most scholars in the field worked with
their respective languages when translating Maya hieroglyphs, and did not realize that the key to understanding
Maya hieroglyphs is a basic working knowledge of (at least one) Maya language. Obviously until the work of
Knorozov and Proskouriakoff24, there were few tools to work with in the first place. However, most scholars at
the time suffered from a type of scientific myopia, as none tried to apply any of the modern Maya languages to
the ancient script. Nowadays it is well established that the languages of the glyphs are very similar to several
modern Maya languages.
Today there are approximately 30 Maya languages spoken in Southern Mexico, Yucatan, Belize, Guatemala, and
Honduras constituting a population of approximately six million speakers. These languages are vaguely
distinguished between the highland and lowland Maya languages. Most likely the highland Maya languages, or
linguistic subgroups, i.e. Q’anjobalan, Q’eqchi’an, Mamean, K’iche’an, and Tojolabalan, had little or nothing to do
with the hieroglyphic texts that have preserved to this day. On the other hand, the lowland subgroups, Ch’olan,
Tzeltalan, and Yukatekan, are more intimately related to the ancient script.
Nowadays there is substantial evidence that nearly all of the Maya hieroglyphic texts were written in an Eastern
Ch’olan language, which has been labeled as “Classic Maya”, “Classic Mayan” or “Classic Ch’olti’an” (Houston,
Robertson, and Stuart 2000) by the linguists. The closest modern relative of this language is Ch’orti’, which is
spoken in a relatively small area in Eastern Guatemala and Western Honduras (near the ruins of Copan). Besides
the Classic Maya language there is some evidence of the influence of other lowland languages in the Maya
hieroglyphic corpus: Tzeltalan in a few texts at Tonina, Yukatekan at various sites in the northern part of the
Yucatan peninsula, and isolated Nahua words that appear in various texts25. Moreover, evidence of the influence
of Highland Maya language(s) in Chama and Nebaj style ceramics has recently been asserted by a number of
scholars (see Beliaev 2005).
Proskouriakoff herself never accepted Knorozov’s phonetic approach but, on the other hand, she established the structural methodology to the
study of Maya glyphs still used today. This structural approach requires no assumption about the character of the language under investigation.
25 Lacadena and Wichmann 2000, 2002b and Alfonso Lacadena, personal communication 2010.
24
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II
Introduction
THE WRITING SYSTEM
4. CONVENTIONS OF TRANSLITERATING AND TRANSCRIBING MAYA TEXTS26
When it comes to transliterating Classic Maya texts, the following rules are applied in this volume:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
Transliterations should be represented in boldface letters
Logograms should be written in BOLDFACE UPPERCASE letters
Syllabic signs (syllabograms) should be written in boldface lowercase letters
Individual signs within a given glyph block should be separated by hyphens (dashes)
Question marks should be used in the following manner:
(a) Separated by hyphens within a given glyph block when the reading is not known
(b) Standing alone (isolated) when the reading of a whole glyph(block) is not known
(c) Immediately following a transliterated syllabogram or a logogram when the reading of a given sign
has not been fully attested or is otherwise questionable or uncertain.
(6) Reconstructed (analyzed) sounds, such as underspelled sounds, glottal fricatives (/h/), and glottal plosives/
stops (’), long vowels or any complex vowels for that matter should not be represented at this juncture of the
transliteration process. This practice extends to logograms as well, which should be represented in their
simplest possible form. The transliteration we use is otherwise known as a broad transliteration – excluding
all analyzed sounds that are not inherent parts of hieroglyphs but were, conversely, indicated by
orthography rules (based on historical and comparative linguistics and internal evidence from the writing
system itself).
As regards to transcribing Maya texts, the following rules are applied:
(1) Transcriptions should be represented in italics
(2) Long vowels and glottal sounds derived from orthography rules27 are to be indicated without [square
brackets]; whereas:
(3) Reconstructed sounds based on historical, internal, or paleographic evidence should be represented in [square
brackets]. Thus the transcription practice we use is called a narrow transcription (including reconstructed
sounds based either on historical, internal, or paleographic evidence – instead of broad transcription that
excludes these reconstructions).
There are different ways of analyzing texts linguistically. The two most common ones are presented on page 73,
being described as morphological segmentation and morphological analysis. The first stage of linguistic analysis
represents morphological boundaries divided by hyphens. So-called zero-morphemes are represented by a Øsign. In the second type of linguistic analysis the grammatical description of the words is made explicit. There are
several methodological ways to describe these components, and the decision is usually left for editors in case of
publications. Here we use lowercase letters for glosses28 and CAPITAL LETTERS for linguistic terminology.
26 Transliteration refers to the conversion of one writing system into another whereas transcription refers to the method of conveying the sounds of
the source word by letters in the target language (Crystal 2008: 490, 494). Note that this practice is in reverse order from that of the previous
editions of this workbook. The logic behind the adjustment of the terminology is in the fact that these two terms are used in a reverse order in
most schools in linguistics around the world – and also in Maya epigraphy in Spanish.
27 See from page 63 onwards in this volume.
28 A gloss is a short general translation of a word or morpheme which does not take into account the context in which it occurs.
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The Wrriting System
wing is to serv
ve as an example how the ab
bove indicated
d stages functtion:
The follow
1. a-wo-la
2. awo[h]l
3. aw-ohl
4. 2SE-heart
5. “your heart”
1. chu-ka-ja
2. chu[h]kaj
3. chu[h]k-aj-Ø
4. capture[PAS]]-THM-3SA
5. “he/she was captured”
c
1 = translitteration
2 = transcription (& phono
ological reconsttruction)
ological segmen
ntation
3 = morpho
4 = morpho
ological / morph
ho-syntactic anaalysis29
5 = translattion
When traanslating May
ya texts one sh
hould keep in
n mind that th
here are variou
us ways of in
nterpreting giv
ven words
and senteences. Quite often
o
one findss rather rigid translations (or
( more preciisely glosses/ glossing) of given
g
texts
where the sentences arre translated (or glossed) word-to-word
w
d. One should keep in mind
d that this is not a real
on per se but raather a method
d to show how
w the sentencee is structured
d in the origin
nal language as opposed
translatio
to the (tarrget) languagee into which th
he sentence is translated.
d
into different
d
stagess and version
ns where one ccan move from
m rigid to
The actuaal translation can also be divided
less strictt translations. The actual meaning
m
of a word
w
or a clau
use might be different
d
in an
nother languag
ge, but the
original concept
c
should
d be preserved
d at least in on
ne of the stagees of translatin
ng the text. In the example on
o page 17
the expreession “his/heer (?) white wind/breath
w
go
ot withered” serves as a metaphor
m
or aas a euphemissm for the
targeted meaning
m
of “h
he/she died.” However, su
uch a ‘loose tra
anslation’ can
n only be achieved by undeerstanding
the culturrally-specific idiom
i
which is used, thereb
by eliminating the subtletiess of the originaal expression.
ds translating Maya names and titles, we are leaning to
owards the rou
utine of not translating them
m at all, or
As regard
translatin
ng only well-aattested titles. This approach
h is based on the fact that the
t concepts w
which these em
mbody are
not easily
y translated by
b a single word
w
in Englissh (as volumees may be wrritten on each
h concept to clarify
c
the
specific meaning
m
of eacch title).
Modus opeerandi30:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Select a text
Translliterate the text
a.
D not mark recconstructed soun
Do
nds
b.
U lowercase bold
Use
b
for syllabicc signs
c.
U UPPERCAS
Use
SE BOLD for logograms
Transccribe the text
a.
u italics
use
b.
a reconstructed
all
d sounds (excep
pt for those baseed on orthography rules should
d be represented
d in [square brackkets]
Analyzze the text
a.
d
divide
morphem
mes by hyphens
b.
m
mark
grammaticcal elements
Transllate the text usin
ng different stag
ges of translation
Finally on
ne should go back to the original
o
(hiero
oglyphic) text, and through these steps, un
nderstand it. Eventually
E
you shou
uld reach the point
p
where you
y go back to
o the original text, and und
derstand it witthout the restrictions of
your innaate grammar.
PASsive voice,
v
THeMatic su
uffix, 3rd person Singular
S
Absolutiive pronoun. See also
a
Glossary of Linguistic
L
Termino
ology.
During th
he Maya hieroglyp
phic workshops it is not sensible or
o even possible to
t go through witth all the stages liisted here. More commonly, a
strategy of structural
s
analysis is
i employed along
g with basic translliterations, transcrriptions and translations.
29
30
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The Wrriting System
5. READ
DING ORDER
R
Figu
ure 6: Reading order of the texxt on the basal register
r
of Stelaa 11 from Yaxch
hilan.
xts are written
n from left to right and from top to botto
om in column
ns of two. Excceptions to
As a rulee, the Maya tex
this general rule are kn
nown, especiaally in small portable
p
itemss, ceramic vessels, lintels, u
uncommon gra
affito, and
nted on cave walls. There are
a also texts written in mirror
m
image, but
b these are extremely rarre. For the
texts pain
texts thatt do not follow
w the general rule, the read
ding order is determined
d
eiither by looking into the sttructure of
the passaage(s), or comp
paring it with other parallell clauses (senttences recordiing similar or identical conttent with a
similar orr identical syn
ntax structure))31.
Reading order
o
within any
a glyph block usually folllows the samee rule as with the whole tex
xt: from left to
o right and
from top to bottom. However,
H
instaances are kno
own wherein aesthetic conssiderations might compel a scribe to
rearrangee the individual elements within
w
a collocaation.
mmon prima facie exceptionss to the internaal reading ord
der rule are thee AJAW glyph
h, and the loca
ative NAL
Most com
superfix, which are seeemingly placeed on top of a given glyph,, but read lastt: e.g. K’UH A
AJAW-wa MU
UT-la (The
r
k’uhul Mu
utul ajaw, and NAL-yi-chi iss read yichnal.
Holy Lord of Tikal) is read
This seem
ming exceptio
on actually folllows the third type of inteernal reading order, i.e. that of front to back. For
example, even though
h the NAL gly
yph is graphem
mically written
n on top of th
he yi and chi glyphs, it wa
as actually
perceived
d by the May
ya as a full-fig
gure NAL gly
yph with only
y the topmost part visible behind the yi
y and chi
glyphs.32
A
AJAW:
NAB:
NAL:
T
TE’:
“Superrfixed”
glyph:
Full--figure
glyph:
Note that the letters design
nating glyph bloccks (such as A1-B11-A2-B2-A3 and so
s on) do not alw
ways correspond th
he reading order in texts with
onal reading ordeers. I.e. the letters and numbers onlly give the readerr a point of referen
nce in a given tex
xt when one is com
mmunicating
unconventio
about the gllyphs with other scholars
s
without seeing the glyphs themselves.
t
32 For comp
parison, see the AJJAW glyphs on paage 15.
31
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The Writing System
6. COMPOUND GLYPHS, INFIXING, AND CONFLATIONS
The graphic conventions of Maya hieroglyphic writing form a very flexible system, but quite often these are for
the most part just puzzling for an untrained eye. There are a number of ways of writing the same word without
changing the reading and / or meaning. Chum tuun means “stone-seating” and refers to the beginning of the 360day period. This can be written in various manners:
CHUM[mu]33 TUN-ni
CHUM[mu] TUN-ni
CHUM[TUN-ni]
CHUM-TUN (or CHUMTUN)
CHUM with infixed phonetic
complement /mu/ & TUN with
phonetic complement /ni/
CHUM with infixed phonetic
complement /mu/ & TUN with
phonetic complement /ni/
TUN-ni infixed inside
the CHUM glyph
conflation of both signs
independent glyph blocks
compound glyph blocks with
suppressed left sign
infixation
conflation: merging of the
diagnostic traits of two distinct
signs into one
Any one of the arrangements above can occur in any text and more than one can be used in a single text. The
reason for this is both economic and artistic: sometimes the scribe might have run out of space, and sometimes
variations were used to avoid repetition or graphemic tautology (see also the variations with logograms and
phonetic complements below).
In the following example, the metaphorical death statement of Itzamnaaj Bahlam, the king of Yaxchilan, and Lady
Pakal, his mother, is recorded in the same monument in two different (but parallel) ways, with the latter being
compressed to cover a space of one glyph block instead of two:
K’A’-yi u-[?]SAK-IK’-li
k’a’ay / k’a’aay u…? [u]sak ik’[i]l / ik’[aa]l
k’a’-ay-Ø / k’a’-aay-Ø u-? [u-]sak-ik’-il / -ik-aal
wither-MPAS-3SA 3SE-? [3SE-]white-wind-POS
“It got withered, his/her ?, his/her white wind/breath”
(Yaxchilan, Lintel 27: A2-B2)
K’A’-yi-u-[?]SAK-IK’
k’a’ay / k’a’aay u…? [u]sak ik’[il] / ik’[aal]
k’a’-ay-Ø / k’a’-aay-Ø u-? [u-]sak-ik’[-il] / -ik[-aal]
wither-MPAS-3SA 3SE-? [3SE-]white-wind
“It got withered, his/her ?, his/her white wind/breath”
(Yaxchilan, Lintel 27: F2)
In addition, different signs of equal phonetic value might be used variably throughout a text, again for aesthetic
reasons. It is due to such interchangeability that signs of unknown value can be deciphered if the case is made
that it equates another glyph of known value.
33 Square brackets […] are used in transliterations to designate infixed syllables or words (and in epigraphic analysis to indicate reconstructed
sounds).
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The Writing System
ya-YAXUN?-BALAM
Yaxuun? Ba[h]lam
(Yaxchilan, Lintel 21: D7)
ba-ka-ba
ba[ah]kab
(K2914: O5)
ya-YAXUN?-BALAM-ma
Yaxuun? Ba[h]lam
(Yaxchilan, Lintel 30: G2)
ba-ka-ba
ba[ah]kab
(Yaxchilan, Lintel 2: Q1)
ya-YAXUN?-BALAM
Yaxuun? Ba[h]lam
(Yaxchilan, Hieroglyphic
Stairway, Step VII: Q6)
ba-ka-ba
ba[ah]kab
(Yaxchilan, Lintel 46: J1)
ya-YAXUN?-BALAM
Yaxuun? Ba[h]lam
(Yaxchilan, Lintel 43: B2)
ba-ka-KAB
ba[ah]kab
(K7146: A6)
ya-xu?-nu BALAM-ma
Yaxun? Ba[h]lam
(Najtunich, Drawing 69:
A1-A2)
ba/BAH-ka-ba
ba[ah]kab / ba[a]hkab
(Denver Panel: pA6b)
ya-xu?-ni BALAM
Yaxuun? Ba[h]lam
(Yaxchilan, Stela 12: D4-C5)
ba-ka-ba/BAH
ba[ah]kab
(Ek Balam, Mural of
the 96 Glyphs: M1)
Patterns like these stumped early efforts at decipherment and are thus important to understand. Consequently,
such patterns are explored in the following section.
7. LOGOGRAMS
The Maya writing system is a mixed, or logosyllabic, system, utilizing both logograms, and phonetic signs.
Logograms are signs representing meanings and sounds of complete words. In the two examples below, the word
for mountain, or witz, is written in two different ways, but both of them read witz. The one on the left is a (head
variant) logogram, and the one to the right is a logogram with a phonetic complement (see the chapters below)
attached to it.
WITZ
witz
“mountain”
wi-WITZ
witz
“mountain”
As a rule, the more frequently a given word is present in the hieroglyphic corpus, the more variations it appears
to have. A revealing case is that of the word ajaw or “lord” which offers dozens of different variations, including:
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The Writing System
AJAW
a-AJAW-wa
AJAW
AJAW-wa
8. SYLLABLES (SYLLABOGRAMS)
The Maya writing systems uses, besides logograms, also phonetic signs in expressing syllables, or more precisely:
syllabograms. These syllables can either work as CV (consonant-vowel) syllables, or C(V) sounds (the sound of the
consonant without the sound of the accompanying vowel). As a rule, the last vowel
of the last syllable in a given word drops out (and as always, there are exceptions to
 wi
this rule). Thus, the word for mountain, witz, can be written phonetically with two
syllables, wi and tzi. Since the last vowel is discarded (due to the harmony
principles), the word reads wi-tz(i) > witz.
 tzi
9. PHONETIC COMPLEMENTS
A phonetic complement is a sign that “helps” the reading of the logogram. It is a pronunciation “assistant” in
cases when the main sign has more than one possible reading. Phonetic complements are very common in the
Maya script, and they have also played a major role in the modern decipherment of the Maya writing system.
Phonetic complements, which cued ancient Maya readers, also cue modern readers thereby facilitating the
reading of ambivalent logographic signs.
In the following example, the syllable wi (shaded sign) works as a phonetic complement for the logogram WITZ.
The presence of the prefixed syllable wi- therefore informs us that the word represented by the logogram also
begins with the phonetic value wi-...
wi-WITZ
witz
“mountain”
In the example below, the syllabogram ki (shaded sign) is attached to the zoomorphic logogram to provide the
final sound …-k of the word Chahk (or Chaak) to distinguish it from a another reading of a similar head in the
word Kalomte’.
CHAK-ki
Chahk / Chaak
Name of a deity
KAL-TE’
Kalomte’ / Kaloomte’
Exalted royal title
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10. SEMANTIC DETERMINATIVES AND DIACRITICAL SIGNS
A semantic determinative is a sign that specifies the meaning of certain logograms that have more than one
meaning. Semantic determinatives, however, are without phonetic value (cf. Zender 1999: 14). The most oft-cited
example of a semantic determinative in the Maya script are the cartouches and pedestals that frame so-called ‘day
signs.’
IK’
ik’
“wind”
IK’
ik’
day sign ik’ (“wind”)
chi
chi
syllabogram chi
chi / KEJ?
chi[j] / ke[e]j
day sign manik’
(“deer”)
CHIJ / KEJ?
chi[j] / ke[e]j
day sign manik’
(“deer”)
Diacritical markers are signs without phonetic values that assist the reader in expressing the intended
pronunciation of a sign or word. Good examples of diacritical marks in Latin-based languages are the ‘cedilla’ of
the French word façade, as well as the many accents occurring in other European writing systems.
In the ancient Maya writing system, another, more common diacritical sign is represented by a pair of small dots.
The most common position of this diacritic is at the upper or lower left-hand corners of syllabic signs (for an
example, see kakaw below). This diacritic is known as a “syllabic doubling sign”, and as the name implies, serves
to double the phonetic value of the adjacent sign. Thus, for example, a ka syllabogram
is read kak(a), or a le sign read lel(e) when marked with the pair of dots. In
glyphic transliterations the presence of this diacritic is marked with a
number 2 in a position where it occurs in association with a syllabogram or
logogram – usually superfixed and prefixed as 2ka or 2le (using the
2ka-wa
examples cited above), although all four positions are possible:
kakaw
“cacao”
Detailed research reveals that these two dots serve to double the value of syllables / syllabograms, exclusively. In
the rare instances where this diacritic marks logograms, it is apparently meant to double value of syllabograms
that occur towards the end of internal reading order of glyphic collocations (that is at the bottom or right-hand
side of collocations). Consequently the favored position of this diacritic is at the beginning of glyphic collocations.
This positioning serves to cue the reader that doubling occurs within that specific glyph block. Also, on some rare
occasions the same diacritic sign marks CVC-logograms (words with consonant-vowel-consonant structure) that
begin and end with the same consonant. Good examples of these are the logograms K’AK’ “fire” and K’IK’ or
CH’ICH’ “blood”.
11. POLYVALENCE: POLYPHONY AND HOMOPHONY
One more confusing feature in the Maya writing system is polyvalence. In fact, this
feature is found in every single language in the world, but what makes it knotty in
the case of the Maya script, is that it adds to the complexity of the system for an
untrained eye. Polyphony (or homography) means that a given sign has different
sound values, and thus may be read differently (although written the same way).
In the Maya writing system, words (or sounds) that are read tuun and ku, can both
be written in the same manner.
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TUN / ku
tun~tuun / ku
“stone” / syllabogram ku
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Homophony, on the other hand, means that different signs represent the same phonetic value, as in a syllable or
word. In the Maya script, the words for snake, four, and sky are pronounced in the same manner (chan or kan
depending on the language) but they are all written using different signs:
CHAN
chan
“snake”
CHAN
chan
“four”
CHAN
chan
“sky”
All of the above might appear rather peculiar and foreign to most people that are used to operate with Latin
alphabet. However, our system also consists of letters and signs (logograms) that might appear alien to an eye
untrained to Latin alphabet. Also, especially in the case of languages with unsystematic (and less phonemic)
orthographies (such as English and French), the varying pronunciation of identical letters causes problems with
speakers of other languages.
An enlightening example is the sequence of letters <ough> that can be pronounced in nine different ways, as in
the following sentence (which includes all of them): “A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode
through the streets of Scarborough and after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed”. Another revealing
example is that of letter “x” which is pronounced in various ways in the following examples:
letter:
X
/s/
X
/ks/
X
/gz/
X
/kris/
X
/kros/
X
/ten/
pronunciation:
example:
‘xenophobia’
‘excel’
‘exist’
‘Xmas’
‘Xing’
‘(Roman numeral) ten’
Other meanings for the letter “x” are, for example, the following:
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
number 10
24th letter in the alphabet
unknown quantity
multiplication sign
negation (e.g. no smoking)
pornographic (X-rated)
location of place, object, etc.
signature of an illiterate
Other “logograms” in our system:
@ £ $ % & ? !+ § © € ♀ ♂ ®
Additionally, in English34 there are dozens of homographs, and hundreds of homophones. Consider the following
examples:
homographs:
•
conduct [’kondakt] (a standard of personal behavior) ⎯ conduct [kan’dakt] (to manage, control, or
direct)
•
minute [’minit] (a unit of time and angular measurement) ⎯ minute [mai’nju:t] (of very small size or
importance)
34
The examples given here are based on Hobbs 1999.
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homophones:
•
buy ⎯ by ⎯ bye
•
cite ⎯ sight ⎯ site
•
right ⎯ rite ⎯ wright ⎯ write
•
who’s ⎯ whose ⎯ hoos ⎯ hoose (verminous bronchitis of cattle)
•
weather ⎯ whether ⎯ wether (a castrated male sheep)
12. NUMBER OF KNOWN HIEROGLYPHS
One of the most common questions to epigraphers concerns the number or percentage of deciphered hieroglyphs.
The answer is somewhat more complex than one might expect. First of all, we have to consider what we mean by
“deciphered”. If we were to calculate the number of hieroglyphs whose phonetic value we know, the total would
be around 80 percent. On the other hand, if we were to estimate the number of signs whose meaning is securely
attested, the number is considerably lower, around 60 percent. The problem lies in the fact that there are a
number of hieroglyphs in the script whose:
•
phonetic value is known but the meaning escapes decipherment (more commonly in the case of fully
phonetically written signs)
•
meaning is known but the phonetic value is uncertain, vague, or not known at all
•
phonetic value and meaning are only partly known (for example a word standing for a ritual that was
performed before adulthood)
•
phonetic value and meaning are only partially known, or not at all
phonetic value:
yes
no
yes
completely deciphered
gray area
no
gray area
completely undeciphered
meaning:
Yet another problem is that of what we mean by saying that the meaning of a particular hieroglyph is known. The
meaning of a single hieroglyph or a set of hieroglyphs in a sentence might be known35 but the profound
contextual significance and implications of the word and sentences need to be checked against all other possible
sources, such as ethnology, archaeology, iconography, and present day manifestations of the Maya culture(s). In a
word, Maya epigraphy at its best is a multi- and interdisciplinary branch of learning heavily based on linguistics
but taking into account all possible sources and academic disciplines.
On the whole, in all its complexity, the Maya hieroglyphic system is merely one way to make a spoken language
visible, and to quote the late Yuri Knorozov: “I believe that anything invented by humans can be deciphered by
humans” (Kettunen 1998a).
A further distinction is made between a gloss and a translation: a gloss provides a reading for an isolated hieroglyph whereas an accurate
translation takes into account the syntax and semantics in the sentence.
35
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III
Grammar
GRAMMAR
13. WORD ORDER
The word order in the Maya hieroglyphic texts, and in the modern Maya languages alike, usually follows the
verb-object-subject (VOS) pattern (unlike English which usually employs SVO-constructions). However, very
often in the hieroglyphic texts the object is missing or omitted, and clauses usually begin with a date, giving us a
typical formula of Maya texts: date-verb-subject. Dates can often take up the major part of the texts, verbs only
one or two glyph blocks in each sentence, and personal names with titles can be as lengthy as the titles of
European monarchs.
calendar (temporal adverbial phrase)
DNIG
DN
day, month
ADI/PDI
tun
‘year’
k’atun
20 ‘years’
---
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tzolk’in
‘day’
haab
‘month’
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Figure 7: Tablet of 96 Glyphs, Palenque, Chiapas, México (drawing by Simon Martin)
clause proper
verb
(object)
prepositional
phrase
subject
(titles and) name
title (EG)
---
Structural analysis: Tablet of 96 Glyphs, Palenque: C2-H4 (C2-C7; D8-F5; E7-H4); drawings by Simon Martin.
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14. VERBS
There are approximately one hundred known verbs in the Maya script with about one dozen grammatical affixes.
Almost all the verbs are written in the third person (he/she): u- (before words starting with a consonant) or y(before words starting with a vowel (see chapter on pronouns below).
Most verbs typically relate the deeds of ancient lords that have already taken place, by the time these are
recorded. However, the controversy still remains on whether the Classic Maya language employed tense (e.g.
past, present, future) and/or aspect (e.g. completive, incompletive) that would be demonstrable in the
inscriptions.
According to some linguists the Classic Maya language was a non-aspectual system with no opposition in
completive and incompletive. According to others, there was no tense and no aspect, and, as suggested by others,
there was no tense or no aspect. Some verbal affixes also indicate other possible principles, such as the system of
employing deictic temporal enclitics.
The grammar of Maya hieroglyphs is rather complex and cannot be adequately discussed in this volume. To
explore this matter further it might be suitable to turn into the bibliography at the end of this book, or to attend a
specialized grammar workshop of Maya hieroglyphic writing. However, a concise account on grammar is to be
found in Appendix J: Notes on Classic Maya Grammar.
15. NOUNS AND ADJECTIVES
Nouns in the Classic Maya language can be divided into two categories, depending on whether they are derived
from another lexical category (i.e. word class / part of speech) or not. In the former case, the traditional linguistic
term is a “derived noun”. In the latter case, we speak of “primary nouns”. Derived nouns are either derived from
verbs or adjectives, or from other nouns.
In many languages, including Classic Maya, it is often difficult to make a distinction between nouns and
adjectives. In point of fact, this distinction is not always implemented. Moreover, in the Classic Maya language,
both nouns and adjectives can form stative expressions with absolutive pronouns. As the most common pronoun
(or, more correctly, pronominal affix) in the Maya hieroglyphic script is the third person singular pronoun, and as
the absolutive form of this pronoun is a zero morpheme (i.e. an unmarked/unrealized suffix), stative expressions
are formally identical to nouns (or adjectives). In practice this means that, for example, the word ch’ok can be a
noun, adjective and an entire sentence:
(1) ch’ok: child, (a) youth (n.)
(2) ch’ok: young, little (adj.)
(3) ch’ok: “he is young” or “he is a child”
(ch’ok-Ø [young-3SA] / [child-3SA])
Although it is difficult to make a distinction between nouns and adjectives in Maya languages, the treatment of
these two lexical categories differs from each other in at least three ways: (1) adjectives cannot be possessed; (2)
adjectives cannot act as an argument of a verb; (3) adjectives cannot stand alone, i.e. they need to be followed by a
noun or to construct a stative expression with an absolutive pronoun.
In addition to the division between primary nouns and derived nouns, Maya languages make a distinction
between nouns that are inherently deemed to be possessed and those that are not (absolutive). Besides the fact
that any noun can be possessed by attaching an ergative pronoun (pronominal affix) in front of it, there is a set of
nouns (such as kinship terminology, the names of body parts and certain items of regalia) that are deemed to be
inherently possessed, in Maya languages. If these nouns are expressed in “unpossessed” form, they require a
special suffix to indicate the absolutive state (or case) of the noun.
The suffixes of absolutive nouns in Classic Maya are –Ø, –aj and –is, whereof the zero morpheme –Ø is used to
mark unpossessed nouns, while suffix –aj marks nouns that designate countable units (of clothing, jewelry, etc.)
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that are worn by people. Suffix –is, on the other hand, is used exclusively with nouns that designate body parts
(see Zender 2004: 200-204). Examples:
Stem:
Absolutive:
Possessive:
pakal
“shield”
pakal-Ø
“a shield”
u-pakal
“his/her shield”
ohl
“heart”
ohl-is
“a heart”
y-ohl
“his/her heart”
k’ab
“hand”
k’ab-is
“a hand”
u-k’ab
“his/her hand”
In addition to primary nouns (all examples above), new nouns can be created from other nouns, verbs, and
adjectives. These derived nouns take, among others, the following suffixes: –lel and –il (abstractivized nouns), –
ol/–o’l and –aj (nouns derived from transitive verbs), –el/–e’l (nouns derived from intransitive verbs), –iil, –ul/–u’l,
–al, –ol, and –nal (toponymic suffixes), and –ib, –ab, –ol, and –il (instrumental suffixes).
Abstractivizing suffixes turn nouns into abstract concepts; for example, the word ajaw or “lord” turns into
“lordship” when suffixed with a –lel-abstractivizer. With the instrumental suffixes –ib, –aab, and –uub verbal roots
can be transformed into nouns that describe the action of the verb. For example, a noun can be created out of the
intransitive verbal root uk’/uch’ (“to drink”) with an instrumental suffix –ib, with the outcome uk’ib/uch’ib or
literally “drink-implement”, i.e. drinking cup.
In Classic Maya, adjectives precede nouns, and they are constructed in the following manner: noun + V1l suffix
(i.e. noun + a vowel that corresponds the vowel of the noun stem + l). For example, an adjective created from the
word kakaw (“cacao / chocolate”) is kakawal (“chocolaty”). In the same manner the word chan (“sky” or “heaven”)
turns into chanal (“heavenly” or “celestial”), the word k’ahk’ (“fire”) into k’ahk’al (“fiery”) and the word k’uh
(“deity” or “god”) into k’uhul (“godly” or “holy”).
Along with a myriad of other nouns, personal names accompanied with titles are very common in the Maya
script. Titles can provide us with information on the hierarchies and political alliances in ancient Maya society.
Besides titles, also parentage expressions are relatively common in Maya inscriptions, which allow detailed
reconstructions of regal dynasties. They are invaluable for the reconstruction of royal lineages at many Maya
sites.36
16. PRONOMINAL SYSTEM
In most Maya languages, including Classic Maya, there are two pronominal sets. The first is usually called set A
pronouns (pronominal affixes) while the second is set B pronouns (pronominal affixes). Set A (ergative)
pronominal affixes are used as the subject of transitive verbs and the possessors of nouns. Set B (absolutive)
pronominal affixes are used as objects of transitive verbs and the subjects of intransitives. In English this would
mean (set A) that instead of saying “he goes” one would say “goes-him”, or instead of “his house” one would say
“he-house”. In Classic Maya this means that the pronominal affix in sentences like utz’ihb (“[it is] his/her
writing”) and utz’apaw (“he/she inserted/planted it”), is the same /u-/, but in the first example it is the possessor of
a noun, and in the second the subject of a transitive verb. In Maya languages ergative pronominal affixes are
attached to the root of the verb on its left side as a prefix (before the verb) whereas the absolutive pronouns are
attached to the right side of the verb as a suffix (after the verb).
Besides the third person mentioned above, there are a few rare examples of first person singular ergative
pronominal affixes (in-/ni-), second person singular ergative pronominal affixes (a-), and first person singular
absolutive pronominal affixes (-en/-een) in direct quotations in the Classic period ceramic texts, and in the
inscriptions occurring in secluded areas of Copan and Piedras Negras (Stuart 1996, Stuart 1999, Stuart, Houston,
and Robertson 1999: II-17-22), which may have been of restricted access in antiquity (Helmke 1997). Also, a few
independent pronouns, such as haa’ (he/she/it/that/this), hat (you), and ha’ob (they/these/ those) have been
uncovered in the inscriptions.
36
For further information, consult e.g. Martin and Grube 2008.
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transliteration:
a-wi-na-ke-na
transcription:
awinaken
morphological analysis:
a-winak-en
grammatical analysis:
2SE-man-1SA
translation:
“I am your man”
Figure 8: Direct quotation from Panel 3, Piedras Negras (drawing by Christophe Helmke)
Ergative pronominal
affixes (Set A prefixes):
Absolutive pronominal
affixes (Set B suffixes):
1SE in- / ni- ni
2SE a- / aw- a / a-wV
3SE u- / y- u / yV
1SA -en/-een Ce-na
2SA -at / -et ta / te?
--3SA -Ø
1PE ka2PE i- / iw3PE u- / y-
ka
i / i-wV
u / yV
1PA -on/-o’n Co-na
2PA -? / -*ox ?
3PA (-ob/o’b) -Co-ba
Figure 9: Classic Maya ergative and absolutive pronominal affixes
Figure 10: Text and image incised on a shell (drawing by
Peter Mathews with modifications by Harri Kettunen)
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IV
Structure and Content of Texts
TYPICAL STRUCTURE AND CONTENT OF THE TEXTS
17. MONUMENTAL INSCRIPTIONS
It is clear now that the content of monumental inscriptions is primarily historical. The focus of these public texts is
almost exclusively on important events of particular dynasties. The most common occurrences in the inscriptions
consist of royal activities, such as accessions, war, capture, various ritual activities, birth, death, heir-designations,
royal visits, and the like. Quite frequently the histories represented in the public art were limited to momentous
events in the lives of the elite, and linked with powerful historical or supernatural beings.
The inscriptions on more public monuments, like stelae and altars, deal primarily with historical events and with
issues which were deemed acceptable for the scrutiny of the public. The inscriptions in more restricted areas, such
as the carved lintels or panels inside temples, deal with limited or more ritual information reserved exclusively
for a specific audience.
STELA 4 (A1-B5), IXTUTZ, GUATEMALA: TRANSLITERATION, TRANSCRIPTION, AND TRANSLATION:
B1: 8-TE’-[PA’]xi-la
waxakte’ paxiil
8 pax (9.17.10.0.0)
A1: 12-AJAW
lajunchan? ? ajaw
12 ajaw
A2: u-tz’a[pa]-wa TUN-ni
utz’apaw tuun
(he) planted/inserted the stone
B2: u-CHOK-ko-wa ch’a-ji
uchokow ch’aaj
(he) scattered droplets
A3: a-ya-YAX-ja-la
aj yayaxjal?
Aj Yayaxjal?
B3: BAK-?
baak …?
Baak ...?
A4: u-CHAN-na bo-bo
ucha[’]n bo[h]b
guardian of Bohb
B4: K’UH-lu 5-KAB-AJAW-wa
k’uhul ho’kab ajaw
divine lord of Ho’kab
A5 : yi-IL-a? K’UH-MUT-?-AJAW
yila? k’uhul mut[ul] ajaw
(he) saw it, the divine lord of Mutul
B5: yi-IL-a? 8-WINAK-ki-AJAW-TAK
yila? waxak winak ajawta[a]k
(they) saw it, the 28 lords
Figure 11: Stela 4 (A1-B5), Ixtutz, Guatemala (drawing by Harri Kettunen)
“On 12 ajaw 8 pax (2 December 780), Aj Yayaxjal? Baak ?, guardian of Bohb, divine lord of Ho’kab, planted
the stone and scattered droplets. It was seen/witnessed by the divine lord of Mutul and by the 28 lords.”
18. CERAMICS
The texts on ceramic vessels range from simple clauses and name-tagging to dynastic lists of kings, and lengthy
verbal clauses. A common feature in the texts of ceramic vessels is the so-called Primary Standard Sequence (PSS)
– usually written along the rim of the vessel, but sometimes written vertically or diagonally in columns along the
body of vessels.
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The PSS is actually a complex and highly formulaic name-tag usually starting with a so-called focus marker
glyph (a.k.a. the initial sign). The function of this type of glyph is to indicate where a text begins as the beginning
and end of the texts usually meet at the same point (since most vessels are circular).
Other typical glyphic collocations present in the PSS include reference to the manner in which the pot was
dedicated (i.e. the introductory section), the contents of the vessel (e.g. kakaw (cocoa), or ul (atole, maize gruel),
the type of the vessel (i.e. the vessel type section), and its owner or the artist who painted or carved the
text/iconography into it. Vessel types include for example uk’ib, “drinking cup”, jaay, “bowl”, lak, “plate”, and
jawa[n]te’, “tripod plate”.37
As ceramics constitute one of the largest groups of media on which hieroglyphs were recorded, they will receive
special attention in the present volume. In the following pages one will find information relating to intricacies of
texts on ceramic vessels.
Reconstructing Ancient Maya Vessel Typology
Following earlier research, vessels exhibiting more than one text can be said to have a ‘primary’ text which is
placed both in a prominent position on a vessel such as along the rim or vertically in wide bands, as well as being
written with large glyphs. In contrast are ‘secondary’ texts that are typically shorter, of smaller font, and typically
serve as small captions to iconographic scenes.
Both of these types of texts can be either well-preserved or eroded a point of distinction recorded as it potentially
may affect the accuracy of glyphic identifications. In addition, texts may range between fully viable and
pseudoglyphic (which apparently served to give the impression of writing, and were apparently produced by
illiterate artisans).
Surface Treatment
Of those texts that do record the surface treatment by far the largest group is formed by texts referring to the
surface treatment as being painted, based on the root noun tz’ib38 for “painting” or “writing” and the verb derived
from this root. In its simplest form, painted vessels bear the caption tz’ib or utz’ihb, while at the opposite extreme
it may be rendered as utz’ibnajal or utz’ibaalnajal. Interestingly, it is also with this term, but in the form of utz’ihba
and introducing a nominal segment, that artists working under royal patronage signed their works (Reents-Budet
1994; MacLeod 1990). To gain a better understanding of these terms and their derivations these are analysed
morphologically below:
u
tz’i
bi
na
ja
utz’i[h]bnajal 39
u-tz’ihb-n-aj-al-Ø
3SE-write/paint-PAS-THM-NOM-3SA
“the writing/painting of”
While both utz’ibnajal and utz’ibaalnajal share the same root as well as the same compound suffix, the latter is
derived from a noun with and abstractivizing suffix, which alters the meaning of the root from “writing/
painting” to something yet more broad such as “drawing/decoration.”
For further information on texts on ceramics, consult e.g. Reents-Budet 1994.
It should be pointed out that in Maya languages the distinction between ‘painting’ and ‘writing’ is not made, as the primary means of recording
the written word is by means of a paintbrush. However, it should be cautioned that based on modern Maya cognates, the term, tz’ib specifically
refers to the painting of designs or decorations, and is often offset from other verbs, as for example those used to refer to the painting of houses
(Terry Kaufman, personal communication 2003).
39 These analyses are based in large part on the research of Alfonso Lacadena, who has been kind enough to share this information with us in
correspondence.
37
38
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u
tz’i-ba-li
na
ja
utz’i[h]baalnaja[l]
u-tz’ihb-aal-n-aj-al-Ø
3SE-write/paint-ABSTR-PAS-THM-NOM-3SA
“the drawing/decoration of”
The other principal statement is the root ux for “carving” or “scraping.” The various manifestations of the word
ux range from yux via yuxulil to yuxulnajal. These terms, when written in full, also contain an abstractivizing
suffix which allows derivation from the verb “carve” into something akin to “carving” although the semantic
domain would allow for something broader. In a few rare cases the collocation ends with a final suffix marking
the carving as the inalienable possession of the patient to which it is connected by the initial third person singular
ergative pronominal affix (functioning as a possessor) “his/her” inextricably connecting these surface treatment
expressions to the vessels that bear them.
yu-lu
xu-li
yuxul[i]l
y-ux-ul-il-Ø
3SE-carve-ABSTR-POS-3SA
“carving of”
yu
xu [lu]
na [ja]
la
yuxulnajal
y-ux-ul-n-aj-al-Ø
3SE-carve-ABSTR-PAS-THM-NOM-3SA
“carving of”
Vessel Type
The vessel type collocations typically occur following reference made to the surface treatment and before mention
of the contents. The total number of distinct vessel types discovered thus far amounts to over 20. The majority of
these terms occur only rarely in the inscriptions and a few of these terms may simply be variables of a type. For
the latter examples, these may eventually be conflated into the same category if it can be demonstrated
statistically as well as linguistically that these are just variants of other well-established terms.
Vast majority of vessel types that are represented in the glyphic texts are dominated by drinking vessels. These
represent the most specialized types of vessels used by the ancient Maya. Based on contextual and iconographic
evidence as well as the titles of the patrons or owners of these vessels it is clear that these vessels were used by the
high elite during the course of festive events (Reents-Budet 1994: 72-75).
Such vessels represent the highest investment of time and labour, yet their diminutive size, the restriction of their
usage to festive occasions and the private sectors of the lord’s residence indicate that few people would have been
able to see these vessels. The names of master artisans that signed the vessels they produced, as well as the names
of sculptors, reveal that most of these boast exalted titles of the elite, with several bearing even royal titles. Thus
as a means of controlling not only the use of such vessels, but their production, the knowledge was maintained
within the household of the highest elite.
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Struucture and Conntent of Texts
yu--k’i-bi / yu-k’i-b
bi-la
yukk’ib / yuk’ibi[i]l
y-u
uk’-ib / y-uk’-ib--iil
3SE
E-drink-INST-REL
“hiis/her drinking cup”
c
K’
yu--UK’-bi / yu-UK
yukk’[i]b / yuk’[ib]
y-u
uk’-ib
3SE
E-drink-(INST)
“hiis/her drinking cup”
c
a-yi / u-ja-ya
u-ja
ujaaay / ujay
u-ja
aay / u-jay
3SE
E-bowl
“hiis/her bowl”
a-ka / u-LAK
u-la
ulakk
u-la
ak
3SE
E-plate
“hiis/her plate”
a-wa-TE’ / u-ja--TE’
u-ja
ujaw
wa[n]te’ / uja[waan]te’
u-ja
aw-an-te’/u-jaw
w-wan-te’
3SE
E-face.up-EXIST
T/ POS-?
“hiis/her plate (witth legs)”
WE’-bi / WE’-maa
u-W
uwee’[i]b / we’[e]m
u-w
we’-ib / we’-em
3SE
E-eat/food-INS
“hiis/her plate for eating/food”
e
po-ko-lo-che-e-b
bu / chu-ba-la-cche-bu
u-p
upookol che[’]ebu[l] / chubal che[’]ebu
u[l]
u-p
pok-ol che’eb-ull /chub-al che’eb
b-ul
3SE
E-wash-THM piincel-THM-3SA
A
“hiis/her quill/brussh rinser?”
ya--k’u-tu-u
ya[h
h]k’utu’/ya[h]k’u
utu’
y-a
ahk’-tu’/y-ahk’u-tu’
3SE
E-give-INST?
“hiis/her gift”
yu--bi
yuu
ub / yu[i]b
y-u
uub/y-u-ib
3SE
E-?/3SE-?-INS
“hiis/her ?”
Tablee I: Common Classic Maya vesssel type glyph
hs (drawings by
y Christophe Heelmke)
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Structure and Content of Texts
Table II: Comparisons between idealized vessel forms (cross-sections) and vessel type referents
represented glyphically on these vessels. The incidence of two matching criteria is
indicated by references made to the most common type of contents.
yuk’ib(iil)
This vessel type refers to cylinder vases and barrel-shaped vases with flat bases as well as straight-walled bowls
with or without small tripod, nubbin or tau-shaped supports. Based on the many examples of this vessel type
designation the structure of this term and its root were successfully identified as early as 1987 (MacLeod 1990:
315). Analyses of the term indicated that it is prefixed by the third person ergative pronominal affix, followed by
the verbal root uk’, “to drink40” and closed by an instrumental suffix. Thus, literally vessels bearing these types of
collocations are “drinking implements”. The term survives in the Ch’olan entry uch’ibal (Aulie & Aulie 1978: 125),
as well as in the Ch’orti’ term uch’p’ir41 (Wisdom 1950: 750), and in the dictionary of Colonial Tzotzil as uch’obil
(Laughlin 1988: 159).
ujaay / ujay42
This vessel type refers to bowls with rounded or flat bases and more rarely to short, straight-walled bowls. It has
been suggested that this term is related to the cognate root jay for “thin” in Yukatek, Ch’olan, and Tzotzil
(MacLeod 1990: 363). However, this interpretation has syntactical problems since it frequently includes a
possessive pronominal prefix indicating that it must function as a noun rather than an adjective. Indeed a
possessed adjective such as “his/her thin” is awkward and hardly resolved by this interpretation. In contrast,
MacLeod (1990: 363-364) has pointed to productive entries such as “tortilla gourd” (Laughlin 1988: 148), “tub”,
“basin” and “plate” in Colonial Tzotzil (Laughlin 1988: 207), which in this context fulfil not only the syntactical
requirements but also expected semantic values.
This root is typically written syllabically as yu-k’i, but can also be written with a logogram standing for UK’. This latter sign has only recently
been deciphered and greatly clarifies the assemblage of vessel type designations present in the script. Equivalency between the syllabic and
logographic signs as first pointed out to us by Alfonso Lacadena, but was first made by David Stuart.
41 Note here that uch’ is cognate of uk’. In addition, the phonological correspondence set for Ch’orti’ differs from many of the related Cholan Maya
languages. Thus in the example of uch’p’ir, /p’/ is phonologically equivalent to /b/ of the instrumental suffix –ib and /r/ is typical of /l/ in other
Maya languages.
42 The difference in the value of the vowel in the terms jaay and jay is a regional one. In western Yucatan and Northern Campeche, Mexico the
term jaay prevailed in exclusivity. While the same term is present in the central Lowlands, jay is occasionally represented indicating regional
linguistic variation. The meaning of the term appears to have been the same despite these phonological changes.
40
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Structure and Content of Texts
Generally, vessels attributed the designation jaay are bowl-shaped and thus bear overall similarity to halved
gourds, the probable origin of the term. Nonetheless, few existing cognates exist suggesting that the term fell into
disuse after the Classic period. Despite the paucity of relevant linguistic data, Alfonso Lacadena found jay for
“tazón de barro” (“clay bowl”) in Tzotzil (personal communication 2002) suggesting that once ceramic vessels
came to replace the original gourd counterparts the term was preserved nonetheless. Based on these analyses the
term *jaay thus seems to be a descriptive rather than a functional designation, for “bowls” and originally for
“gourd-shaped bowls.”
jaay yuki’b(iil) / jay yuk’ib(iil)
This vessel type refers to vases and bowls, although the latter predominate, as do rounded bases. This vessel type
designation is represented by the compounding of the two terms previously reviewed. In this context, were the
(possessive) pronominal affix absent on the second term and present on the first, the interpretation of “his/her
thin drinking implement” would be supported syntactically. However, these circumstances are not present
suggesting that the adjectival interpretation of jaay should be abandoned.
ulak
This vessel type is used to refer to flat-based wide-mouthed plates or dishes. The root term remains
problematical, owing to the few productive entries but in all occurrences of this term it refers to objects that are
generally flat (Reents-Budet 1994: n.24, 101). For example, an unprovenanced jade plaque, apparently a
centerpiece for a necklace (von Winning 1986: Fig. 166) as well as a brick with a modeled-incised text from
Comalcalco (Grube & al. 2002: II-46) are both designated as lak. Instances in which examples of this form contain
the term we’ib (“food implement”) it is clear that it was used as serving vessel for solid foods, we’, “food” being
synonymous in many Maya languages with “tamale” (a type of steamed maize dough bread, with vegetable,
turkey or game filling) and “meat” (Zender 1999).
jawante’
This vessel type refers to dishes or plates with hollow oven-type tripod supports. Aside from the supports,
vessels with this designator are identical in most all other respects to the lak described above. Stephen Houston
equated the term with an exact entry in a Colonial dictionary of Yukatek (Perez 1866-77) for hawante: “vasija de
boca ancha y escasa profundidad” (a wide-mouthed vessel of shallow depth) (MacLeod 1990: 300-303). Analyses of
this term allow the identification as the root as the positional jaw > *jäw “face up” (Kaufman & Norman 1984).
However, the original Spanish entry of “boca arriba” should be noted as may more correctly describe the original
semantic domain, as “mouth up.” MacLeod has understood the suffix –an as a participial, where it is known as a
suffix for positional verbs (Boot 2001), as in chum-w-aan-Ø, “was seated.”
Together this suggests that the term may have originally been intended as jaw-w-an-Ø for “was faced upwards.”
All the few jawante’ documented to date are tripod dishes, suggesting that the presence of the tripod supports is
the feature distinguishing these vessels from lak dishes, as otherwise these have all other modal attributes in
common. To date no satisfactory explanation has been provided for the final suffix –te’. MacLeod speculated that
since the word refers “tree” and “wood” (the primary meaning of this term) that this vessel form may have had
antecedents made of wood, which once made in ceramic, maintained their original designation as if the Late
Classic examples were skeuomorphic (MacLeod 1990: 302-303). However, it should be noted that (as a suffix) –te’
functions, among other things, as a numerical classifier for counts of 20 day period (Boot 2001) and as a suffix to
the prominent title kalomte’. Based on the attributes surrounding the ascent to the rank of kalomte’ and the features
distinguishing lak from jawante’ we would like to tentatively suggest that –te’ may be a suffix for things that are
‘stood up’ or ‘made to stand up.’ If this interpretation is correct, the term jawante’ may be literally refer to a vessel
that is made to “face upwards and stand upright.” Based on these analyses it thus seems that the designation of
tripod dishes is essentially descriptive rather than functional.
other vessels
In addition to the vessel types examined above, which represent the vast majority of glyphic entries for vessel
types in the inscriptions, roughly twenty additional types have been identified (cf. Boot 2005). These include
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Structure and Content of Texts
(y)uub, yahk’utu’, pokol che’ebul, kuch sibik, uch’aajil (or uch’aajul), bu’b, chuhib, ajal(a)jib, jaay chu’bal che’eb, otot, tzimal
jaay uk’ib, we’em, and uma? tz’ihk.
Vessel Contents
All contents sections of Primary Standard Sequences are prepositional sub-clauses in which a new argument is
introduced to principal clause (Schele & Grube 2002: I-37). The nouns of this sub-clause are the indirect objects of
the vessel type, the subject of the PSS. The most common prepositions in Classic Maya are the analogous ti or ta
variously meaning “in, at, on, to, by, as, from, with” (Coe & Van Stone 2001; Kettunen and Helmke 2002; Schele &
Grube 2002: I-37).
Three basic contents types have been documented in the glyphic texts adorning ancient ceramic vessels: kakaw, ul
and ‘other.’ Kakaw refers to beverages made from the fruity pulp of the cacao bean, or the dried, roasted,
fermented and ground bean (used in cacao or hot chocolate). An alternate beverage made specifically from the
bean rather than the fruit is known as pinole (Coe 1995; Young 1994). Kakaw and its many variants is a festival
beverage still enjoyed in traditional Maya communities, known to have mild psychotropic effects. The beverage is
flavoured with vanilla, aromatic flowers, the sap of the maguey plant, chile, or honey and which to varying
degrees may be mixed or diluted with other maize-based drinks. Ul is the term for a thick, semi-liquid maize
gruel, the most cherished being considered apart and made from immature, new, green maize (known as nal).
This gruel is also considered a special festival food although it is more common, typically used in weaning small
children, while the special kind is made at the start of the harvests. Altering the flavour of this beverage is
attained by the addition – singularly, or in combination – of boiled brown beans, ground pumpkin seeds, sap of
the maguey plant, the whole being flavoured with honey, chile, and/or allspice to taste. Both ul and kakaw may be
served fresh or as a fermented alcoholic brew, the latter being set aside by the use of other referents. The third
contents type refers to any other type of contents, since in comparison to the two preceding types these are rare
incidences.
As these occur in the glyphic inscriptions, these three basic contents types can be modified by the addition of
modifying prefixes. Kakaw can be modified in several ways. First, an adjective can be invoked such as chak
(“red”), k’an (“yellow / ripe”), kab (“sweet”), om?43 (“frothy”), or by unclear collocations apparently referring to a
type of flower44 (possibly used as a flavouring agent). Second, a toponym may be added, specifying the origin of
the kakaw used in the beverage, in a practice similar to the ‘appelation controlée’ designations of wine (such as
Bordeaux or Champagne)45. Prevalent toponyms in the case of the PSS are Ho’kab (“Five Lands”), the Early Classic
(AD 250–550) name for the ancient polity of the site of Naranjo, Guatemala, Saal or Sataal (of unknown meaning)
the nominal referent of the heraldic emblem of the Naranjo polity, Huxwitik (“Three Hills”) and Mo’witz (“Macaw
Mountain”) two of the many toponyms of the Copan polity, of western Honduras, and finally by Sakha’al (“White
Lake46”) the name of a small polity located in the vicinity of Naranjo, possibly situated along the shores of lake
Sacnab, in Guatemala47. Third, kakaw may be modified by prefixes resisting decipherment, either due to illegibility
(erosion and/or calligraphy), or forming a term with no recognised cognates. It is likely that this third category
would align to either adjectival or toponymic modifiers were these signs successfully read. Consequently, this
category remains a provisional construct imposed by our ability to read the glyphs, rather than reflecting three
inherent emic divisions.
This reading was first suggested by Barbara MacLeod (1990). While the suggested phonetic value of this sign as well as the existence thereof has
been challenged over the years, no suggestions superseding it have been made.
44 The readings offered for both of these collocations are tentative as these include glyphic elements whose phonetic values are still debated. The
first may be variously read as k’a[h]k’ tzih nik?, or k’a[h]k’nal nik?, where nik is a known term for “flower”, while in the other case the logogram
may be read as janaahb, which based on other contexts also refers to a type of flower although a productive modern cognate is still wanting.
45 Earlier research had identified the occasional incidence of typonymic modifiers (cf. MacLeod 1990; Reents-Budet and MacLeod 1994). Recently,
evidence has been gathered by the authors demonstrating that toponymic modifiers form a discrete and cohesive group of kakaw-modifiers, an
aspect that remained overlooked until now. The importance of this discovery lies in that the term sakha’(al) may no longer be understood as a
contents collocation (initially analysed as sak-ha’ or “white liquid” as a metaphor for maize gruel (Houston & al. 1989), which is indeed a whitish
liquid), but instead serves as a modifier of kakaw. The evidence for this interpretation will be reported elsewhere (Helmke and Kettunen n.d.).
46 An alternate translation may be “Pure Rain.” Ha’al and ha’ha’(al) are definite terms for ‘rain’, but in this case the term may be analysed as ha’-al,
water-ABSTR or water-REL, the latter then referring to a body of water such as a lake. Sak is more difficult to elucidate outside of syntactical
context since it may mean “pure” and is also used to refer to things that are person-made or artificial.
47 While the toponym Sakha’al is known the archaeological site corresponding to this ancient polity has not yet been identified. Due the incidence
of this toponym in the texts of Naranjo it is assumed that is was located in the vicinity. Sacnab, the name of a nearby lake is a perfect cognate of
Sakha’al, suggesting that the former may be the Late Postclassic name of its Classic period precursor.
43
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Structure and Content of Texts
19. CODICES
A special class of Maya texts is found in the Post-Classic codices (sg. codex). Instead of recording historical
events, like many of the monumental inscriptions, the content of these texts is more esoteric, astronomical, and
calendrical, information presented in the form of almanacs and prophecies. Four of them have survived the
subtropical weather and 16th Century Spanish bonfires to present day: the codices of Dresden, Madrid, Paris, and
Grolier.
Dating the codices has been a problem ever since they were (re)discovered, and no agreement as to their age has
been established to date. Determining the age of the codices has been based on stylistic grounds (based on both
iconography and epigraphy), astronomical and calendrical data, linguistics, and radiocarbon dating. Most
scholars (see Vail 2002) agree on the assumption that the Dresden Codex is the oldest of the four surviving
codices and that the Paris Codex can be fairly accurately given a date somewhere around the middle of the 15th
century, but the chronological order of the two remaining codices (Madrid and Grolier) has demonstrated a large
number of variance.
Regarding the dating of the Paris Codex, Love (1994: 13 and 2001: 443) proposes an approxi-mate date of 1450
based on stylistic resemblance to the stone monuments at the Late Postclassic site of Mayapan and to the art style
of the eastern coast of Yucatan before the Conquest. Also, considering the fragility of paper, paint and plaster in a
tropical environment, Love suggests that the codices confiscated by the Spaniards were probably produced quite
close to the time of initial contact, even though the texts themselves were copied from earlier, more ancient
sources (Love 1994:8).
The date of the Madrid Codex is commonly held to be somewhere around 15th century (see e.g. Graff and Vail
[2001]). Contrary to general concensus, Michael Coe has proposed a much later date for the Madrid Codex in a
presentation in the XXIst Maya Hieroglyphic Forum at the University of Texas in 1997. The conclusions were
published in Coe and Kerr (1998: 181) with the assertion that “[…] fragments of European paper with Spanish
writing are sandwiched or glued between layers of bark paper […] the Western paper appears not to have been a
mere repair, but to have been incorporated in the codex during its manufacture. Thus the Madrid would
necessarily be later than the conquest of Yucatán, probably even post-1624, and could have been made at Tayasal,
which did not fall to the Spaniards until 1697.”
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Structure and Content of Texts
Figure 12: Page 9 from the Dresden Codex
(after Förstemann 1880)
Figure 13: Page 91 from the Madrid
Codex (after Codex Tro-Cortesianus
(Codex Madrid) 1967)
The existence of European paper was previously noticed by Ernst Förstemann and Ferdinand Anders, but neither
of them perceived the European layer to occur between the Maya layers of the codex. In November 2003 we had a
chance to visually inspect the Madrid Codex with other scholars during the 8th European Maya Conference, held
in Madrid. Observing the disputed Page 56 of the codex it became clear that the European layer (or layers) of
paper in the codex were placed on top of the original Maya bark paper layers. As a result, the argument that the
codex is of Postconquest origin – based on assumption that the layers of European paper forms an integral part of
of the layers of Maya bark paper – is no longer tenable.
As with the date attributed to the Grolier Codex, Coe and Kerr (1998: 175) propose that the codex is the oldest
Maya codex based on the radiocarbon dating (AD 1230 ± 130) of the paper used in the codex. In contrast, Milbrath
(1999: 6) believes that the Grolier Codex is probably the latest of the four codices and that it may be Postconquest
in date. Even though some scholars believe that the Grolier Codex is a forgery, most researchers now consider it
to be authentic (for a comprehensive treatise, see Carlson 1983). According to Grube (2001: 129) the authenticity of
the Grolier Codex can no longer be disputed based on the fact that the paper dates back to the Preconquest times
and that the codex contains a functional Venus calendar. However, this assertion still requires further validation
(Nikolai Grube, personal communication 2004).
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Fig
gure 14: Page 6 from
f
the
Paris Codeex
(afterr Codex Peresian
nus (Codex
Paris) 19688)
Struucture and Conntent of Texts
Figure 15: Page 8 from
F
the Grolier Codex
(aafter Coe and Kerr
K
199
8: Fig. 134
4)
Figu
ure 16: Bottom of the
pagee 56 from the Madrid
M
Codeex (rotated 90 degrees
cou
unter-clockwise
e and
flipped horizonta
ally)
howing Latin text
sh
o(after Codex Tro
Cortesianus
(Codex Madrid) 1967)
20. PORT
TABLE ARTE
EFACTS
The inscrriptions on po
ortable artefaccts, like shell, bone, jadeite beads, etc. arre – logically – a lot shorteer than the
texts on the
t monumen
nts. Many smaall artefacts ju
ust state the ow
wner and the name of the o
object; for exa
ample (see
Figure 177): ubaak jasaw t’ochawaan? k’uhul mutul ajaaw ochk’in kaloomte’ umijinil nu’n
n
ujol chahkk k’uhul mutul ajaw
a
(“this
is the bon
ne of Jasaw, t’’ochawaan?, diivine Mutul king, west kalo
omte’, the chilld of Nu’n Ujo
ol Chahk, div
vine Mutul
king”), bu
ut some have lengthier texts with verbal clauses. Theese simple stattements of ow
wnership are sometimes
s
referred to
t as ‘name-tag
gging’.
Figure 17:
1 Carved bon
ne from Burial 116,
1
Tikal (TIK MT-44);
Drawing by Ch
D
hristophe Helmk
ke (based on drrawing by Ann
nemarie Seufferrt)
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Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Appendices
APPENDICES
APPENDIX A: ASSORTED TEXTS
Figure 18: Inscription on the upper section of the back of Stela 3, Piedras Negras, Guatemala
(drawing by David Stuart [in Stuart and Graham 2003: 9:27] with slight modifications)
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Appendices
Figure 19: Lintel 1, Yaxchilan, Mexico (drawing by Ian Graham [in Graham and von Euw 1977: 13])
Figure 20: Lintel 2, Yaxchilan, Mexico (drawing by Ian Graham [in Graham and von Euw 1977: 15])
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Appendices
Figure 21: Ballcourt Marker 4, Caracol, Belize (drawing by Nikolai Grube)
Figure 22: Altar 23, Caracol, Belize (drawing by Arlen Chase,
Diane Chase, and Nikolai Grube, with minor modifications)
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Appendices
Figure 23: Unprovenienced jadeite celt, the “Leiden Plaque” (drawing by Linda Schele [in Schele 1990: 78])
a
b
Figure 24: (a) Monument 101, Tonina (drawing by Ian Graham and Peter Mathews [in Graham and
Mathews 1996: 2:125]); (b) Stela 6, Itzimte, Mexico (drawing by Eric von Euw [in von Euw 1977: 4:17])
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Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Appendices
APPENDIX B: TITLES
AJAW
ajaw
“lord”
(royal title)
a/AJ-WINAK-BAK
aj wina[a]k baak
“he of 20 (many)
captives”
ba-ka-ba
ba[ah]kab
“head/first of the
earth”
ch’a-ho-ma
ch’ahom
“man”?
CH’OK
ch’ok
“youth”
KAL?-TE’
kal[om]te’
(exalted royal title)
ke-KELEM
kelem
“youth”?
“strong”?
K’INICH
k’inich
“sunny”
(name of a deity)
sa-ja-la
sajal
“noble”?
a/AJ-TZ’IB-ba
aj tz’ihb
“writer”
“painter”
Table III: Common royal titles
APPENDIX C: RELATIONSHIP GLYPHS
yu-ne
yune[n]
child of father
u-1-ta-na
ujuntan
beloved; child
(metaphoric)
su-ku-WINIK-ki
suku[n] winik
elder brother
yi-tz’i-ni
yi[h]tz’iin
younger brother
ya-AL
yal
child of mother
u-MIJIN?-na
umijiin?
child of father
u-KAB-ji-ya
ye-TE’
ukabjiiy
ye[h]te’
under the auspices of his/her work/doing
Table IV: Relationship glyphs
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ya-AT?-na
yatan
spouse; companion
yi-cha-ni
yichaan
maternal uncle
yi-ta-ji
yitaaj
with(?)
yi-T703v-NAL
yichnal
in the presence of
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Appendices
APPENDIX D: CLASSIC MAYA EMBLEM GLYPHS
Altun Ha
?-ni
La Florida
MAN-ni
Quirigua
UN?
Bital
bi-TAL
Lamanai
AHIN/AYIN?
Seibal
?
Calakmul
ka-KAN-la
Machaquila
?-su
Tikal
MUT
Cancuen
ya-AK[K’IN]
Naranjo
SA’
Tonina
po
Caracol
K’AN-tu-ma[ki]
Palenque
BAK-la
Ucanal
K’AN-na-[WITZ]NAL
Copan
?[ku]-pi
Piedras Negras
yo-ki[bi]
Xunantunich
ka-ta-ya?-tzi-WITZ
Dos Pilas
MUT
Pomona
pa-ka-bu-la
Yaxchilan
[PA’]CHAN-na
Figure 25: Selected Classic Period Emblem Glyphs (drawings of the
Emblem Glyphs of Caracol, Lamanai, and Xunantunich by Christophe Helmke)
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Appendices
Figure 26: Map of the Maya area showing principal archaeological sites
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Appendices
APPENDIX E: NOTE ON THE CALENDAR
The Maya calendrical system is a rather complex arrangement with a number of overlapping systems. Usually the
dates recorded in the inscriptions cover major parts of the texts. Fundamentally, the Maya calendrical system is
twofold: it records linear time from a (mythological) zero point (13th of August 3114 BC) onwards (Long Count),
and cyclical time with (basically) two calendrical cycles (the Calendar Round, comprised of the Tzolk’in [260
days] and the Haab [365 days]).
MATHEMATICS48
The Classic Maya mathematical system is a vigesimal (base twenty) positional system that was employed
throughout Mesoamerica during the Precolumbian times (instead of the common Western decimal [base ten]
system). In practice this means that the position shift is made at twenty rather than ten:
Vigesimal system:
Decimal system:
Position:
Value:
Numbers:
Position:
Value:
Numbers:
200
201
202
203
204
205
etc.
1
20
400
8 000
160 000
3 200 000
etc.
0 – 19
20 – 399
400 – 7 999
8 000 – 159 999
160 000 – 3 199 999
3 200 000 – 63 999 999
etc.
100
101
102
103
104
105
etc.
1
10
100
1 000
10 000
100 000
etc.
0–9
10 – 99
100 – 999
1 000 – 9 999
10 000 – 99 999
100 000 – 999 999
etc.
Table V: Vigesimal vs. decimal system
In Maya calendrical calculations, however, the Haab coefficient breaks the harmonic vigesimal rule being a
multiplication of 18 times 20 rather than 20 times 20. With this exception to the rule the Maya were
approximating the closest possible number of days to the solar year (as well being a figure divisible by 20),
thereby reaching a compromise of 360 days49.
Vigesimal system applied for calendrical calculations50:
Formula:
1
20
18 X 20
20 X 18 X 20
20 X 20 X 18 X 20
20 X 20 X 20 X 18 X 20
etc.
or
or
or
or
or
or
200
201
18 X 201
18 X 202
18 X 203
18 X 204
etc.
Value (days):
Numbers (days):
1
20
360
7 200
144 000
2 880 000
etc.
0 – 19
20 – 359
360 – 7 199
7 200 – 143 999
144 000 – 2 879 999
2 880 000 – 57 599 999
etc.
Table VI: Applied vigesimal system for calendrical calculations
Examples of mathematical calculations will be provided during the workshop.
The Haab coefficient (360 days) in the Long Count calendar is not to be confused with the Haab calendar (365 days) in the Calendar Round (see
below).
50 It should be noted here that the coefficient examples in this table run beyond the standard number of coefficients found in most Long Count
dates (the first five are/were sufficient to record historical time).
48
49
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Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Cllassic
Maya:
No: M
0
mih?/
m
m
minan?
Appendices
Notational
N
v
variants:
Head
variantss:
Classic
No: Maya:
10 lajun
buluch/
buluk
1 jun
n
11
2 ch
ha’
12 lajunchan?
3
x/
ux
ox
x
13
4
han/
ch
kaan
14 chanlajun
uxlajun/
oxlajun
5 ho
o’
15 ho’lajun
6 wak
16 waklajun
7 hu
uk
17 huklajun
8 waxak
18 waxaklajun
9 baalun?
19 balunlajun?
Tablee VII: Classic Maya
M
numerals from zero to nineteen
(draawings of the heead variants by
y John Montgom
mery)
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Notatio
onal
varian
nts:
Head
variants:
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Appendices
TZOLK’IIN AND HAA
AB
The Tzolk
k’in is a cycle of 260 days, made
m
up of thee permutation of 13 numberrs with twenty
y named days.. The
Haab is a (vague) solarr year of 365 days,
d
made up of 18 named “months”
“
of 20
2 days each, w
with 5 extra da
ays added
on at the end of the yeaar. The first daay of the Tzolk
k’in is “1 Imix”. The next daay is “2 Ik’”, th
he next “3 Ak’’bal”, and
so on, unttil after 260 diifferent combinations “1 Imix” occurs aga
ain.51
…
…
mix
1 Im
imix
ik’
ak’bal
k’an
chikchan
kimi
manik’
lamat
muluk
ok
chuwen
eb
ben
ix
men
kib
kaban
etz’nab
kawak
ajaw
2 Ik’’
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
3 Ak’b
bal
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
1
10
1
11
1
12
1
13
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
4 K’an
n
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
…
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
12 Eb
E
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
13 Ben
B
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
4
1 IIx
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
4
5
2 Meen
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
4
5
6
…
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
Tablle VIII: Organiization of succe
essive Tzolk’in dates
e
“month” stays in placee for twenty days.
d
The first Maya month is Pop, the da
ay after “1
In the Haaab calendar each
Pop” is “2 Pop”, then “3
“ Pop”, and so
s on, until affter 365 days “1
“ Pop” reoccu
urs. The begin
nning of the month
m
was
nd after 19 day
ys Pop is comp
pleted and thee next month ((Wo) is “seated
d”.52
called thee “seating” of the month, an
DAR ROUND
D
CALEND
The Calen
ndar Round (CR) date reco
ords a specificc date by givin
ng both its Tzzolk'in and its Haab positio
ons, e.g. “6
Etz’nab 11
1 Yax” (which
h follows by “7
“ Kawak 12 Yax”, “8 Ajaw
w 13 Yax”, “9 Imix 14 Yax””, etc. Since 26
60 and 365
have a co
ommon factor of 5, the miniimal time it takes for a partiicular Calendaar Round datee to repeat is (260
(
x 365)
/ 5, or 189980 days, or 522 x 365 days (== approximateely 52 years).
LONG COUNT
The Long
g Count is a linear53 calen
ndar with a (m
mythological) starting poin
nt in year 31114 BC in the Gregorian
calendar (13th of Augu
ust, according to the modiffied GMT [Go
oodman-Martíínez-Thompso
on] correlation
n constant
C
calendaar resembles our linear ca
alendar with the exception
n that in the Christian
[584285]). The Long Count
uted in years whereas in th
he Maya Long
g Count time is
i reckoned in
n days. The Lo
ong Count
calendar time is compu
See
Day Names (Tzolk’in Calendaar) below.
52 See Month Names (Haab Calendar)
C
below.
53 Even tho
ough the Long Co
ount calendar of 13
1 bak’tuns (pih or
o pik) is a linear calendar, the May
ya probably perceeived time as bein
ng cyclical in
nature. Furtthermore, the Lon
ng Count calendarr can be regarded
d as a continuation
n or a recurrence of the previous caalendar (or creatio
on), and thus
cyclical in nature.
51
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Appendices
has, therefore, advantages over our system as regards to precision in recording time using only one calendrical
system. However, as has been noted, the Maya were keen on employing a number of overlapping calendrical
systems to specify a given date in a moment in time54. See the section
How to Convert Maya Long Count Dates to Gregorian Dates for further information.
INITIAL SERIES
The Initial Series (IS) is a standard calendrical notation, which on an archetypal Maya monument comprises the
opening segment of a text. This section is introduced by the Initial Series Introductory Glyph (ISIG), the Long
Count (LC), and the Calendar Round (CR). Besides recording the point in time of the first event in the text, the
Initial Series also serves as an anchor date for later dates in the monument (recorded thereafter by Distance
Numbers).
SUPPLEMENTARY SERIES
A set of usually six or seven glyphs are repeatedly incorporated between the Tzolk’in and the Haab calendars in
lengthy monumental Maya texts with Initial series. This group of hieroglyphs is known as the Supplementary
Series55 consisting, for example, of a cycle of 9 days (glyph G) which together with glyph F probably refers to a
particular ritual that took place on the recorded date, and a set of glyphs known as the Lunar Series dealing with
lunar information (the number of elapsed days since the last new moon [glyphs E and D], the position of a given
lunation within a cycle of six lunations [glyph C], the epithet of the lunation or possibly the direction of the rising
or setting moon [glyph X], and the modifier [“the young name of”] for it [glyph B], and the number of days [29 or
30] of the current lunation [glyph A]).
DISTANCE NUMBERS
Distance Numbers (DN) are the intervals between dates in the Maya inscriptions. They are always recorded in
reverse order from that of the Initial Series dates. First comes the record of days (k’in), then 20 day periods (winik),
then 360 day “years” (haab), and then 20 vague years (winaakhaab [“k’atun”]), etc.
Usually the k’in and winik coefficients are written in the same glyph, where they are both “glued” to the winik
sign. Both of them can occupy either the left side or the top of the winik sign. However, the winik coefficient only
takes the same space horizontally or vertically as the winik sign, whereas the k’in coefficient occupies the whole
extent (length or vertical space) of the remaining glyph block. A worthy piece of advice is to look at the upper left
corner of the glyph block: whatever number occupies that position is the coefficient of the k’in period.
13, 2-WINIK-ji-ya
19, 8-WINIK-ji-ya
13 days [and]
2 “months” of 20 days
19 days [and]
8 “months” of 20 days
Distance Numbers are usually followed by either “Anterior Date Indicators” (ADI) or “Posterior Date Indicators”
(PDI), since they precede an earlier date and a later date, respectively. Now that these signs can be read
phonetically, their temporal attributes can be understood in semantic terms based on assessments of their
respective grammatical affixes. Thus, the ADI reads u[h]tiiy (u-ti-ya), “it had come to pass” and the PDI reads
iu[h]ti (i-u-ti), which stands for “and then it happened”.
u-ti-ya
u[h]tiiy
uht-i-iy-Ø
happen-IV-ADV.CLT-3SA
“(had) happened”
i-u-ti
iu[h]ti
i-uht-i-Ø
CONJ-happen-IV-3SA
“then happened”
For a revealing example, explore Lintels 29-31 from Yaxchilan.
The hieroglyphs in the Supplementary Series were labeled by early Maya scholars in reverse order from that of their position in the text (due to
the fact that the glyphs towards the end of the Series were more consistent than the glyphs in the beginning): G, F, E, D, C, B, A. Later discoveries
have added three more glyphs to the inventory: glyphs Z, Y, and X.
54
55
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Appendices
POSSIBLE HAAB COEFFICIENTS FOR THE TZOLK’IN DAY NAMES
Tzolk’in:
Ajaw
Imix
Ik’
Ak’bal
K’an
Chikchan
Kimi
Manik’
Lamat
Muluk
Ok
Chuwen
Eb
Ben
Ix
Men
K’ib
Kaban
Etz’nab
Kawak
Possible Haab coefficient:
8
4
5
6
7
8
4
5
6
7
8
4
5
6
7
8
4
5
6
7
13
9
10
11
12
13
9
10
11
12
13
9
10
11
12
13
9
10
11
12
18
14
15
16
17
18
14
15
16
17
18
14
15
16
17
18
14
15
16
17
3
19
0
1
2
3
19
0
1
2
3
19
0
1
2
3
19
0
1
2
“LORDS OF THE NIGHT” (CYCLE OF 9 DAYS)
G1
G2
G3
G4
G5
G6
G7
G8
G9
Table IX: Lords of the Night (drawings by John Montgomery)
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Appendices
AN EXAMPLE OF THE CORRELATION OF THE LONG COUNT,
TZOLK’IN, HAAB, AND THE LORDS OF THE NIGHT
9.8.19.17.14
9.8.19.17.15
9.8.19.17.16
9.8.19.17.17
9.8.19.17.18
9.8.19.17.19
9.9.0.0.0
9.9.0.0.1
9.9.0.0.2
9.9.0.0.3
9.9.0.0.4
9.9.0.0.5
9.9.0.0.6
9.9.0.0.7
9.9.0.0.8
9.9.0.0.9
9.9.0.0.10
9.9.0.0.11
9.9.0.0.12
9.9.0.0.13
9.9.0.0.14
9.9.0.0.15
9.9.0.0.16
9.9.0.0.17
9.9.0.0.18
9.9.0.0.19
9.9.0.1.0
9.9.0.1.1
9.9.0.1.2
9.9.0.1.3
9.9.0.1.4
…
10 Ix
11 Men
12 Kib
13 Kaban
1 Etz’nab
2 Kawak
3 Ajaw
4 Imix
5 Ik’
6 Ak’bal
7 K’an
8 Chikchan
9 Kimi
10 Manik’
11 Lamat
12 Muluk
13 Ok
1 Chuwen
2 Eb
3 Ben
4 Ix
5 Men
6 Kib
7 Kaban
8 Etz’nab
9 Kawak
10 Ajaw
11 Imix
12 Ik’
13 Ak’bal
1 K’an
……
17 Sip
18 Sip
19 Sip
0 Sotz’
1 Sotz’
2 Sotz’
3 Sotz’
4 Sotz’
5 Sotz’
6 Sotz’
7 Sotz’
8 Sotz’
9 Sotz’
10 Sotz’
11 Sotz’
12 Sotz’
13 Sotz’
14 Sotz’
15 Sotz’
16 Sotz’
17 Sotz’
18 Sotz’
19 Sotz’
0 Sek
1 Sek
2 Sek
3 Sek
4 Sek
5 Sek
6 Sek
7 Sek
…
G3
G4
G5
G6
G7
G8
G9
G1
G2
G3
G4
G5
G6
G7
G8
G9
G1
G2
G3
G4
G5
G6
G7
G8
G9
G1
G2
G3
G4
G5
G6
HOW TO CONVERT MAYA LONG COUNT DATES TO GREGORIAN DATES
1.
Multiply the numbers in the Long Count calendar by units given in the table below (center column).
2.
Add the number of days together. If the Maya Long Count date is, say, 9.15.6.14.6
(9 “bak’tuns”, 15 “k’atuns”, 6 “tuns”, 14 “winals”, and 6 “k’ins”): do the following
calculations:
Long Count number:
multiplied by:
result:
9
15
6
14
6
144 000
7 200
360
20
1
1 296 000
108 000
2 160
280
6
Maya day number:
1 406 446
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3.
4.
Appendices
Add the GMT-correlation constant (584 285) to the Maya day number to give its corresponding Julian
Day Number (JDN):
MDN:
GMT:
JDN:
1 406 446
584 285
1 990 731
From this JDN, the nearest smaller JDN (in the table below) is then subtracted:
year:
JDN:
year:
JDN:
1
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
1000
1 721 060
1 757 585
1 794 109
1 830 633
1 867 157
1 903 682
1 940 206
1 976 730
2 013 254
2 049 779
2 086 303
1100
1200
1300
1400
1500
1600
1700
1800
1900
2000
2 122 827
2 159 351
2 195 876
2 232 400
2 268 924
2 305 448
2 341 973
2 378 497
2 415 021
2 451 545
∗
Julian Day Numbers (JDN) for January 1st in the Gregorian calendar (years AD 1⎯2000).
5.
6.
JDN #1
JDN #2
1 990 731
1 976 730
remainder:
14 001
Calculate the number of (365 day) years and days in the remainder number:
remainder:
days in a (vague) year:
result:
14 001
365
38 years
131 days
Take into account the leap days (one every fourth year) and leap centuries (those that are divisible by
400 (i.e. AD 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 2000, etc.) and subtract the number of leap days between AD 700
(closest smaller JDN) and 738 (700 + the division result above):
Closest smaller JDN:
division result:
leap days to be subtracted:
final result:
700
38 years
131 days
-9 days
738 years
122 days
Here the division is 38 years divided by 4 – for which we obtain 9,5. Counting only whole days we thus
obtain 9 days to subtract. Maya Long Count date 9.15.6.14.6 corresponds, therefore, to the 122th day of the
year AD 738; i.e. May 2nd AD 738.
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Appendices
A SHORTCUT GUIDE FOR THE CONVERSION OF
MAYA LONG COUNT DATES TO GREGORIAN DATES56
(for Maya date 9.15.6.14.6)
A rough estimate of a Gregorian date can be achieved by adding together the “bak’tuns” (9), “k’atuns” (15),
“tuns” (6), “winals” (14), and “k’ins” (6) (=1 406 446), dividing the result by 365 (number of days in a year) (≈3
853,28) and subtracting 3115 (the beginning of the Maya calendar in year 3114 + year zero) from it (=AD738).
A more accurate approximation can be achieved by using the following formula:57
(M / 365.25) – 3112.31 = Y
In this formula M is computed by adding the “bak’tuns”, “k’atuns”, “tuns”, “winals”, and “k’ins” (as above), and
Y will be the year and the fraction of year (approximately).
Figure 27: Codex style vase from the Late Classic Period
(photo: Harri Kettunen; courtesy of Kimbell Art Museum)
56 The calculation below offers a ±1 year rough estimate of a given Long Count date to be utilized in working out the overall time period of a given
monument (if knowing the precise Gregorian date is not essential in that particular context).
57 We would like to thank Mark Matney from the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston for providing us this formula in 2009.
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Appendices
PER
RIOD NAM
MES
New
orthograaphy:
Old
orthography:
Classic
C
M
Maya:
bak’tun
bakttun
p
pik
Period length:
Renditio
ons of signs:
h
head
variantss58 & basic forrms:
144,000 days
(= 20 X 7,200
days)
k’atun
katu
un
w
winaakhaab?
7,200 days
(= 20 X 360
0 days)
tun
tun
h
haab
360 days
0 days)
(= 18 X 20
winal
uinaal
w
winik
k’in
kin
k
k’in
20 days
1 day
Table X: Peeriod names forr Long Count da
ates and Distan
nce Numbers
58
Head variiants modified afteer Stuart in Stuartt & Graham 2003: 26.
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Appendices
DAY NAMES (TZOLK’IN
(
N CALENDAR)
New
orthograaphy:
16th Centu
ury
Yukatek:
Classic
Maya:
Imix
Imix
Ha’? / Baah??
Ik’
Ik
Ik’
Ak’bal
Akbal
Ak’ab?
K’an
Kan
Ohl?
Chikchan
n
Chicchan
?
Kimi
Cimi
Cham?
Manik’
Manik
Chij?
Lamat
Lamat
Lamaht?
Muluk
Muluc
?
Ok
Oc
Ook?
Rendition
n of signs:
Table XI: Day namess in the Tzolk’in
n calendar: Imiix-Ok (drawing
gs by Mark Van
n Stone)
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Appendices
New
orthograaphy:
16th Centu
ury
Yukatek:
Classic
Maya:
Chuwen
n
Chuen
?
Eb
Eb
?
Ben
Ben
?
Ix
Ix
Hix?
Men
Men
Tz’ikin?
Kib
Cib
?
Kaban
Caban
Chab?/Kab??
Etz’nab
Etz’nab
?
Kawak
Cauac
?
Ajaw
Ahau
Ajaw?
Rendition
n of signs:
Table XII: Day names in
n the Tzolk’in calendar:
c
Chuw
wen-Ajaw (draw
wings by Mark V
Van Stone)
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Appendices
MON
NTH NAM
MES (HAAB CALEND
DAR)
New
orthograaphy:
16th Century
Yukatek:
Classic
May
ya:
Pop
Pop
K’an
njalaw?,
K’an
njalab?
Wo
Uo
Ik’at,,
Woo
oh(iil)
Sip
Zip
Chak
kat
Sotz’
Zotz’
Suuttz’
Sek
Tzec
Kaseew,
Kuseew
Xul
Xul
?
Yaxk’in
Yaxkin
Yaxk
k’in
Mol
Mol
Mol,
ol,
Molo
Molo
ow
Ch’en
Ch’en
Ik’sih
hom
Rendittion of signs:
Table XIIII: “Month” naames in the Haaab calendar: Po
op-Yax (drawing
gs by Mark Van
n Stone59)
59
With the exception
e
of the 2n
nd “Wo” sign (afteer Kerr n.d. [K67551]).
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Appendices
New
orthograaphy:
16th Century
y
Yukatek:
Classsic
May
ya:
Yax
Yax
Yaxssihom
Sak
Zac
Sakssihom
Keh
Ceh
Chak
ksihom
Mak
Mac
Mak
k
n
K’ank’in
Kankin
Uniw
w
Muwan
Muan
Muw
waan,
Muw
wan
Pax
Pax
Pax
K’ayab
Kayab
nasiiy
K’an
Kumk’u
Cumku
? Oh
hl
Wayeb
Uayeb
Way
yhaab?,
Kolaajaw
Rendittion of signs:
Table XIV
V: “Month” nam
mes in the Haab
b calendar: Sak--Wayeb (drawin
ngs by Mark V
Van Stone60)
60
With the exception
e
of the 3rrd “Muwan” sign (after a drawing by
b Nikolai Grube [CRC BCM3: D3]).
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Appendices
A
APPENDIX
F:: THE LAND
DA ALPHABET
Figure 28: The
T Landa Alph
habet (adapted after
a
Coe and Kerr
K
1998: 228)
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Appendices
APPENDIX G: TRANSCRIPTIONS61 OF CLASSIC MAYA PHONEMES
Consonants:
stops/ plosives:
unglottalized
glottalized62
affricates:
unglottalized
glottalized62
fricatives/ spirants
liquids/ approximants
nasals
semivowels
bilabial
alveolar
p
p’
b
t
t’
palatoalveolar
velar
uvular
k
k’
tz
tz’
s
l
n
m
w
palatal
ch
ch’
x
glottal
’
j
h
y
Table XV: Classic Maya consonants
Vowels:
front
central
back
high (close)
i
u
mid
e
o
low (open)
a
Table XVI: Classic Maya vowels
61 These transcriptions are neither phonetic nor phonemic. Instead they represent the orthographies used in Maya epigraphy that are based on the
new official alphabets for the Guatemalan Maya languages (Acuerdo Gubernativo numero 1046-87 [23rd of November 1987]) and its modification
(Acuerdo Gubernativo numero 129-88 [2nd of March 1988]), and its subsequent publication (Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala: Documento de referencia para
la pronunciación de los nuevos alfabetos oficiales). See also the chapter “Note on the Orthography”.
62 These can also be labeled as ejective stops.
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Appendices
APPENDIX H: ARTICULATION ORGANS AND PLACES63
Figure 29: Articulation places
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
articulation organs:
lips
lower lip & upper teeth
teeth
back side of teeth
alveolar ridge
hard palate
soft palate
uvula
pharynx
larynx
tip of the tongue
blade of the tongue
dorsum of the tongue
root of the tongue
underblade
epiglottis
Latin terminology:
labium, pl. labia
dens, pl. dentes
alveolus, pl. alveoli
palatum durum
velum
uvula
pharynx
larynx
apex
lamina/ corona
dorsum
radix
subdorsum
epiglottis
articulation places:
bilabial
labiodental
interdental
postdental (dental)
alveolar
palatal
velar
uvular
pharyngal
laryngal
apical
laminal/ coronal
dorsal
radical
subdorsal
epiglottal
Table XVII: Articulation organs and places
63
Based partly on Iivonen, Horppila, Heikkonen, and Rissanen 2000 with modifications.
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Appendices
APPENDIX I: SYNHARMONIC VS. DISHARMONIC SPELLING, UNDERSPELLED SOUNDS, AND
RECONSTRUCTED GLOTTAL FRICATIVES IN MAYA HIEROGLYPHIC WRITING
The following is primarily based on the foundation work done by Houston, Robertson, and Stuart (1998, 2000),
Lacadena and Wichmann (2004), and Lacadena and Zender (2001). All possible misinterpretations are ours, not
theirs.
EXPLANATION OF ABBREVIATIONS:
C
V
ABS
ERG
consonant
vowel
absolutive
ergative
Since the pivotal study of phoneticism in Maya hieroglyphic writing by Knorozov (1952) until the latter part of
1990’s, the existence of disharmony (disharmonic spelling arrangements) in the Maya script was noticed but left
more or less as an open question. In 1980’s, the issue was taken under scrutiny by linguists, and some promising
results were achieved.
However, no overall satisfying pattern was found to explain all the arrangements until late 1990’s and during the
past few years. In 1998 Houston, Robertson and Stuart proposed that the disharmonic spellings in the Maya script
indicate the presence of preconsonantal glottal fricatives (/h/) as well as complex vowels including: long vowels
(VV), glottal stops (’), glottalized vowels (V’) and rearticulated glottalized vowels (V’V).
In their original proposal, Houston, Stuart, and Robertson (1998) suggested that there is no distinction made
between vowel length, glottalization, and preconsonantal /h/ by means of disharmonic spellings, and that the
existence of these three phonemic features are to be reconstructed historically:
CV1C / CV1-CV1 >
CV1C
CVVC
CV1C / CV1-CV2 >
+ historical reconstruction
CV’C
CVhC
A later modification by Lacadena and Wichmann (2004) pointed toward an interpretation that complex vowels
(complex syllable nuclei) “were distinguished from short vowels in the script [… and] that vowel length and
glottal stops were clearly distinguished from one another in the orthography”. Lacadena and Wichmann (2004:
103) also proposed that “neither disharmonic nor harmonic spellings indicate a preconsonantal /h/”. While the
preconsonantal /h/ existed in Classic Maya (e.g. as a necessary and integral part of passive verbal constructions,
see below), in the process of decipherment it must be reconstructed on the basis of historical linguistics.
The rules governing harmonic and disharmonic spelling arrangements as modified by Lacadena and Wichmann
(2004) are as follows:
CV1C / CV1-CV1 > CV1C
CV1C / CV1-CV2 > CVVC
CV1C / CV1-CV2 > CVVC
CV1C / CV1-CV2 > CV’(V)C
CV1C / CV1-CV2 > CV’(V)C
(V1 = a, e, o, u; V2 = i)
(V1 = i; V2 = a)
(V1 = e, o, u; V2 = a)
(V1 = a, i; V2 = u)
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Appendices
Table of different arrangements with examples:
Arrangement:
Outcome:
Example:
Transcription:
Translation:
CAC / Ca-Ca
CAC / Ca-Ci
CAC / Ca-Cu
CEC / Ce-Ce
CEC / Ce-Ci
CEC / Ce-Ca
CIC / Ci-Ci
CIC / Ci-Cu
CIC / Ci-Ca
COC / Co-Co
COC / Co-Ci
COC / Co-Ca
CUC / Cu-Cu
CUC / Cu-Ci
CUC / Cu-Ca
CaC
CaaC
Ca’(a)C
CeC
CeeC?
Ce’(e)C
CiC
Ci’(i)C
CiiC
CoC
CooC
Co’(o)C
CuC
CuuC
Cu’(u)C
la-ka
ba-ki
ba-tz’u
te-me
ke-ji
ne-na
wi-tzi
chi-ku
yi-tz’i-na
yo-po
xo-ki
o-la
k’u-hu
mu-chi
bu-la
lak
baak
ba’tz’
tem
keej
ne’[h]n
witz
chi’k
yi[h]tz’iin
yop
xook
o’[h]l
k’uh
muuch
bu’ul
plate
captive
howler monkey
throne
deer
mirror
mountain
coati
younger brother
leaf
shark
heart
god
toad
bean
Table XVIII: Examples based on harmony rules according to Lacadena and Wichmann (2004)
One of the (rare) disharmonic patterns in the script is that of CEC / Ce-Cu which is not included in Table XVIII
above. Lacadena and Wichmann (2004) proposed that this pattern most likely does not belong to the sphere of
harmony rules but is rather another example of underspelling.64 Thus there are two possible outcomes for the
following arrangements:
CEC / Ce-Cu
”
Ce’(e)C
”
che-bu
te-mu
che’[eh]b? / chebu[l]?
te’m? / temu[l]?
quill, brush
seat, bench, throne
Examples of exceptions to the “normal disharmonic spelling rules” (=underspelled sounds):
Arrangement:
Outcome:
Example:
Transcription:
Translation:
CAC / Ca-Ce
VCAC / Ca-Ce
CAC / Ca-Co
CEC / Ce-Cu
CEC / Ce-Co
CIC / Ci-Ce
CIC / Ci-Co
COC / Co-Ce
COC / Co-Cu
CUC / Cu-Ce
CUC / Cu-Co
CUC / Cu-Ca
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
BAK-ke
AJAW-le
ch’a-ho
e-bu
ba[a]ke[l]
ajawle[l]
ch’aho[’m]
e[h]bu[l]
*not attested*
*not attested*
tiho[’]
o[o]ke[l]
*not attested*
une[n]?
*not attested*
tupa[j]?
child
lordship, kingdom
man
stair
ti-ho
o-ke
u-ne?
tu-pa
(a toponym)
foot
baby
earspool
Table XIX: Examples of underspelled words
The following sounds are frequently underspelled towards the end of words and in the case of consonant clusters
(-C# and -CC-): /l/, /m/, /n/, /h/, /j/, and /’/. Examples of words with underspelled sounds at the end of the word
include: bi > bi[h] (“road”), chi > chi[j] (“deer”), sa-ja > saja[l] (title), tz’u-nu > tz’unu[n] (“hummingbird”), a-u-ku >
a[j]uku[l] (proper name), and YAX-a > Yaxa[’] (“Yaxha’” [toponym]). Examples of words with underspelled
sounds in –CC- surroundings (consonant clusters/ double consonants) include: ja-wa-TE’ > jawa[n]te’ (“tripod
Moreover, Wichmann reasons that “Possibly a scribe was playing with the conventions and introduced e-u as a rule, but we have to consider the
possibility that there is a suffix -u[l] in play. It is too much to sacrifice the simplicity of the system when there’s so few examples and when they
could involve underspelled suffixes.” (personal communication, 2002).
64
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Appendices
plate”), bu-ku > bu[h]k (“clothes”), xo-TE’ > xo[l]te’ (“staff”), and ko-ha-wa > ko[’]haw (“helmet”), i.e., /l/, /m/, /n/,
/h/, /j/, and /’/ sounds are underspelled if they precede another consonant.
The variety of different spelling arrangements of a same word serves as a hint towards the interpretation of
underspellings. For example, on Lintel 10 (see below) at Yaxchilan the name of a captive (A[h]kul Mo’) is written
in four different ways:
B3a
a-AK-MO’
A[h]k[ul] Mo’
Ahkul Mo’
C3b
AK-ku-lu-MO’
A[h]kul Mo’
Ahkul Mo’
F4a
a-[ku?]lu-MO’
A[h]kul Mo’
Ahkul Mo’
F8
a-[ku?]lu-MO’-o
A[h]kul Mo’
Ahkul Mo’
Table XX: An example of varying spelling of the name Ahkul Mo’ from Lintel 10, Yaxchilan
Figure 30: Lintel 10, Yaxchilan, Mexico (drawing by Ian Graham [Graham and von Euw 1977: 31])
It should be noted here that the spelling rules explained above are under constant modifications by the above
mentioned scholars and new adjustments are made annually. Furthermore, there is also disagreement on the basic
principles of the spelling rules in the field of Maya epigraphy and, consequently, readers of this volume are
advised to follow the current debate and to read forthcoming articles and publications relating to the issue (see
also footnote 68).
One of the focal issues and main problems regarding the spelling rules is the partial disagreement of (historical)
linguistic data and reconstructed spelling rules. There are a number of examples in the linguistic corpus that seem
to contradict the rules described above and different scholars have distinct solutions to these dilemmas (cf. the
dictionary towards the end of this volume). The reasons behind the disagreements between the different ‘schools’
of spelling rules are yet to be resolved but most likely a better understanding of the spoken vs. written language of
the ancient Maya is to be achieved in the near future.
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Appendices
APPENDIX J: NOTES ON CLASSIC MAYA GRAMMAR65
CLASSIC MAYA VOICE SYSTEM
Voice:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
Translation:
active
passive
mediopassive
antipassive
participial
u-TZUTZ-wa
TZUTZ-tza-ja
TZUTZ-yi
TZUTZ-wi
TZUTZ-li
utzutzuw
tzu[h]tzaj
tzutz[u]y
tzutz[u]w
tzutz[u]l
he/she finished it
it was finished
it got finished
he/she finished
finished
Table XXI: Classic Maya voice system
AN ANALYSIS OF CVC TRANSITIVE VERBS:
Voice:
active:
passive:
mediopassive
antipassive:
Transliteration:
u-chu[ku]-wa
chu-ka-ja
chu[ku]-yi66
chu-ku-wa(?)
Transcription:
uchukuw
chu[h]kaj
chukuy
chukuw
Morphological
segmentation:
u-chuk-uw-Ø
chu[h]k-aj-Ø
chuk-uy-Ø
chuk-uw-Ø
Morphological
analysis 1:
3SE-capture-THM67-3SA capture-PAS-THM-3SA
capture
3SA
Morphological
analysis 2:
ERG-CV1C-V1w-ABS
CVhC-aj-ABS
CVC-Vy-ABS
CVC-Vw-ABS
Syntactic roles:
subject-verb-object
verb-object
verb-subject
verb-object
Semantic roles:
agent-verb-patient
verb-patient
verb-patient
verb-patient
Translation:
he captured him
he was captured
he was captured
he captured
-THM-
capture-THM-3SA
Syntactic roles (e.g. subject and object) are morphosyntactical whereas semantic roles (e.g. agent, patient, and
instrument) are conceptual:
Sentence:
Syntactic role:
Semantic role:
Maria opened the door.
Maria = subject
door = object
Maria = agent
door = patient
The key opened the door.
key = subject
door = object
key = instrument
door = patient
The door opened.
door = subject
door = patient
The following is based on various workshops on Maya writing since 2001, including Classic Maya Grammar directed by Alfonso Lacadena and
Marc Zender at the 6th European Maya Conference, Hamburg, Germany, December 5th–7th, 2001, and on the workshop Maya Verbs in
Hieroglyphic Texts directed by Robert Wald at the XXVIth Linda Schele Forum on Maya Hieroglyphic Writing at The University of Texas at Austin,
March 11th–16th, 2002, and, furthermore, on Lacadena 2000, Wald 1994, and Wald 2000, and personal communication with various scholars.
66 Not attested.
67 THM= thematic suffix.
65
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Appendices
TRANSITIVE VERBS: (CVC)
(1) ACTIVE:
ERG-CVC-V1w-ABS
In the active voice, the agent is the subject of the verb, whereas the patient is the object of the verb.
u-chu-ku-wa
uchukuw
u-chuk-uw-Ø
“he/she seized…”
Example:
uchukuw Aj Ukul? Yaxuun Bahlam
“Yaxuun Bahlam seized Aj Ukul”
In the active voice of transitive verbs the root is preceded by the third-person pronoun u- (“he/she/it”), and
followed by the syllabic sign wa which points to the -Vw thematic suffix for active transitive constructions. The Vw represents a vowel resonating the vowel of the verbal root; examples: u-chok-ow (“he/she threw it”); u-tz’apaw (“he/she inserted/planted it”); and u-but’-uw (“he/she buried it”). However, in the Maya script the graphemic
suffix of transitive verbs in active voice is constantly marked with a wa syllabogram regardless of the vowel of
the verbal root68.
(2) PASSIVE:
CVhC-aj-ABS69
In the passive voice, the patient becomes the subject of the verb and the agent is either completely removed or
hidden in an oblique (indirect) phrase/clause.
tzu-tza-ja
tzu[h]tzaj
tzu[h]tz-aj-Ø
“(it) was finished”
Example:
tz’a-pa-ja
tz’a[h]paj
tz’a[h]p-aj-Ø
“(it) was planted”
chu-ka-ja
chu[h]kaj
chu[h]k-aj-Ø
“(he/she/it) was seized”
chuhkaj Aj Ukul? (ukabjiiy Yaxuun? Bahlam)
“Aj Ukul? was seized (by the doing of Yaxuun? Bahlam)”
It seems reasonable to argue that the thematic suffix for active transitive constructions is –Vw rather than –V’w, although Lacadena and
Wichmann (2005: 32) state that “[t]he glottal is not straightforwardly reconstructible, but we do note that Chontal has a glottal in its corresponding
morpheme –e’. This suffix could have developed from –V1’w by a replacement of the harmonic vowel with e and by a loss of the w. Even if a glottal
stop in the thematic suffix is not reconstructed for proto-Mayan there is still a possibility that it could have been present in proto-Ch’olan as an
innovation in this group.” In the current volume the thematic suffix for active transitive constructions is marked as –Vw and thus contradicting
the harmony rules by Lacadena and Wichmann (see Appendix J). It should be noted here that these harmony rules do not seem to apply
uniformly to all verbal cases, along with several other parts of speech. Ancient scribes were – and modern epigraphers are – faced with a challenge
in the absence of the wu syllabogram which is needed if a word ending in –uw is to be rendered (based on harmony rules by Lacadena and
Wichmann). Consequently, these harmony rules are far from being seamless. It appears as if the Maya scribes only employed a limited set of final
syllabograms without specifically indicating complexity in the root vowel (or any preceding vowel). Statistically, these final syllabograms tend to
take primarily /a/, /i/, or /e/ vowels (–Va, –Vi , and –Ve), and particularly the first two, with /o/ and /u/ (–Vo and –Vu), being infrequent.
Consequently, it seems that disharmonic spelling by itself does not necessarily denote vowel complexity, and nor does synharmonic spelling
always indicate short vowels. The Maya writing system in general is not a sterile and mechanical apparatus (no more than any other writing
system in the world) and it should not be forced to fit a fixed pattern of linguistic theory (Kettunen 2009, 2010).
69 Note that the (reconstructed) infixed -h- is the true passivizer, and the -aj suffix is solely thematic and derivational (detransitivizer).
68
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(3) MEDIOPASSIVE:
Appendices
CVC-Vy-ABS
In the mediopassive voice (middle voice), the agent is completely deleted and is to be understood only in general
terms (if indeed at all). The patient becomes the subject of the verb. In other terms, the verb in the mediopassive
voice has stative meaning, and the agent (or actor) is not expressed.
TZUTZ-yi
tzutzuy
tzutz-uy-Ø
“got finished”
Example:
ju-bu-yi
jubuy
jub-uy-Ø
“got deposed”
chu-ku-yi
chukuy
chuk-uy-Ø
“got caught/seized”
chukuy Aj Ukul
“Aj Ukul got caught/seized”
(4) ANTIPASSIVE:
CVC-VVw(?)-ABS (Early Classic)
CVC-Vw-ABS (Late Classic)
Antipassive voice is a voice in ergative-absolutive languages, like the Maya languages, in which a noun phrase
has absolutive case instead of the “normal” ergative case. A noun phrase normally having absolutive case is
marked as an oblique or an indirect object. The verb in antipassive constructions has formal characteristics of
intransitive verbs in Maya languages. In Maya hieroglyphic writing there are three distinct types of antipassive
constructions: (a) absolutive antipassive, (b) object-incorporating antipassive, and (c) agent-focusing
antipassive. All of them delete the patient, and therefore leave the agent as the subject of the verb. Antipassives
can only be made from transitive verbs (root transitives or derived transitives), and they are all distinguishable
morphologically by the absence of the ergative pronoun u- and the presence of characteristic suffixes.
TZUTZ-wi
tzutzuw
tzutz-uw-Ø
“he/she finished”
TRANSITIVE VERBS: (non-CVC)
ACTIVE VOICE:
ERG-VERB-V-ABS
yi-IL-a
yila
y-il-a-Ø
“he/she saw [it]”
PASSIVE VOICE:
u-TZ’IB-ba
utz’i[h]ba
u-tz’ihb-a-Ø
“he/she wrote/painted [it]”
VERB-n-aj-ABS
tz’i-bi-na-ja
tz’i[h]bnaj
tz’i[h]b-n-aj-Ø
“[it] was painted”
This construction (save the reconstructed -h-) is the one to be found on innumerable texts on Maya polychrome
ceramics (note that -n- is the true passivizer of non-CVC constructions).
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Appendices
INTRANSITIVE VERBS
Intransitive verbs are verbs that do not have a direct object, i.e., verbs that do not need an object or verbs that
cannot have an object are intransitive verbs. In Classic Maya intransitive verbs are derived either from a verbal
root or from a noun.
ROOT INTRANSITIVES:
CVC-i-ABS
hu-li
huli
hul-i-Ø
“he/she arrived”
u-ti
u[h]ti
u[h]t-i-Ø
“it happened”
DERIVED INTRANSITIVES: NOUN/ADJ-Vj (-aj/-iij)-ABS
AK’-ta-ja
a[h]k’taj
a[h]k’t-aj-Ø
“he/she danced”
< ahk’ot (“dance”) with /o/ syncopated
pi-tzi-ja
pitziij / pitzaj
pitz-iij-Ø / pitz-aj-Ø
“he/she played ball”
< pitz (“ballgame”)
POSITIONALS
K’AL HUN-na-ja
k’al hunaj / huunaj / hu’naj
k’al hun/huun/hu’n-aj-Ø
“he/she was crowned”
< k’al hun/huun/hu’n? (“crowning”)
WITZ-ja/ wi-tzi-ja
witziij /witzaj
witz-iij-Ø / witz-aj-Ø
“it got piled up ”
< witz (“mountain”)
CVC-l-aj-ABS (Eastern Ch’olan)
CVC-waan?-ABS (Western Ch’olan)
Positional verbs refer to physical states or positions, such as standing, sitting, kneeling, hanging, lying down,
leaning, bending, and bowing, that human beings, animals, and inanimate objects can assume (Bricker 1986: 29;
Lacadena and Wichmann 2002b).
CHUM[mu]-la-ja
chumlaj
chum-l-aj-Ø
“he/she sat”
CHUM[mu]-wa-ni
chumwaan
chum-waan-Ø
“he/she sat”
Along with positionals, there is a class of verbs can be derived from positionals: the –bu causative. E.g. pat-laj “got
made” > u-pat-bu “he/she made it” > u-pat-bu-uj “he/she has made it”.
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INCHOATIVES
Appendices
CVC-aj-ABS
CVC-Vn-ABS
Inchoative verbs are verbs of “becoming”. They refer to change in the subject, be it accidental, temporary, or
permanent. All inchoative verbs are derived from nouns or adjectives.
AJAW-ni
ajawaan
ajaw-aan
“he became king” /
“she became queen”
AFFECTIVES
(CVC) CVC-l-aj-ABS
Affectives are verbs based on phenomena such as bright lights, loud noises, intense smells, and onomatopoietic
sounds.
ba-la-ja
ba[j]laj
baj-l-aj-Ø
“hammering”
STATIVE PARTICIPLES
CVC-Vl-(i)-ABS
Stative participles are not really verbs, but rather stative adjectives, in any of the Cholan languages.
TZUTZ-li
tzutzul
tzutz-ul-Ø
“finished”
CHANGE OF STATE VERBS70
K’A’-yi
k’a’aay
k’a’-aay-Ø
“it diminished /
terminated / wilted /
ended / died”
70
CVC-VVy-ABS
LOK’-yi
lok’ooy
lok’-ooy-Ø
“he/she left /
escaped / fled”
PUL-yi
puluuy
pul-uuy-Ø
“it burned”
Alfonso Lacadena, personal communication 2010 (Spanish: verbos [intransitivos] de cambio de estado).
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T’AB-yi
t’abaay
t’ab-aay-Ø
“he/she ascended”
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Appendices
Basic Sketch of Classic Maya Verbs
Transitive
_____________________
Verbs that have or need an object.
Verbs of sentences conforming to the syntax:
V-O-S
Intransitive
_____________________
Verbs that do not have or do not need an object.
Verbs of sentences conforming to the syntax:
V-S
Root intransitives
_____________________
CVC-i-ABS
hu-li / HUL-li
hul-i-Ø
“arrived”
Derived intransitives
_____________________
NOUN-aj-ABS
wi-tzi-ja / WITZ-ja
witz-iij-Ø
“mountained”
CVC
_____________________
Active (voice)
Non-CVC
_____________________
Active
ERG-CV1C-V1w-ABS
u-chu-ku-wa
u-chuk-uw-Ø / u-chuk-u’w-Ø
“seized” (~ “captured”)
_____________________
Passive
ERG-VERB-V2-ABS
u-tz’i-ba / u-TZ’IB-ba
u-tz’i[h]b-a-Ø
“painted” (~ “wrote”)
_____________________
Passive
CVhC-aj-ABS
chu-ka-ja
chu[h]k-aj-Ø
“was seized” (~ “was captured”)
VERB-n-aj-ABS
tz’i-bi-na-ja / tz’i-bi-NAH-ja
tz’i[h]b-n-aj-Ø
“was painted” (~ “was written”)
71
- Intransitive
(Root Intransitive)
- Transitive – Non-CVC
(Active)
- Transitive – CVC
(Active)
- Transitive – CVC
(Passive)
- Derived Intransitive
- Inchoative
- Transitive – Non-CVC
(Passive)
- Affectives
- Positional (East)
- Positional (West)
- Transitive – CVC
(Mediopassive)
- Transitive – CVC
(Antipassive)
Summary71:
…Ci
…Ca
u … wa
…ja
…na-ja
…la-ja
…wa-ni
…yi
…wi
NB: Letter C stands for a consonant whereas V represents vowels.
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Appendices
Note: due to the fact that Maya hieroglyphic writing evolved both in time (during 1500 years) and space (in
different areas), changes in grammar are apparent:
Rendition:
Language:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
Translation:
?
(Late Preclassic)
CHUM?
chu[h]m?
chuhm?-Ø
he/she sat
?
(Early Classic)
CHUM-ja
chu[h]m[a]j
chu-h-m-aj-Ø
he/she sat
Eastern Ch’olan
(Late Classic)
CHUM[mu]-la-ja
chumlaj
chum-l-aj-Ø
he/she sat
Western Ch’olan
(Late Classic)
CHUM[mu]-wa-ni
chumwaan
chum-waan-Ø
he/she sat
Table XXII: Examples of grammatical changes in time and space: chum-
In Eastern Ch’olan the phrase “he/she acceded to power” (or “he/she sat into the lordship” or “was seated in the
kingdom”) is chumlaj ti ajawil (or chumlaj ti ajawlil) whereas in Western Cholan the phrase is chumwaan ta ajawlel.
Rendition:
Language:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
Translation:
?
(Late Preclassic)
HUL-ye
hul[ee]y
hul-eey-Ø
he/she arrived
Western Ch’olan?
(Late Classic)
HUL-li-ya
huliiy
hul-iiy-Ø
he/she arrived
Table XXIII: Examples of grammatical changes in time: hul-
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Appendices
APPENDIX K: AN EXAM
MPLE OF HIEROGLYPHIC
C ANALYSIS
NSLITERATIO
ON, TRANSC
CRIPTION, LIINGUISTIC ANALYSIS,
A
A
AND
DIFFERE
ENT STAGES
S AND
TRAN
VERSIO
ONS OF TRA
ANSLATING A SELECTED
D PASSAGE (E1
( – J2) OF HIEROGLYPH
H
HIC STAIR 4, STEP 5,
DOS PILAS
S, PETEN, GU
UATEMALA
C CLAUSE:
GLYPHIC
(drawing b
by Stephen Hou
uston)
TRANSLITERATION:
E1: ju-bu--yi / F1: u-to-k’a / E2: u-pa-kaa-la / F2: nu-na / G1: JOL / H1:: CHAK-ki /
G2: u-KAB-[ji]ya / H2: ba-la-ja
b
/ I1: CH
HAN-na / J1: K’’AWIL-la / I2: u-CHAN-nu
u
/ J2:
J TAJ-MO’-o
o
CRIPTION:
TRANSC
jubuy / utoook’ / upakal / nu
u’n? / [u]jol / chaa[h]k /
ukabjiiy / ba[j]laj
b
/ chan / k’awiil / ucha’n / taj[al] mo’
OLOGICAL SEGMENTATIION:
MORPHO
jub-uy-Ø / u-took’ / u-paakal / nu’n? / u--jol / chahk /
u-kab-Ø-jiiiy / baj-l-aj-Ø / chan / k’awiill / u-cha’n / taj-aal / mo’
MORPHO
OLOGICAL ANALYSIS:
A
down-TH
HM-ABS / 3SE-fflint / 3SE-shielld / mediation?? / 3SE-skull / (ttheonym) /
3SE-overssee-ABS-ADV.C
CLT / hammerr-AFT-THM-AB
BS / sky / (theo
onym) / 3SE-gu
uardian / torch-R
REL / macaw
TRANSLATION I:
“got down
ned, (the) flint, (the) shield of ‘mediation? (iss the) head of Chahk’;
C
(it is the) overseeing
o
of ‘K
K’awiil who haammers (in thee) sky’, (the) guardian of ‘Torcchy Macaw’.”
TRANSLATION II:
“The flint and the shield
d of Nu’n Ujol Chahk
C
got topp
pled;
it was oveerseen by Bajlajj Chan K’awiil,, the ‘guardian’’ of Tajal Mo’.”
TRANSLATION III:
“The army
y of Nu’n Ujol Chahk was top
ppled by Bajlaj Chan K’awiil, the captor of Tajal
T
Mo’.”
TRANSLATION IV:
“Nu’n Ujo
ol Chahk was defeated
d
by Bajjlaj Chan K’aw
wiil.”
73/154
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Appendices
A
APPENDIX
L: SYLLAB
BLE CHART
TS
a
e
i
o
u
b
ba
be
bi
bo
bu
u
c
cha
chee
chi
cho
chu
u
ch’a
ch’ee
ch’i
c
ch’o
ch’u
h
ha
he
hi
ho
hu
u
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Appendices
ja
je
ji
jo
ju
ka
ke
ki
ko
ku
k’a
k’e
k’i
k’o
k’u
la
le
li
lo
lu
ma
me
mi
mo
mu
75/154
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Appendices
n
na
ne
ni
no
nu
u
p
pa
pe
pi
po
pu
u
sa
se
si
so
su
u
ta
te
ti
to
tu
u
t
t’a
t’e
t’i
t’o
t’u
u
76/154
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Appendices
tza
tze
tzi
tzo
tzu
tz’a
tz’e
tz’i
tz’o
tz’u
wa
we
wi
wo
wu
xa
xe
xi
xo
xu
ya
ye
yi
yo
yu
77/154
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Appendices
No
ote these po
otentially co
onfusing sig
gns:
ba
ma
lo
te
bu
mu
mu
yo
bu
mu
la
ma
ka
sa
ni
wi
ja
HUL
HA’
W
WINAK?/K’A
AL
ku/TUN
pi
ku/TUN
N
KAB/CHAB??
ku/TUN
W
WITZ
a/AJ
7
chi
AL/YAL
yo
CH’AM/K’A
AM
kee
ye
K’AL
78/154
k’o
TZUTZ
Z
CHOK
K
HUL
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Concise Glyph Dictionary
CONCISE CLASSIC MAYA – ENGLISH DICTIONARY
hieroglyph72:
transliteration73:
transcription74:
translation75:
alternative spellings76:
a/AJ
a
aj
(1) phonetic sign
(2) neutral or male prefix77
ACH?
AT?
ach
at / aat
(1) penis
ACH?-cha,
AT?-ti,
AT?-ta
AHIN? / AYIN?
ahiin / ayiin
(1) caiman (n)
(2) lizard (n)
a-AYIN/AHIN-na,
AYIN/AHIN-na,
AYIN/AHIN-ni
AJAW78
ajaw
ajaaw?
(1) lord (n)
(2) king (n)
AJAW-wa,
a-AJAW,
a-AJAW-wa,
a-ja-wa
AJAW
ajaw
ajaaw?
(1) lord (n)
(2) king (n)
AJAW-wa,
a-AJAW,
a-AJAW-wa,
a-ja-wa
AJAW
ajaw
ajaaw?
(1) lord (n)
(2) king (n)
AJAW-wa,
a-AJAW,
a-AJAW-wa,
a-ja-wa
72 A given sign represented in this column is only one possible version of different spellings to be found in the Maya hieroglyphic corpus. For
example the word for “lord” or ajaw can be rendered in the following ways: AJAW, a-AJAW, AJAW-wa, a-AJAW-wa, and a-ja-wa. Use of
different graphic forms, furthermore yields dozens of possible combinations, each representing distinct collocations (see alternative spellings in
the rightmost column and see also chapter 7. Logograms]). The arrangement of this dictionary is based on alphabetical order of transcriptions.
When a particular hieroglyph is usually or always preceded with a possessive pronoun u-/y-, it is placed in parentheses: e.g. (y-)uk’ib . The
alphabetical order thus follows the stem of the word rather than the most common (inflected or derived) appearance in the corpus.
73 This is a broad transliteration that excludes analyzed/interpreted sounds (vowel length, glottal stops, and /h/’s [preconsonantal velar fricatives])
that are not inbuilt/inherent parts of hieroglyphs but were, conversely, indicated by orthography rules, grammatical inflection, and in the case of
underspellings, provided by the native reader [see page 63 onwards]).
74 This is a narrow transcription including reconstructed sounds (marked by [square brackets]) based either on historical, internal, or paleographic
evidence.
75 This is really a gloss rather than translation (a gloss is a short general translation of a word or morpheme which does not take into account the
context in which it occurs). Nonetheless, when several well-attested meanings exist, these are sorted (in the order of numerical ascendancy) from
the most literal to the most figurative. The latter do (to a certain degree) take into consideration the various meaning that the contexts of
wordscan potentially imbue them with. Abbreviations of grammatical category follow the expression in (parentheses): adj: adjective, adv: adverb,
cn: composite noun, cop: copula, dem: demonstrative pronoun, ip: independent pronoun, iv: intransitive verb, ivd: intransitive verb (derived), n:
noun, ncl: numeral classifier, num: numeral, part: particle, poss: possessive prefix, prep: preposition, prpo: pronominal (absolutive) postfix, prpr:
pronominal (ergative) prefix, pv: positional verb, sp: stative participles, top: toponym, tv: transitive verb, tvd: transitive verb (derived).
76 The alternative spellings are based on Boot 2009, Lacadena and Wichmann 2004, Lacadena and Zender 2001, and Lacadena (personal
communication, 2003).
77 A prefix, proclitic, or classificator denoting person, agent, doer, office, causer, characteristics, or male sex.
78 See page 15 for different variations of the ajaw sign.
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hieroglyph72:
Concise Glyph Dictionary
transliteration73:
transcription74:
translation75:
alternative spellings76:
AJAW-le
ajawle[l]
(1) lordship (n)
(2) kingship (n)
(3) kingdom (n)
AJAW-le-le,
AJAW-2le
AK
a[h]k
(1) turtle (n)
a-ka,
a-ku,
AK-ka
(y)a-k’a
(y)a[h]k’-
(1) to give (tv)
ya-AK’-
AK’-ta
a[h]k’ta-
to dance (ivd)
a[AK’]-ta-,
a-AK’-ta-,
AK’-ta,
AK’-TAJ-,
AK’-TAJ
(y)a-k’u-tu-u
(y)a[h]k’tu’
(y)a[h]k’utu’
(1) ‘give-thing’ (n)
(2) gift (n)
(ya-)AL
(y)al
(1) (mother’s) son (n)
ya-AL-la,
ya-la,
AL
(y)a-AT-na
(y)atan
(1) companion (n)
(2) spouse? (n)
(3) wife? (n)
ya-ta-na,
a-AT-na,
ya-TAN-li
a-tz’a-mi
atz’aam
(1) salt (n)
BAH
ba
-baah
-ba[(a)h]
-ba[aj]
(1) image / portrait (n)
(2) self (n)
(3) phonetic sign
ba-hi,
ba-hi-ja,
ba-ji-ja,
[BAH]hi
ba-ki
baak
(1) bone (n)
(2) captive (n)
ba-ki-li,
BAK-ki,
ba-ka,
BAK
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hieroglyph72:
Concise Glyph Dictionary
transliteration73:
transcription74:
translation75:
alternative spellings76:
BALAM
ba[h]lam
(1) jaguar (n)
ba-la-ma,
BALAM-la-ma,
BALAM-ma
ba-ka-ba
ba[ah]kab
(1) “head of the land” (n)
(2) ”first of the earth” (n)
(title)
ba-KAB,
ba-ka-KAB,
BAH-ka-ba
ba-TE’
ba[ah]te’
(1) “head of the wood” (n)
(2) “first staff” (n)
(military title)
ba-tz’u
ba’tz’
(1) howler monkey (n)
BATZ’
bi
BIH
bi
bi[h]
bi[j]
bih
bij
(1) phonetic sign
(2) road (n)
(3) [drawing] line (n)
bi-ji,
bi-hi
bu-ku
bu[h]k
clothes (n)
bu-la
bu’ul
bean (n)
CHAK-ki
Cha[h]k
(1) Chahk (n)
(name of a deity)
CHAK,
cha-ki,
cha-ka
CHAK
chak
(1) red (adj)
(2) great (adj)
CHAK-ka
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hieroglyph72:
Concise Glyph Dictionary
transliteration73:
transcription74:
translation75:
alternative spellings76:
CHAM-mi
cham
to die (iv)
CHAM
CHAN
KAN
chan
(1) snake (n)
(2) sky (n)
(3) four (nr)
CHAN-na,
cha-CHAN,
cha-na,
ka-KAN
CHAN-na
chan
(1) sky (n)
(2) snake (n)
(3) four (nr)
CHAN,
cha-CHAN,
CHAN-na-ni,
cha-na
4 / CHAN
chan
(1) four (nr),
(2) sky (n)
(3) snake (n)
CHAN-nu
cha’[a]n
(1) master (n)
(2) owner (n)
(3) guardian (n)
CHAN-na,
cha-nu,
CHAN
CHAPAT
chapa[’h]t
chapa[ah]t
chapa[h]t
chapat
(1) centipede (n)
(2) name of supernatural
creature
cha-pa-ta,
cha-CHAPAT-ti,
CHAPAT-tu, cha-pa-tu
CHAY
KAY
chay
kay
(1) fish (n)
cha-ya
ka-ya
che-e-bu
che’e[h]b
che’bu[l]
(1) quill (n)
(2) brush (n)
che-bu
CHOK
chok-
(1) to scatter (tv)
(2) to sow
CHOK-ka,
CHOK-ko,
cho?-ka,
cho?-ko
chu-ka
chuk-
(1) to seize (tv)
(2) to capture (tv)
chu-ku
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hieroglyph72:
Concise Glyph Dictionary
transliteration73:
transcription74:
translation75:
alternative spellings76:
CHUM[mu]
chum-
(1) to sit down (pv)
(2) to be seated (pv)
CHUM
ch’a-ji
ch’aaj
ch’aah
ch’aj
(1) drops (n)
(2) incense (n)
(3) blood? (n)
(4) maize? (n)
ch’a-ja,
ch’a-ha,
cha
ch’a-ho-ma
ch’ahom
(1) “man”?
CH’AHOM-ma,
ch’a-ho
CH’AK-ka
ch’ak-
(1) to cut (tv)
(2) to chop (tv)
(3) to decapitate (tv)
CH’AK
CH’AMK’AM
ch’amk’am-
(1) to take (tv)
(2) to grasp (tv)
(3) to receive(tv)
CH’AM,
CH’AM-ma,
ch’a-CH’AM,
ch’a-ma,
k’a-ma?
ch’a-CH’AMAK?
ch’amak?
(1) fox (n)
ch’a-ma-ka,
CH’AMAK?
CH’EN-na
ch’e’n
(1) cave (n)
(2) hollow (n)
(3) well (n)
CH’EN
CH’OK
ch’ok
(1) youth (n)
(2) sprout (n)
(3) youngster (n)
ch’o-ko,
CH’OK-ko
(y)e-be-ta
ebe’t
ebet
(1) messenger (n)
ye-be-te
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hieroglyph72:
Concise Glyph Dictionary
transliteration73:
transcription74:
translation75:
alternative spellings76:
e-bu
e[h]b
(1) stair (n)
(2) scaffold (n)
e-EB,
EB-bu,
e-ba,
ye-bu,
ye-ba
EK’
ek’
eek’
(1) star (n)
e-k’e
EL-K’IN-ni
elk’in
(1) east (n)
EL-K’IN
HA’
ha’
(1) water (n)
(2) body of water (n)
(3) lake
(4) river
HA-a,
a
ha-i
ha’i’?
haa’?
ha’?
(1) this (ip)
ha-a
HAB
ha[a]b
(1) ‘year’ (n)
(i.e. 360 days)
HAB,
HAB[bi]
ha-ma
ham
(1) open (tv?/pv?)
HIX
hi[i]x
(1) ocelot? / margay? (n)
hi-HIX
HUN
hu’n
hu’un
(1) book (n)
(2) paper (n)
(3) headband (n)
(4) diadem
HUN-na,
hu-na
HUL
hul-
(1) to arrive (to a place) (iv)
HUL-li,
hu-li
(y)i-cha-ni
(y)ichaan
(1) maternal uncle (n)
(2) mother’s brother (n)
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hieroglyph72:
Concise Glyph Dictionary
transliteration73:
transcription74:
translation75:
alternative spellings76:
(y)i[chi]-NAL-la
(y)ichnal
(1) with
(2) in the company of (cop?)
yi-chi-NAL-la,
yi-chi-NAL,
yi-chi-na-la,
yi-[chi]NAL-la,
yi-[chi]NAL,
yi-T703v-NAL
(y)i-tz’i-ni
(y)i[h]tz’iin
(y)i[h]tz’in
(1) younger brother (n)
i-tz’i,
yi-tz’i-na
IK’
ik’
(1) air (n)
(2) wind (n)
(3) breath (n)
IK’
ik’
i[h]k’
(1) black (adj)
IL
il-
(1) to see (tv)
(2) to witness (tv)
IL-la,
i-la
ITZAMNAJ?-ji
Itzamnaaj
(1) Itzamnaaj (n)
(name of a deity)
i-ITZAMNAJ
IX
IXIK
na
ix
ixik
na
(1) female/feminine
classifier
(2) woman (n)
(3) lady (n)
(4) mother (n)
i-xi
IXIK-ki
ja-yi
jaay
jay
(1) bowl (n)
ja-ya
ja-na-bi
janaa[h]b
(1) a type of flower (n)
JANAB,
ja-NAB
ja-wa-TE’
jawa[n]te’
(1) ‘tripod plate’ (n)
ja-TE’
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hieroglyph72:
Concise Glyph Dictionary
transliteration73:
transcription74:
translation75:
alternative spellings76:
JOL
jol
jo’l?
jolom/joloom?
(1) head (n)
(2) skull? (n)
JOL-lo,
JOL-li,
JOL-la,
JOL-le,
JOL-mi
ju-lu
jul
(1) spear (n)
(2) to pierce (tv)
1-TAN-na
junta[h]n
juunta[h]n
ju’nta[h]n
hunta[h]n
(1) cherished one (n)
(2) beloved (n)
1-TAN,
1-ta-na,
1-TAN-ni
KAB / CHAB
kab
kaab
chab
chaab
(1) land (n)
(2) earth
(3) bee (n)
(4) honey (n)
ka-ba,
ka-bi
kakaw
(1) cacao (n)
ka-ka-wa,
ka-wa,
ka-2ka-wa,
2ka-wa,
ka
KAL?-TE’
kalomte’
(1) kalomte’ (n)
(exalted regal title)
KAL?-ma-TE’,
ka-lo-ma-TE’,
ka-KAL?-TE’,
ka-KAL?-ma-TE’,
ka-KAL?-ma-TE’-te
ke-KELEM?-ma
ke-KELOM?-ma
kelem
kelom?
(1) strong (adj)
(2) youth (n)
(3) rooster? (n)
ke-le-ma,
ke-lo-ma,
KELEM?,
KELOM?
KOHAW-wa
ko’haw
(1) headdress (n)
(2) helmet (n)
ko-ha-wa,
ko-o-ha-wa
ko-ko-no-ma
ko[h]knom
(1) guardian (n)
2
ka-wa
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hieroglyph72:
Concise Glyph Dictionary
transliteration73:
transcription74:
translation75:
alternative spellings76:
K’ABA’
k’aba’
(1) name (n)
K’ABA’-a,
K’ABA’-ba-a,
K’ABA’-a,
K’ABA’-ba,
k’a-ba-a,
k’a-ba
K’AK’
k’a[h]k’
(1) fire (n)
K’AK’-k’a,
k’a-K’AK’,
k’a-k’a,
2K’AK’ / 2k’a
K’AL-
k’al-
(1) to present (tv)
(2) to lift (tv)
(3) to bind/fasten (tv)
(5) to wrap (tv)
(6) to hold (tv)
k’a-la-
K’AN
k’an
(1) yellow (adj)
(2) ripe (adj)
K’AN-na
K’AN
k’a[h]n
(1) bench (n)
(2) seat (n)
K’AN-na
K’AWIL
K’awiil
K’awil
(1) K’awiil (n)
(name of deity)
K’AWIL-la,
K’AWIL-li,
K’AWIL-wi-la,
k’a-wi-la
K’IN-ni
k’in
k’ihn?
k’iin?
(1) sun (n)
(2) day (n)
(3) light? (n)
K’IN
K’INICH
k’i[h]nich
(1) K’i(h)nich (Ajaw)
(name of deity)
K’IN-ni-chi,
K’IN-ni-hi-chi,
[K’IN]chi-ni
K’INICH
k’i[h]nich
(1) title (sunny, hot or
heated (adj))
K’IN-ni-chi,
K’IN-ni-hi-chi
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hieroglyph72:
Concise Glyph Dictionary
transliteration73:
transcription74:
translation75:
alternative spellings76:
K’UH
k’uh
(1) god (n)
(2) deity (n)
k’u-hu,
k’u,
K’U’-u
K’UH
k’uh[ul]
(1) godly (adj)
(2) divine (adj)
(3) sacred (adj)
k’u-hu-lu,
k’u-ju-lu,
K’UH-HUL,
K’UH-JUL-lu,
K’UH-JUL,
K’U’-u-lu,
K’UH-hu-lu
K’UH-tzi
k’uuhtz
(1) tobacco (n)
la-ka
lak
laak
(1) plate (n)
la-ki,
LAK?
LAKAM
lakam
(1) banner (n)
(2) great (n)
(3) title (n)
la-ka-ma,
LAKAM-ma,
LAKAM
ma-xi
maax
(1) spider monkey (n)
MIJIN?-na
mijiin?
(1) child of father (n)
MIJIN
MO’
mo’
moo’?
(1) macaw (n)
MO’-o,
mo-o,
mo-o-o
MUYAL-ya-la
muyal
muyaal
(1) cloud (n)
mu-MUYAL?-la,
MUYAL?-la,
MUYAL?,
MUYAL?-li
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hieroglyph72:
Concise Glyph Dictionary
transliteration73:
transcription74:
translation75:
alternative spellings76:
NAB
naab
(1) lake (n)
(2) sea (n)
(3) pool (n)
(4) waterlily? (n)
na-bi,
NAB-bi
NAL
-nal
(1) place (n)
(2) maize (n)
(locative suffix)
na-la,
NAL-la,
na-NAL
na-wa
na’-
(1) to present? (tv)
NAH-wa
OCH-chi
och-
(1) to enter (iv)
OCH,
o-chi
OCH-K’IN-ni
ochk’in
(1) ‘sun-entry’? (n)
(2) west (n)
OCH-K’IN
OL-la
o[h]l
(1) heart (n)
(2) portal (n)
(3) center (n)
o-la,
OL,
2o-la,
(y)o-OL-la
(y)o-OTOT-ti
(y)otoot
(1) house
(2) home
OTOT,
OTOT-ti,
o-to-ti,
yo-to-ti
pa-ka-la
pakal
(1) shield (n)
PAKAL,
PAKAL-la
PAS
pas[aj]
(1) dawn (n)
pa-sa-ja,
PAS-sa-ja
PAT-
pat-
(1) to make (pv)
(2) to shape/form (pv)
(3) to build (pv)
pa-ta-,
PAT-ta-,
pa-PAT-
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hieroglyph72:
Concise Glyph Dictionary
transliteration73:
transcription74:
translation75:
alternative spellings76:
pi-bi-NAH-a
pibnaah
(1) sweatbath, sauna (cn)
pi-bi-NAH,
pi-bi-NAH-li
pi-tzi
pitz
(1) ballgame (n)
(2) to play ball (tv)
(3) ballplayer (n)
sa-ja-la
sajal
(title) (n)
sa-ja,
sa[ja],
sa[ja]-la,
sa
SAK
sak
(1) white (adj)
(2) pure (adj)
SAK-ka,
SAK-ki,
sa-ku
SIH?
SIY?
sih?siy?-
(1) to be born (iv[d?])
su-ku-WINIK-ki
suku[n] winik
(1) older brother (n)
sa-ku-wi-WINIK-ki
TAJ
taj
(1) pine
(2) (pine) torch
ta-ja
TAN
ta[h]n
(1) center (n)
(2) in (prep)
(3) in the center of (prep)
TAN-na
TE’
te’
te’el
(1) tree (n)
(2) wood (n)
(3) forest (n)
TE’-e,
TE’-le,
TE’-e-le
te-mu
tem?
temul?
(1) throne (n)
90/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
hieroglyph72:
Concise Glyph Dictionary
transliteration73:
transcription74:
translation75:
ti
ti-
(1) in, at, on, to, with, by,
for, as (prep)
TOK’
to[o]k’
to[’]k’
tok’
(1) chert, flint, chalcedony
(n)
to-k’a,
to-k’o,
TOK’-k’o,
to-TOK’
TUN
tuun
tun
(1) stone (n)
(2) year (n)
TUN,
TUN-ni,
tu-TUN ,
tu-TUN-ni,
tu-ni
tu-pa
tup
tuup
tu’p
tu’up
(1) earspool (n)
(2) earflare (n)
tu-pa-ja,
TUP,
tu-TUP,
tu-pi
TZAK
tzak-
(1) to conjure (tv)
TZUTZ
tzutz-
(1) to end (tv)
(2) to complete (tv)
(3) to finish (tv)
tzu,
tzu-tza
TZ’AK
tz’ak-
(1) to count (tv)
(2) to put in order (tv)
(3) to increase (tv)
TZ’AK-ka,
TZ’AK-a,
tz’a-pa
tz’ap-
(1) to plant, to insert (tv)
tz’a[pa]-
tz’i-bi
tz’i[h]b-
(1) writing / painting (n)
TZ’IB
tz’i-ba
tz’i[h]ba-
(1) to write / paint (tvd)
tz’i-bi-
91/154
alternative spellings76:
2
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
hieroglyp
ph72:
Concise Glyph Dictionary
transliteratio
on73:
transcription74:
translation75:
alternative spellings76:
a/AJ-TZ’IB-b
ba
a[j] tz’i[h]b
(1) writer, paintter (n)
a/AJ-tz’i-ba
a
u
u-
(1) he, she, it (p
prpr)
(2
2) his, her, its (poss)
(
(before wordss starting with
consonants)
u-ti
u[h]t-
(1) to happen, to occur (iv)
UH-ti
(y)u-ne
(y)une[[n]
(1) child of fath
her (n)
yu-2ne
wa-WAJ-ji
waaj
(1) tamale, breaad,
maize
m
dough (n
n)
(2
2) foodstuffs produced
from maize dou
ugh (n)
WAJ-ji,
wa-WAJ,
WAJ
WAY
way / wahy?
w
(1) way/wahi (n))
(2
2) nawal (n)
(3
3) co-essence, animal
a
spirit
co
ompanion, alteer ego (n)
WAY-ya,
a,
WAY-wa-ya
wa-WAY-ya
a,
wa-ya
WINAK?
K’AL
winaakk?
k’aal
k’al
(1) twenty (num
m)
ki,
WINAK?-k
K’AL-li,
K’AL-la
WINIK
winik
(1) person (n)
(2
2) man (n)
(3
3) 20-day perio
od (n)
WINIK-ki,
wi-WINIK--ki
wi-WITZ
witz
(1) mountain (n
n) (2) hill (n)
WITZ,
wi-tzi
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hieroglyph72:
Concise Glyph Dictionary
transliteration73:
transcription74:
translation75:
alternative spellings76:
xa-MAN-na
xaman
(1) north (n)
xa-ma-MAN-na,
xa-MAN
XOK-ki
xook
(1) shark (n)
XOK
YAX
yax
(1) blue-green (adj)
(2) clear, clean (adj)
(3) first (adj)
ya-YAX,
ya-xa
y(a)
y-
(1) he, she, it (prpr)
(2) his, her, its (poss)
(before words starting with
vowels)
y(e)
y-
(1) he, she, it (prpr)
(2) his, her, its (poss)
(before words starting with
vowels)
y(i)
y-
(1) he, she, it (prpr)
(2) his, her, its (poss)
(before words starting with
vowels)
y(o)
y-
(1) he, she, it (prpr)
(2) his, her, its (poss)
(before words starting with
vowels)
y(u)
y-
(1) he, she, it (prpr)
(2) his, her, its (poss)
(before words starting with
vowels)
??
??
(1) to be defeated /
to be destroyed?
(3) to set, to go down (iv)
Table XXIV: Concise Classic Maya – English Dictionary79
79
The following drawings are provided by Christophe Helmke: (y)a-k’u-tu-u, che-e-bu, (u)ja-yi, ja-wa-TE’, and MUYAL-ya-la.
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Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Verbs
A THEMATIC CLASSIC MAYA – ENGLISH DICTIONARY
VERBS
Root/stem:
Transliteration80:
Transcription 81:
GC82:
Translation83:
ah-
a-ha-la
a-ha-li
ah-al
ah-aal
iv
to create, awaken
ahk’- / ahk’u
ya-k’a-wa
ya-AK’-wa
ya-k’u-tu-u
y-a[h]k’-aw
y-a[h]k’-[a]w
y-a[h]k’u-tu’
tv
to give. Note the yahk’utu’
example, which renders a
noun for “gift”.
ahk’t-
a[AK’]-ta-ja
AK’-ta-ja
AK-ta-ji
a-AK’-ta
AK’-ta
i-AK’-TAJ-ja
AK’-TAJ
a[h]k’t-aj
a[h]k’t-aj
a[h]k’t-aaj
a[h]k’t-a[j]
a[h]k’t-a[j]
i-a[h]k’t-aj
a[h]k’t-aj
ivd
to dance. Derived from the
noun ahk’Vt (ahk’ot? /
ahk’ut?) for “dance”, in
which the (internal) vowel
is syncopated in the
verbalized form.
ak-
ya-ka-ta-ji
y-ak-t-aaj
*
to leave, abdicate
al-
ya-la-ja
ya-la-ji
ya-la-ji-ya
ya-la-[ji]ya
y-al-aj
y-al-aaj
y-al-j-iiy
y-al-j-iiy
tv
to say
a’n-
a-nu
AN-nu
a-AN-na
a-AN
AN
a’n
a’n
a[’]n
a[’]n
a[’]n
iv
to be, exist – used as part of
deity impersonation
expressions
ahn-
a-ni
a[h]n-i
iv
to run, walk
at-
ya-ti-ji
ya-ta-ji
ya-AT-ji
y-at-ij
y-at-[i]j / -aaj
y-at-[i]j
tvd
to bathe
bak-
BAK-na-ja
BAK-wa-ja
u-BAK-wa
ba[a]k-n-aj
ba[a]k-w-aj
u-bak-[a]w
tv
to make captive
bal- / bahl-
ba-la-ja
u-ba-la-wa
ba-la-ma
BALAM-ma
bal-aj
u-bal-aw
ba[h]l-am
ba[h]l-am
tv
to hide, cover
This is a broad transliteration that excludes analyzed/interpreted sounds (vowel length, glottal stops, and /h/’s [preconsonantal velar fricatives])
that are not inbuilt/inherent parts of hieroglyphs but were, conversely, indicated by harmony rules, grammatical inflection, and in the case of
underspellings, provided by the native reader. Alternative spelling arrangements are based primarily on Boot 2009, Lacadena and Wichmann
2004, Lacadena and Zender 2001, and Lacadena (personal communication, 2001-2006).
81 This is a narrow transcription including reconstructed sounds (marked by [square brackets]) based either on historical, internal, or paleographic
evidence.
82 GC: Grammatical category; Abbreviations: verbs: iv: intransitive verb, ivd: intransitive verb (derived), pv: positional verb tv: transitive verb, tvd:
transitive verb (derived); nouns and adjectives: adj: adjective, cn: composite noun, n: noun; other: adv: adverb, ag: agentive, cop: copula, dem:
demonstrative pronoun, ip: independent pronoun, ncl: numeral classifier, num: numeral, part: particle, poss: possessive prefix, prep: preposition,
pronA: pronominal absolutive suffix, pronE: pronominal ergative prefix.
83 This is really a gloss rather than translation (a gloss is a short general translation of a word or morpheme which does not take into account the
context in which it occurs). Nonetheless, when several well-attested meanings exist, these are sorted (in the order of numerical ascendancy) from
the most literal to the most figurative. The latter do (to a certain degree) take into consideration the various meanings that the contexts of
wordscan potentially imbue them with.
80
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Thematic Dictionary: Verbs
Root/stem:
Transliteration80:
Transcription 81:
GC82:
Translation83:
bixanbih-xan-
[bi]XAN?-na
[bi]XAN?-ni-ya
bi[h]-xan
bi[h]-xan-iiy
iv
lit. “to ‘road-go’, ‘roadwalk’” or “go, travel”.
Possible origin from bih–
“road” plus –xan “to run,
walk”.
bik’-
bi-k’i
bik’
iv
to scribble
buch-
bu-BUCH-wa-ni
buch-waan
pv
to be seated
buk-
bu-ku-yi
buk-uuy
tv
to dress
but’-
u-bu-t’u-wa
u-but’-uw
tv
to fill, cover
butz’
bu-tz’a-ja
bu[h]tz’-aj
*
to (make) smoke
cham- / kamchim-
CHAM
CHAM-mi
CHAM-mi-ya
cham
cham-i
cham-iiy
iv
to die
che’- / cheh-
che-e-na
che-na
che-he-na
che’-[e]’n
che[’-e]’n
cheh-e’n
tv/iv?
to say, tell
chok-
cho-ko-wa
u-cho-ko-wa
CHOK-wa
u-CHOK-wa
u-CHOK-ko-wa
u-CHOK-wi
u-CHOK-ji
chok-ow
u-chok-ow
chok-[o]w
u-chok-[o]w
u-chok-ow
u-chok-[oo]w
u-chok-[i]j
tv
to scatter, sow, cast
chuk-
chu-ka
chu-ka-ja
chu[ku]-ja /
CHUK-ja
chu-ku-ka-ja
u-chu-ku-wa
u-chu[ku]-ya /
u-CHUK-ya
chu[ku]-ji-ya /
CHUK-ji-ya
chu[h]k-a[j]
chu[h]k-aj
chu[h]k-[a]j
tv
to capture, seize
CHUM[mu]-li-ya
CHUM[mu]-li
CHUM[mu]-la-ja
CHUM-la-ji-ya
CHUM[mu]-la-ji-ya
CHUM[mu]-wa-ni
CHUM[mu]-wa-niya
CHUM[mu]-ji-ya
CHUM[mu]-ja
chum-l-iiy
chum-l-i[iy]
chum-l-aj
chum-l-aj-iiy
chum-l-aj-iiy
chum-waan
chum-waan-iiy
pv
to sit
chun-
chu-ni
chun- / -[i]
iv
to sit (variant of chum-)
chun-
chu-ni
chun- / -[i]
tv
to conjure??
chuy-
chu-yu
u-chu-yu
chuy
u-chuy
tv
to weave, sew
chum-
chu[h]k-aj
u-chu[h]k-uw
u-chuk-[ii]y
chu[h]k-j-iiy
chum-j-iiy
chu[h]m-[a]j
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Thematic Dictionary: Verbs
Root/stem:
Transliteration80:
Transcription 81:
GC82:
Translation83:
ch’ab-
u-ch’a-ba-wa
ch’a-CH’AB-wi
u-ch’ab-aw
ch’ab-[aa]w
tv
1) to fast, do penance
2) to create
ch’ak-
ch’a-ka-ja
CH’AK-ka-ja
CH’AK-ka
CH’AK
ch’a[h]k-aj
ch’a[h]k’-aj
ch’a[h]k-a[j]
ch’a[h]k-
tv
to chop, axe, decapitate
ch’am- / k’am-
ch’a-ma
ch’a-CH’AM
CH’AM-ma
CH’AM-wa
CH’AM-wi
u-CH’AM-wa
CH’AM-ya
k’a-ma
ch’am
ch’am
ch’am
ch’am-aw
ch’am-aaw
u-ch’am-[a]w
ch’am-[ii]y
k’am
tv
to grasp, take, seize
ch’om-
ch’o-ma
ch’om
tv
to hit
ek-
e-ke-wa-ni-ya
ek-waan-iiy
pv
to place, enter, insert
el-
EL-le
EL
el
el
tv
to burn, cense
ehm-
e-mi
e-mi-ya
EM-ye
EM[ye]
EMye-ma-la
ye-EM-la
e[h]m-i
e[h]m-iiy
e[h]m-[e]y
e[h]m-[e]y
e[h]m
y-e[h]m-al
y-e[h]m-[a]l
iv
to descend, go down
ham-
ha-ma-li-ya
ham-l-iiy
tv/pv? to open, untie
hil-
hi-li
hil-i
iv
to rest, end
hul- / (h)ul- / ul-
hu-li
HUL-li
hu-li-ya
HUL-li-ya
HUL-ya
HUL-ye
HUL-le-li-[ji]ya
hul-i
hul-i
hul-iiy
hul-iiy
hul-[ii]y
hul-[e]y
hul-el-ij-iiy
iv
to arrive (there), come
il-
i-la-ja
i-IL-ji
IL-la
IL-ja
yi-la-ji
yi-li-a-ji
yi-li-ji
yi-IL-ji
yi-IL-la-ja
yi-IL-a
yi-li-a-[ji]ya
il-aj
il-[i]j
il-a[j]
il-[a]j
y-il-aaj
y-il-aaj
y-il-[i]j
y-il-[i]j
y-il-aj
y-il-a[j]
y-il-aj-iiy
tv
to see, witness
jal-
JAL
JAL-ji-ya
jaljal-j-iiy
tv
to manifest
jas-
ja-sa-wa
jas-aw
tv
to clear?
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Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Verbs
Root/stem:
Transliteration80:
Transcription 81:
GC82:
Translation83:
jatz’-
ja-tz’a-yi
ja-tz’o-ma
jatz’-[aa]y
jatz’-om
tv
to strike, hit
jaw-
ja-wa-TE’
ja-TE’
jaw-a[n]-te’
ja[w]-[an]-te’
pv
to be with open mouth,
gaping mouth
jel-
u-je-le-wa
u-jel-[e]’w
tv
1) to adorn, dress
2) to change, replace
joch’-
jo-ch’a
jo-ch’a-ja
jo-ch’o
jo-ch’o-ja
jo-ch’o-ji-ya
u-jo-ch’o-wa
jo-ch’o-li
jo[h]ch’-a[j]
jo[h]ch’-aj
joch’
jo[h]ch’-[a]j
joch’-j-iiy
u-joch’-ow
joch’-ool / -l-i
tv
to drill, drill (fire)
jom-
jo-mo-yi
jom-ooy
tv
sink, destroy, ruin, finish
jop-
jo-po-la-ja
jo-po-la
jo-po-wo
jop-l-aj
jop-l-a[j]
jop-ow
iv
to stoke, fill
joy-
jo-JOY-ja
JOY-ja
JOY[ja]
JOY-ya-ja
JOY[ja]-ji-ya
[jo]JOY-ji-ji-ya
jo[h]y-[a]j
jo[h]y-[a]j
jo[h]y-[a]j
jo[h]y-aj
jo[h]y-[a]j-iiy
jo[h]y-[a]j-ij-iiy
tv
to bind, reveal, debut
jub-
ju-bu-yi
jub-uuy
tv
to topple, fall, bring down,
depose
jul-
JUL
u-JUL-lu
u-JUL-wa
jul
u-jul
u-jul-[u]w
tv
to pierce, throw (spear, dart,
or arrow), hurl
kab-
u-KAB-ji
u-[KAB]ji
u-KAB-ya
u-KAB-ji-ya
u-KAB-[ji]ya
u-kab-[i]j
u-kab-[i]j
u-KAB-[ii]y
u-kab-j-iiy
u-kab-j-iiy
tv
to supervise, oversee
kach-
u-ka-cha-wa
u-kach-aw
tv
to tie, knot
kal-
ka-lo-ma
ka-[KAL]ma
[KAL]ma
KAL
kal-om
kal-[o]m
kal-[o]m
kal
tv
to open, hack
kam-
---
---
see cham-
kob-
u-ko-bo
u-ko-bo-wa
u-kob
u-kob-ow
?
to liken, do things alike,
repeat
koh-
ko-ho-yi
i-ko-ho-yi
ko-ji-ya
koh-ooy
i-koh-ooy
ko[h]-j-iiy
EB: tv to strike, break-down
TK &
NG: iv
kohk-
ko-ko-no-ma
ko[h]k-n-om
tvd *
to guard, watch over
tv: NG
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Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Verbs
Root/stem:
Transliteration80:
Transcription 81:
GC82:
Translation83:
kotz’-
ko-tz’o-la
ko-tz’o-ma
kotz’-ol
kotz’-om
v*
to roll-up, coil
kuch-
ku-cha-ja
u-ku-chu
KUCH?-chi
KUCH?
ku[h]ch-aj
u-kuch
kuch-i
kuch
tv
to carry
k’a’-
k’a-a-yi
k’a-yi
K’A’-yi
k’a’-[aa]y
k’a[’]-[aa]y
k’a’-[aa]y
iv
lit. to diminish, terminate,
wilt, end or to die
k’ahk’-
k’a-k’a-bi-li
k’a[h]k’-bil
tv
to burn, braise
k’al-
k’a-la-ja
u-K’AL-wa
K’AL-ja
K’AL-[ji]ya
K’AL-wa
K’AL-wi
k’a[h]l-aj
u-k’al-[a]w
k’a[h]l-[a]j
k’a[h]l-j-iiy
k’al-[a]w
k’al-[aa]w
tv
to present, raise, bind,
fasten, enclose
k’am-
---
---
see ch’am-
k’as-
k’a-sa-ja
k’a-sa-ya
k’a[h]s-aj
k’as-ay
tv
to break, splinter
k’at-
k’a-ti
k’at-i
tv
want
k’ay-
k’a-yo-ma
K’AY
k’ay-om
k’ay
iv
to sing
k’ub-
k’u-ba-ja
k’u[h]b-aj
tv
to present, offer, deposit,
deliver
k’uh-
K’UH-na
K’UH-hu-na
K’UH-HUN-na
K’UH-HUN
k’uh-[u’]n
k’uh-u’n
k’uh-u’n
k’uh-u[’]n
tv
to venerate, worship
k’ux-
k’u-xa-ja
k’u-xa-ji
K’UH-xu-ja
k’u[h]x-aj
k’u[h]x-aaj
k’uhx-[a]j
tv
1) to bite (crunchy foods),
hurt, torture
2) to end, finish
lam-
la-ma
LAM-wa
LAM
lam
lam-[a]w
lam
iv
to diminish, expire / elapse?
lek’-
u-le-k’a
u-lek’
tv
to elevate
lok’-
u-lo-k’o-la
u-LOK’
lo-LOK’
LOK’
LOK’-yi
u-lok’-ol
u-lok’-[ol]
lok’-[ooy]
lok’-[ooy]
lok’-ooy
iv
to emerge, leave, exit,
escape, flee
mach-
ma-cha-ja
ma-chi-ta
ma[h]ch-aj
ma[h]ch-iit / -t-a[j]
tv
to grab
mak-
ma-ka-ja
ma-AK-ja-ji-ya
ma-ka-xa
ma[h]k-aj
ma[h]k-aj-iiy
ma[h]k-ax
tv
1) to cover, close
2) to betroth, promise
mak’-
u-ma-k’a
u-ma-k’a-wa
u-mak’- / -a[j]
u-mak’-aw
tv
to eat (soft foods)
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Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Verbs
Root/stem:
Transliteration80:
Transcription 81:
GC82:
Translation83:
mek’-
u-me-k’e-ji-ya
u-me-k’e-[ji]ya
u-mek’-j-iiy
u-mek’-j-iiy
*
to embrace (?)
mis-
mi-si
mis
tv
to clean, sweep
muk-
mu-ka-ja
mu-ku-ja
u-mu-ku
mu-ku-yi
mu[h]k-aj
mu[h]k-[a]j
u-muk
muk-uuy
tv
to bury, inter
nahb-
NAB-ja
na[h]b-[a]j
iv
to pool (like the sea)
naj-
na-ja-yi
naj-aay
*
to fill (?)
nak-
u-na-ka-wa
u-nak-aw
tv
to conquer, battle
na’-
na-wa-ja
na[’]-w-aj
tv
to present?
nup-
nu-pa-ja
nu[h]p-aj
tv
to join, merge
och- / ok-
o-chi
o-chi-ya
OCH-chi-ya
OCH-chi
OCH
och-i
och-iiy
och-iiy
och-i
och[-i]
iv
to enter
otoot-
OTOT-NAH-ja
oto[o]t-n-aj
iv
to be housed
pach-
pa-chi
pach-i / pach
tv
to choose, select
pak-
pa-ka-la-ja
u-pa-ka-ba
pak-l-aj
u-pak-ab
pv
to invert, turn over, face
downwards, fold over
pak-
pa-ka-xa
pa-ka-xi
pak-ax
pak-aax
tv
to return
pak’-
pa-k’a
u-pa-k’a
pa-k’a-ji-ya
pak’
u-pak’
pak’-j-iiy
tv
to set, place, dab, plant
pan-
pa-na-wa-ni
pan-waan
pv
to dig (?)
pas-
pa-sa-ja
u-pa-sa-wa
pa[h]s-aj
u-pas-aw
tv
to open, reveal, expose,
exhume
pat-
pa-ta-wa-ni
PAT-wa-ni
PAT-ta-wa-ni
PAT-la-ja
PAT-[la]ja
pat-waan
pat-waan
pat-waan
pat-l-aj
pat-l-aj
pv
to make, shape, form, build
pat-
u-pa-ti-ji
u-PAT-ji
u-PAT-ta-wa
u-pat-ij
u-pat-[i]j
u-pat-aw
tv
to make, shape, form, build
pek-
u-pe-ka-ja
u-pek-aj
*
to call/announce?
pet-
PET-te
PET-ja
PET-ji-ya
pet
pe[h]t-[a]j
pe[h]t-j-iiy
tv
to make round
pich-
pi-chi
pich
tv
to perforate
pitz-
pi-tzi-ja
pi-tzi-la-ja
pi-tzi-ji-ya
pitz-iij
pitz-iil-[a]j
pitz-j-iiy
ivd
to play ball
99/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Verbs
Root/stem:
Transliteration80:
Transcription 81:
GC82:
Translation83:
pok-
u-po-ko-lo
u-pok-ol
tv
to wash, rinse
puk-
PUK
PUK-ki
puk
puk-i
iv
to scatter, spread (in
reference to fire / embers)
pul-
pu-lu-yi
PUL-yi
pul-uuy
pul-uuy
iv/tv?
to burn, set ablaze
sat-
sa-ta-yi
sat-aay
tv
1) to destroy
2) to loose
siy- / sihy-
SIY-ja
SIY-ya-ja
SIY-ja-[ji]ya
SIY-ji-ja
si[h]y-[a]j
si[h]y-aj
si[h]y-[a]j-iiy
si[h]y-j-iiy
ivd
to be born
sin-
si-na-ja
si-na
u-si-na
si[h]n-aj
si[h]n-a[j]
u-si[h]n-a[j]
tv
to extend, spread out
sus-
su-sa-ja
su[h]s-aj
tv
to scrape, peel
tak’-
ta-k’a
u-ta-k’a
ta-k’a-ni
tak’
u-tak’
tak’-aan
tv
to plaster, paste
tal-
ta-li
ta-li-ya
TAL-
tal-i
tal-iiy
tal
iv
to come, arrive (here)
tap- / tahp-
ta-pa-la
tap-al / ta[h]p-al
iv
1) to extinguish, douse
2) to decorate
tek’-
te-k’a-ja
te[h]k’-aj
tv
to step on, trample
til-
ti-li-wi
TIL-wi
til-iw
til-[i]w
iv
to stoke, burn
tihm-
ti-ma-ja
u-ti-mi-wa
u-ti-mi-je-la
ti[h]m-aj
u-tim-[i]w
*
to satisfy, appease, placate
tut-
tu-ta-ja
tu-tu-yi
tut-aj
tut-uuy
tv
to visit, pass by
t’ab-
t’a?-ba-yi
T’AB?-yi
T’AB?[yi]
t’ab-aay
t’ab-aay
t’ab-aay
iv
1) to ascend, raise
2) to ‘dedicate’
tzak-
u-TZAK-wa
TZAK-wa
TZAK-wi
TZAK-wi-ya
TZAK-ja
u-tzak-[a]w
tzak-[a]w
tzak-[aa]w
tzak-[aa]w-[ii]y
tza[h]k-[a]j
tv
to conjure, grasp
slippery/elusive things
tzik-
tzi-ka-ja
tzi[h]k-aj
tv
to read, count, reckon
100/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Verbs
Root/stem:
Transliteration80:
Transcription 81:
GC82:
Translation83:
tzutz-
tzu-tza-ja
tzu-ja
2tzu-ji-ya
TZUTZ-tza-ja
TZUTZ-ja
u-TZUTZ-wa
u-TZUTZ-yi
TZUTZ-yi
TZUTZ-jo-ma
tzu[h]tz-aj
tzu[h]tz-[a]j
tzu[h]tz-j-iiy
tzu[h]tz-aj
tzu[h]tz-[a]j
u-tzutz-[u]w
u-tzutz-[uu]y
tzutz-[uu]y
tzutz-j-om
tv
to end, terminate, complete
u-TZ’AK
u-TZ’AK-ka
u-TZ’AK-a
u-TZ’AK-ka-a
u-TZ’AK-bu-ji-li
u-tz’ak
u-tz’ak
u-tz’ak-a[’]
u-tz’ak-a’
u-tz’ak-bu-j-il /
-buuj-[i]l
tv
to stack, put in order,
accumulate, align, arrange
tv
to destroy
2
tz’ak-
tz’antz’ap-
u-tz’a-pa-wa
tz’a-pa-wa
tz’a-pa-ja
tz’a[pa]-ja
tz’a-pa-pa-ja
tz’a-pa-[ji]ya
u-tz’ap-aw
tz’ap-aw
tz’a[h]p-aj
tz’a[h]p-aj
tz’a[h]p-aj
tz’a[h]p-j-iiy
tv
1) to plant, insert, hoist
2) to erect a stela
tz’ay-
tz’a-ya-ja
tz’a[h]y-aj
tv
to come down, win (?)
tz’ihba-
u-tz’i-ba
tz’i-bi-na-ja
u-tz’i-bi-na-ja
u-tz’i-bi-na-ja-la
u-tz’i[h]b-a
tz’i[h]b-n-aj
u-tz’i[h]b-n-aj
u-tz’i[h]b-n-aj-al
iv
to paint / write
ub-
yu-bi
yu-bi-la
y-ub
y-ub-iil
iv
to hear
uk’-
u-UK’-ni
yu-UK’-bi
uk’-uun
y-uk’-[i]b
iv
to drink
uht-
u-ti
u-ti-ya
UH-ti
UH-ti-ya
u-to-ma
u-u-ti
u[h]t-i
u[h]t-iiy
uht-i
uht-iiy
u[h]t-om
u-u[h]t-i
iv
to happen, occur
ux- / uxul-
u-xu-lu
yu-xu-lu
yu-xu-lu-ji
yu-xu-li
yu-xu-lu-li
ux-ul
y-ux-ul
y-ux-ul-[i]j / -uuj
y-ux-uul
y-ux-ul-uul
tvd
to carve, incise, sculpt
wa’-
wa-a-wa-ni
wa-WA’-la-ja
WA’-la-ja
wa-WA’-ji-ya
WA’-ji-ya
WA’-ja
wa-[i]ja
wa’-waan
wa’-l-aj
wa’-l-aj
wa’-j-iiy
wa’-j-iiy
wa’-[ii]j
wa[’]-iij
pv
to be erect, set upright,
propped up
101/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Verbs
Root/stem:
Transliteration80:
Transcription 81:
GC82:
Translation83:
wal-
wa-WAL-la-ja
WAL-la-ja
wa-WAL-ji-ya
WAL-ji-ya
WAL-ja
wal-aj
wal-aj
wal-j-iiy
wal-j-iiy
wal-[ii]j / wal-[a]j
tv
to set up
way-
WAY-bi
u-WAY
u-WAY-ya
u-WAY-bi
u-WAY-bi-li
way-ib
u-wa[h]y?
u-wa[h]y?
u-way-ib
u-way-bil
iv
to sleep, dream, transform
we’-
WE’
u-WE’-ya
u-WE’-ji-ya
WE’-ji
WE’-i-bi
WE’-bi
WE’-ma
WE’-la
we’
u-we’-[e]’y / -[ii]y
u-we’-j-iiy
we’-eej
we’-ib
we’-[i]b
we’-em
we’-el
tv
to eat (maize-based foods)
wi’-
WI’-ja
wi’-[a]j
tv
to eat (in martial
expressions). Apparently
derived from we’-aj “ate”.
witz-
wi-tzi-ja
WITZ-ja
witz-iij
witz-[ii]j
ivd
to stack, pile (like a
mountain)
wol-
wo-lo-yi
wol-ooy
tv
to make round, wrap up
xok-
xo-ki
xok-i
tv
to count, read
yal-
ya-la-ja
ya-la-ji-ya
YAL-la-ja
ya-le-je
yal-aj
yal-aj-iiy
yal-aj
yal-ej
tv
to cast, throw down
yip-
yi-pi-la-ja
yi-pi-ya-ja
yi-pi-ya-je-la
yip-l-aj
yip-y-aj
yip-y-aj-el
iv
to fill
yuhk-
yu-ku-[la]ja
yu-ku-no-ma
yu-[ku]no
yu[ku]
yu[h]k-l-aj
yu[h]k-n-om
yu[h]k-n-o[m]
yu[h]k
tv
1) to join, unite
2) to tremble, quake
yul-
yu-lu
yul
tv
to polish, burnish
102/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
NOUNS AND ADJECTIVES
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
abak
see sabak
---
---
---
ach
ACH?-cha
ach
n
“penis”. Possible Eastern
Ch’olan or Yukatekan
form.
ahal
a-ha-la
a-ha-li
ahal
ahaal
n
1) “dawn, creation”
2) “conquest”
ajaw
a-ja-wa
a-AJAW-wa
a-AJAW
AJAW-wa
AJAW
ajaw
ajaw
ajaw
ajaw
ajaw
n / title
1) lit. AG+speak >
“speaker” or more
loosely, “orator”
2) title for “lord, ruler,
king”
ajawil
AJAW-wa-li
AJAW-li
ajaw-[i]l
ajaw-[i]l
n
“lordship, rulership,
kingship, or kingdom”
ajawlel
AJAW-le-le
AJAW-le2
AJAW-wa-le
AJAW-le
ajaw-lel
ajaw-lel
ajaw-le[l]
ajaw-le[l]
n
“lordship, rulership,
kingship, or kingdom”
ajawte’
AJAW-TE’
AJAW[TE’]
ya-AJAW-TE’
ya-AJAW[TE’]
ajaw-te’
ajaw-te’
y-ajaw-te’
y-ajaw-te’
cn
title “tree-lord” or “king
tree” depending on
translation
ajtz’ihb
a/AJ-tz’i-bi
ya-tz’i-bi
a/AJ-TZ’IB
aj-tz’i[h]b
y-a[j]-tz’i[h]b
aj-tz’i[h]b
n
“painter, writer, scribe”
ahk
a-ka
AK-ka
AK
a[h]k
a[h]k
a[h]k
n
“turtle” – especially the
Central American River
Turtle (Dermatemys
mawii)
ahkul
ahku’l
a-ku-u-lu
a-ku-lu
a-ku-la
a-ku
AK-lu
AK-la
AK
a[h]k-u’l
a[h]k-ul / a[h]k-u[’]l
a[h]k-u’l
a[h]k-u[l]
a[h]k-[u]l
a[h]k-[u]’l
a[h]k-[ul] / a[h]k-[u’l]
n / top.
1) “turtle” – see above
2) More likely serves as a
toponymic expression for
“place where turtles
abound” used as part of
regal anthroponyms
ahkan
[ya]AKAN-na
a/AJ-AKAN-na
AKAN-na
AKAN
y-a[h]kan
a[h]kan
a[h]kan
a[h]kan
n/
theonym
1) “roar, groan”
2) theonym for God A’
ahk’ab
ya-k’a-ba
a-k’a-ba
AK’AB-li
AK’AB
y-a[h]k’ab
a[h]k’ab
a[h]k’ab-aal
a[h]k’ab
n
1) “night, darkness”
2) when used in
possessed couplet
construction as the
element following ch’ahb
“penance” may refer to
“strength, potency”
103/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
ahk’(u)tu’
ya-k’u-tu-u
y-a[h]k’-(u)tu’
n / cn
“gift” (lit. “give-thing”
analysed as 3SE-giveNOM/INST?)
al
ya-la
ya-AL-la
ya-AL
AL
y-al
y-al
y-al
al
n
“child, offspring (of
mother)”
anaab / a’naab
a-na-bi
ya-na-bi-li
ya-a-na-bi-li
anaab
y-anaab-[i]l
y-a[j]-anaab-[i]l / ya’naab-[i]l
n
“sculptor” (?)
at
AT-ti
AT-ta
aat
at
n
“penis”
atan
ya-ta-na
ya-AT-na
a-AT-na
ya-TAN-li
y-atan
y-atan
atan
y-atan-[i]l / y-atan-[aa]l
n
“spouse, wife, partner”
atot
ya-to-te
ya-ATOT-TE(’)
ya-ATOT
ya-ATOT-ti
y-atot-e
y-atot-e
y-atot
y-atoot
n
“house” (as in “home or
dwelling”) – early reflex
of the lexical item, later
superceded throughout
most of the Lowlands by
otoot and otooch in some
parts of Yucatan
atz’aam
a-tz’a-mi
atz’aam
n
salt
ahyiin
a-AYIN-na
AYIN-na
AYIN-ni
AYIN
a[h]yiin
a[h]yiin
a[h]yin
a[h]yi[i]n
n
“(big) lizard, crocodile”
(Crocodylus acutus & C.
moreleti) – possible to
stem is actually ahiin or
ayiin rather than the form
presented here.
bah
ba-hi
ba-hi-ja
ba-ji-ja
[BAH]hi
BAH
ba
baah
baah-[ii]j
baaj-[ii]j / baa[h]-[ii]j
baah
bah / ba[a]h
ba[h] / ba[ah]
n / adj
1) “gopher”
2) “head” (adj) as a
discriminator in titular
expressions for highest
ranking indivduals
bearing a particular title
3) “image, self” which is
inalienably possessed.
4) used as part of
impersonation
expressions when
suffixed by –il and
coupled with the verbal
root a’n “to be, exist”
baak
ba-ki
ba-ki-li
BAK-ki
ba-ka
BAK
baak
baak-[i]l
baak
bak
bak / ba[a]k
n
1) “bone, skeleton”
inalienably possessed
2) “captive” seized in
warfare
104/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
bahlam
ba-la-ma
BALAM-la-ma
BALAM-ma
BALAM
ba[h]lam
ba[h]lam
ba[h]lam
ba[h]lam
n
“jaguar” (Panthera onca)
or feline in general stems
from the verb bal- “to
hide” followed by an
agentive suffix -am,
yielding lit. “hider”.
batun
ba-TUN-nu
batun
n
root of a certain plant (?)
ba’tz’
ba-tz’u
BATZ’
ba’tz’
ba[’]tz’
n
“(black) howler monkey”
(Alouatta pigra)
bay
ba-ya
bih / bij
bi-hi
bi-ji
bi
bih
bij
bi[h] / bi[j]
n
“road” compare to sakbih for lit. “white-road”
which is the Classicperiod reflex of the
causeways known as
sakbeob in Yucatan.
bij
ta-ta-bi (K1196)
tat bij
n
“line (of writing)”
bihtuun
bi-TUN-ni
[bi]TUN-ni
bih-tuun
bih-tuun
cn
lit. “road-stone” refers to
plastered/paved surfaces
and particular to the
playing alleys of
ballcourts
bolaay / bola’y
bo?-la-yi
BOL?-la-yu
bolaay
bola’y
n
“predatory animal”
refers especially to felines
but can also refer to
snakes and usually takes
a forgoing colour
modifier in modern
reflexes (such as chak,
k’an or ik’/ihk’)
bubul
2
bu-lu-HA’
bubul-ha’
n
“water insect”
bubul
2
bu-lu
bubul
adj
cylindrical, like a column
buhk
bu-ku
bu[h]k
n
“cloth, clothes”
bukuutz
bu-ku-tzi
bukuutz
n
used to refer to a
particular type of cacao
recipe from the region of
Acanceh in Yucatan.
bu’ul / bu’l
bu-la
bu’[u]l / bu’l
n
“(black & brown) beans”
(Phaseolus vulgaris)
butz’
bu-tz’a-ja
butz’-aj
n
“smoke” possibly
inalianably possessed.
cha’
cha[’]
cha’
adv.
“again, another time, for
the second time”
chaab
cha-bi
chaab
n
“bee, beehive, honey” see
also kab
chaach
cha-chi
chaach
n
“basket”
fat?
105/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
chahk
cha-ki
CHAK-ki
CHAK
cha[h]k / chaa[h]k
cha[h]k / chaa[h]k
cha[h]k / cha[ah]k
n/
theonym
1) “rain, rains”
2) theonym for God B
see chahuk below
chab
see kab
---
---
---
chahuk
cha-hu-ku
chahuk
n
“thunder” cognate of the
entry chahk above
chak
CHAK
chak
adj
1) “red”
2) “great”
chakte’
CHAK-TE’-e
chak-te’
cn
lit. “red tree” for tropical
cedar
chakal
CHAK-ka-la
chak-al
adj
lit. “reddish, red-like”
chakjal
CHAK-ja-la
chak-jal
adj
lit. “reddish, reddening”
or “rubefy, rubefication”
chakalte’
CHAK-ka-la-TE’
chak-al-te’
cn
lit. “reddish tree” for
chicozapote
(Manilkara zapota)
chak ek’
CHAK-EK’
chak ek’
cn
lit. “great star” term for
celestial body Venus (♀)
chakat
CHAK-AT-ta
CHAK-AT
chakat
chakat
n
dance object or possibly
the name of dance
expressions in the
Usumacinta involving
the so-called “basketstaff”
chan
CHAN-na
CHAN
chan
chan
n / num.
1) “sky”
2) “snake”
3) “four”
chanal
CHAN-NAL
CHAN-la
chanal
chan[a]l
adj
lit. “sky-like” to be
understood as
“heavenly” or “celestial”
chan ch’e’n
CHAN-na-CH’EN-na
CHAN-na-CH’EN
CHAN-CH’EN-na
CHAN-CH’EN
chan-ch’e’n
chan-ch’e[’]n
chan-ch’e’n
chan-ch’e[’]n
cn
lit. “sky-cave” possibly
means “realm, territory”
by extension
cha’n / chan /
chanan
CHAN-nu
CHAN-na
CHAN
cha’n
cha[’]n / chan / chan[a]n
cha[’]n / chan / chan[an]
n
“guardian” read “captor”
see also ka’n
chapa[h]t
chapaa[h]t
chapa’[h]t
chapa[h]t / chapa[’h/ah]t
n
“centipede” typically
refers to supernatural
figures that have
centipede-like attributes.
chapaht / chapa’t cha-pa-ta
CHAPAT-ti
/ chapaat
CHAPAT-tu
CHAPAT
chay / kay
cha-ya
CHAY / KAY
ka-ya
chay
chay / kay
kay
n
“fish”
che’
che-e
che’
n
“tree” Yukatek reflex of
the more common
Ch’olan form te’
106/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
che’hb /
che’hbul
che-e-bu
che-bu
che’[h]b / che’[h]bu[l]
che’[h]b / che[’h]bu[l]
n
“writing implement,
quill pen, stylus”
chel
che-le
CHEL?
chel
chel
n
“rainbow”
chi’ik / chi’k
chi-ku
chi[ku]
chiku[’]/ chi’[i]k/ chi’k
chiku[’]/ chi’[i]k/ chi’k
n
“coatimundi, pizote”
chi’
chi
chi[’]
n
“mouth” Yukatekan
reflex of the Ch’olan term
ti’ for “mouth, lip, edge”
chi’iltuun
chi-li-TUN-ni
chi[’]-[i]l-tuun
cn
“mouth-s’-stone” term
that is used to the stone
rings or ‘hoops’ of
ballcourts
chich
chi-chi
chich
n
“word, reason”
chih / chij
chi-hi
chih
n
“chicha” alcoholic
beverage made from
fermented agave plant
(Agave spp.)
chij
chi-ji
chi
CHIJ
chij
chi[j]
chij
n
“deer” specifically a
reference to the Whitetailed Deer (Odocoileus
virginianus) see alos keej
and may
chijil
CHIJ-ji-li
chi-ji-li
chijil
adj
deer-like
chik’in
chi-K’IN-ni
chi-K’IN
chik’in
chik’in
n
“west” – cardinal
direction; used only in
the Postclassic period in
Yucatan, replaces the
Classic-period Ch’olan
term ochk’in
chi’lam
chi-la-ma
chi[’]lam
n
“spokesperson,
interpreter”
chilkay
chi-li-ka-yu
chil-kay-u[l]
cn
“manatee” Caribbean
Manatee (Trichechus
manatus) lit. “manateefish” here followed by a
possible toponymic
suffix –ul. Note
references to “sharks” or
“large fish” in Yukatekan
languages as chil-am or
chi’l-am
chit
chi-ti
CHIT?-ti
CHIT?-ta
CHIT?
chit
chit
chiit
chit / chi[i]t
n
“father, patron” cognate
of kit
107/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
chitam
CHITAM-ma
CHITAM
chitam
chitam
n
“peccary” White-lipped
Peccary (Tayassu pecari)
or Collared Peccary (T.
tajacu).
chitin
chi-ti-ni
chitin
n
“oven, stove” or possibly
“kiln”; seen kun
chiwoj
chi-wo-ja
chi-wo-jo
CHAK-chi-wo
chiwoj
chiwoj
chak-chiwo[j]
n
“tarantula” or “great
spider”
chubal
chu-ba-la
chub-al
n
type of container for
quills, styluses or other
writing implements
chuch
chu-chu
u-chu-chu
chuch
u-chuch
n
“loom, weaving frame”
chumib
CHUM[mu]-bi
CHUM[mu-bi]
chum-ib
chum-ib
n
“seat, bench” and
possibly by extension
“throne”. Based on root
chum– “to sit” with
instrumental suffix –ib.
chuwen
CHUWEN-na
CHUWEN-ne
CHUWEN
chuwen
chuwen
chuwen
n
“artisan”
ch’ah
ch’a-ha
ch’ah
adj
“bitter” used in reference
to atole recipes
ch’ahb
ch’a-CH’AB
CH’AB-ba
CH’AB
CH’AB-li
ch’a[h]b
ch’a[h]b
ch’a[h]b
ch’a[h]b-[i]l
ch’aaj / ch’aj /
ch’ah
ch’a-ji
ch’a-ja
ch’a-ha
ch’aaj
ch’aj / ch’a[a]j
ch’ah / ch’a[j]
n
“drop, droplet” possibly
a reference to droplets of
blood or pellets of
incense used in symbolic
sowing rituals
ch’aat / ch’at
ch’a-ti
ch’a-ta
ch’aat
ch’at / ch’a[a]t
n
“dwarf, hunchback”
ch’ahom
ch’a-ho-ma
CH’AH?-ma
ch’a-ho
ch’ah-om
ch’ah-[o]m
ch’ah-o[m]
n
“young (man), varón”
ch’amak
ch’a-ma-ka?
ch’a-CH’AMAK
ch’amak
ch’amak
n
“fox” (Urocyon
cinereoargentus)
ch’e’n
CH’EN-na
CH’EN-ni
CH’EN-ne
CH’EN
ch’e’n
ch’een
ch’en
ch’e[’]n
n
“cave, well, hollow,
burrow”
108/154
1) “penance, fasting,
sacrifice”
2) when used in
possessed couplet
construction as the
element preceding ahk’ab
“darkness” may refer to
“strength, potency”
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
ch’e’nal
[CH’EN]NAL-la
ch’e[’]n-al /
ch’e[’]n-nal
ch’e[’]n-al /
ch’e[’]n-nal
n
lit. “cave-like” or “caveplace” for “tomb,
sepulcher”
[CH’EN]NAL
ch’o’
ch’o / CH’O’
ch’o[’] / ch’o’
n
“rat”
ch’ok
ch’o-ko
CH’OK
CH’OK-ko
ch’ok
ch’ok
ch’ok
n
“youngster, sprout”
ch’ok
ch’o-ko
CH’OK
CH’OK-ko
ch’ok
ch’ok
ch’ok
adj
“young”
ch’oklel
CH’OK-ko-le-le
CH’OK-ko-le
ch’ok-lel
ch’ok-le[l]
n
lit. “youth-hood, youngness” or more broadly
“youth”
ebe’t / ebet
ye-be-ta
ye-be-te
y-ebe’t
y-ebet
n
“messenger”
ehb
e-bu
ye-bu
ye-ba
ye-ba-la
e[h]b-u[l]
y-e[h]b-u[l]
y-e[h]b-a[l] / -a[’]
y-e[h]b-al
n
“stair, ladder”
ehte’ / ajte’
ye-TE’-je
[ye]TE’-je
ye-he-TE’
ye-TE’
ya-TE’-AJ?
y-ejte’
y-ejte’
y-ehte’
y-e[h]te’
y-ajte’ (?)
n
“deed, feat” (?) in
possessive constructions
used to introduce the
agent of martial actions;
follows the names of
captives and introduces
that of the captor
ek’
EK’
ek’
n
“star”
ekaatz
e-ka-tzi
ekaatz
n
“load, tribute, bundle”
ek’te’
EK’-TE’
ek’te’
cn
proper name of tree
elk’in
EL-K’IN
elk’in
n
“east” – cardinal
direction; used in the
Classic period in the
Lowlands; replaced by
lak’in in the Postclassic
emal
ye-ma-la
y-emal
n
“descent, descending”
ha’ / -a’
HA’-a
HA’
a
ha’
ha’
a[’]
n
“water” in general and
can refer more
specifically to fluids,
liquids, rivers and lakes
as well bodies of water in
the broadest sense
ha’al
HA’-a-la
HA’-la
HA’AL
ha’al
ha’al
ha’al
n
lit. “water-y” or “waterlike” but specifically
refers to “rain”
ha’ha’al
HA’-HA’AL
ha’-ha’al
n
lit. “water-rain” or “very
rainy” refers specifically
to the “rainy season”
109/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
haab
HAB-bi
HAB[bi]
HAB-ba?
HAB
haab
haab
hab / ha[a]b
hab / ha[a]b
n
“year (of 365 days)”
haabil
HAB-li
ha[a]b-[i]l / hab-[i]l
n
“time, period”
halaw
HALAW?-la-wa
HALAW?-wa
ha-HALAW?-wa
HALAW?
halaw
halaw
halaw
halaw
n
“ballcourt”
hix
hi[HIX]
HIX
hix
hix
n
reference to unknown
feline possibly to Ocelot
(Leopardus pardalis) or
Margay (Leopardus wiedii)
huh / juj
hu
HUH
ju
hu[h]
huh
ju[j]
n
“iguana” (Iguana iguana
or Ctenosaura similis)
hun / hu’n /
huun
hu-na
HUN-na
HUN
hun / hu’n / huun
hun / hu’n / huun
hun / hu[’]n / hu[u]n
n
1) “bark, paper, book”
2) “headband,
headdress” (made of
paper)
hunal / hu’nal /
huunal
hu-na-la
HUN-la
hun-al / hu’n-[a]l
hun-[a]l / hu[’]n-[a]l
n
“headband, headdress”
and by extension
“crown”
hut
HUT
hut
n
“face, visage”
i’
I
i[’]
n
“hawk, falcon”
(Falco spp.)
ibach
i-ba-cha
ibach
n
“armadillo” Ninebanded Armadillo
(Dasypus novemcintus)
ich
i-chi
ich
n
“chile” (Capsicum spp.)
ichaan
yi-cha-ni
y-ichaan
n
“mother’s brother,
maternal oncle”
ichnal
yi-chi-na-la
yi-[chi]NAL-la
yi-[chi]NAL
a-wi-[chi]NAL
y-ich-nal
y-ich-nal
y-ich-nal
aw-ich-nal
cop.
lit. “front” or “sightplace” or more loosely
‘within sight’ from which
we have the meaning of
“with” or “in the
presence...”
ihch’aak
yi-ch’a-ki
ICH’AK-ki
ICH’AK
y-i[h]ch’aak
i[h]ch’aak
i[h]ch’a[a]k
n
“claw, paw”
predominantly used in
reference to feline paws
with claws extended
ihtz’iin / ihtz’in
i-tz’i-na
yi-tz’i-ni
i-tz’i
[I(’)]TZ’I(’)
i[h]tz’iin
y-i[h]tz’in
i[h]tz’i[n] i[h]tz’i[in]
i[h]tz’i[n] i[h]tz’i[in]
n
“younger brother”
110/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
ikaatz / ikitz
i-ka-tzi
i-ki-tzi
ikaatz
ikitz
n
“load, tribute, bundle” or
in some cases items of
regalia used as tribute
ik’
IK’
ik’
n
“wind, air”
ik’
IK’
ik’ / i[h]k’
adj
“black, dark”
itz’aat / itz’at
i-tz’a-ti
ITZAT?-ti
i-tz’a-ta
ITZAT?-ta
ITZAT?
itz’aat
itz’aat
itz’at
itz’at
itz’a[a]t / itz’at
n
“sage, wise man”
ixik
IXIK-ki
IXIK
ixik
ixik
n
“lady, woman”
jaahch / jahch
ja-hi-chi
ja-chi
ja-cha
jaahch
jaa[h]ch
ja[h]ch
n
‘incised object’ label
attributed to carved
objects especially those
made of shell
jaay / jay
ja-yi
ja-ya
jaay
jay
n
“bowl”
jan
ja-na
JAN
jan
jan
n
refers to an unidentified
type of raptorial bird
janaab
ja-na-bi
ja-NAB
JANAB
janaab
jana[a]b
jana[a]b
n
refers to an unidentified
type of flower (?)
jawte’ / jawa[n]te’
ja[w]te’ / ja[wan]te’
cn
“tripod plate/vessel”
possibly stems from jaw–
“agape” with an
nominalizing suffix –an
followed by a suffix –te’
jawte’ / jawante’ ja-wa-TE’
ja-TE’
jol, jool, jo’l
jo-lo
JOL-lo
JOL-mi
JOL-li
JOL-la
JOL-le
JOL
jol
jol
jol-[oo]m
jool?
jo’l
jol-e
jol
n
“head, skull, cranium”
joy
JOY
JOY-ye-la
joy
joy-el
n
“debut, presentation”
jub / ju’b
ju-bi
ju-ba
juub
ju’b?
n
“conch, shell” possibly
conch-shell trumpet
juuhch
ju-chi
ju-chu
juu[h]ch
ju[h]ch
n
“conch shell”
jukuub
ju-ku-bi
jukuub
n
“canoe”
juj
see huh
---
---
---
jul
ju-lu
jul
n
“perforator, dart, spear”
julbaak
ju-li-ba-ki
ju-lu-BAK
juul-baak
jul-ba[a]k
cn
“perforator-bone”
111/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
juntan /
juntahn
1-ta-na
1-TAN-na
1-TAN
juntan / juntahn
juntan / juntahn
juntan / juntahn
n
“cherished, beloved”
kaab / kab
ka-bi
ka-ba
KAB
kaab
kab
kab / ka[a]b
n
“earth, land” with
reference to the planetary
body “earth” (♀)
kabal
KAB-la
kab-[a]l
adj
“earth-y” meant to be
understood as “terrestial,
earthly”
kabal pitziil
ka-ba-la pi-tzi-la
kab-al pitz-iil
cn
lit. “earth-en ballgameplace” or “earth-y
ballplay-er” see pitziil
and note the example
luumil pitziil with similar
meaning
kab
KAB-ba
KAB
kab
kab
n
“bee, beehive, honey”
kakaw
ka-ka-wa
2ka-wa
2ka-ka-wa
ka-wa
ka
kakaw
kakaw
kakaw
ka[ka]w
ka[kaw]
n
“cacao”
kakawal
ka-ka-wa-la
ka-wa-la
kakaw-al
ka[ka]w-[a]l
adj
“cacaoey, cacao-like”
meant to be understood
as ‘chocolatey’
kaletuun
ka-le-TUN
kal-e-tuun
cn
“stone-room” or “stoneeffigy” (?)
kan
ka-na
KAN-na
ka-KAN
KAN
kan
kan
kan
kan
n
1) “sky”
2) “serpent”
3) “four”
ka’n / kan /
kanan
KAN-nu
KAN-na
KAN
ka’n
ka[’]n / kan / kan[a]n
ka[’]n / kan / kan[an]
n
“guardian” read “captor”
see also ka’n
kay
see chay
---
---
---
kayom
ka-yo-ma
kay-om
n
“fisherman, fisher” from
kay– “fish” plus an
agentive suffix –om for
“fish-er”
kaywak
ka-ya-wa-ka
kaywak
cn
term of unknown
meaning that refers to
celts and celt-shaped
objects
keej
ke-ji
KEJ
keej
ke[e]j / kej
n
“deer” especially a
reference to White-tailed
Deer (Odolcoileus
virginianus). Yukatek
reflex of the Ch’olan term
chij
112/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
kelem
ke-le-ma
ke-le
ke-KEL
KEL
kelem
kel[em]
kel[em]
kel[em]
adj / n
“strong” or perhaps
more peripherically
“youth, youngster”
kimiil
ki-KIM-la
kim-iil
n
“death” or more lit.
“dead-place”
kit / kiit
ki-ti
ki-ta
kit
kiit
n
“father, patron”
kiwi’
ki-WI’
kiwi’
n
“achiote”
kobal
ko-ba-la
kobal
n
“atole” (?)
koh
ko
KOH?
ko[h]
koh
n
“puma, mountain lion”
(Puma concolor)
kohaw, ko’haw
ko-o-ha-wa
ko-ha-wa
KOHAW-wa
ko’haw
ko[’]haw / kohaw
ko[’]haw / kohaw
n
“helmet” specifically
shell-plated helmets
introduced from
Teotihuacan
kokom
ko-ko-ma
kok-om
n
“auditor” (?)
kohknom
ko-ko-no-ma
ko[h]k-n-om
n
“guardian” used in
specific reference to the
guardian patron deities
of ancient Copan
kuch
ku-chu
KUCH?
kuch
kuch
n
“load, burden” or when
the term heads
compound constructions:
“implement that holds
something”
kun
ku-nu
ku-nu-li
kun
kun-[i]l
n
“oven, stove” or possibly
“kiln”; see chitin
kutz
ku-tzu
kutz
n
“turkey” specifically the
Ocellated Turkey
(Agriocharis ocellata)
kuy
ku-yu
KUY
kuy
kuy
n
“owl” unspecified type
of great owl, sometimes
bearing affinity to
horned owls
k’ab
k’a-ba
K’AB-ba
K’AB
k’ab
k’ab
k’ab
n
“hand” sometimes refers
to “arm” in persons or
“branch” in trees, by
extension; inalienably
possessed
k’aba’
k’a-ba
K’ABA-ba-a
K’ABA-a
K’ABA-ba
K’ABA
k’aba[’]
k’aba’
k’aba’
k’aba[’]
k’aba[’]
n
“name”
113/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
k’ahk’
k’a-k’a
2K’AK’ / 2k’a
K’AK’-k’a
k’a-K’AK’
K’AK’
k’a[h]k’
k’a[h]k’
k’a[h]k’
k’a[h]k’
k’a[h]k’
n
“fire” ritual fire is at
times inalienably
possessed
k’ahk’al
K’AK’-la
k’a[h]k’-al
adj
lit. “fire-y, fire-like” or
more broadly “fiery,
igneious”
k’ahk’naab
K’AK’-NAB
k’a[h]k’-na[a]b
cn
lit. “fire-pool” meant as
“ocean, sea” or large
bodies of salt water in
general
k’ahk’te’
K’AK’-TE’
k’a[h]k’-te’
cn
name of an unidentified
type of plant or tree
k’aal
k’a-li
k’a-le
k’aal
k’al-e / k’a[a]l-e
n
“room, enclosure”
k’ahn
K’AN-na
K’AN
k’a[h]n
k’a[h]n
n
“bench, seat, base” refers
also to pedestals of
stelae, hieroglyphic stairs
and plane monuments in
general
k’an-te’ / k’ahn-te’
cn
1) name of an
unidentified type of
plant or tree
2) lit. “bench/seat-wood”
refers to a ‘seat’ or
‘bench’ made of wood
k’ante’ / k’ahnte’ K’AN-TE’
k’ahntun
K’AN-na-TUN-ni
k’a[h]n-tuun
cn
lit. “bench/seat-stone”
refers to a ‘seat’ or
‘bench’ made of stone.
See also k’ahn for other
meanings of the term
k’an
K’AN-na
K’AN
k’an
k’an
adj
1) “yellow”
2) “ripe”
k’anjal
“yellowing”
k’at
K’AT?
k’at
n
lit. “clay, ceramic”
possibly used in
reference to ceramic
vessels in general
k’ay
ka-yoK’AY
k’ayk’ay
n
“song”
k’ayom
k’a-yo-ma
K’AY
k’ay-om
k’ay-[om]
n
lit. “song-er” for “singer”
k’ihn
K’IN
k’i[h]n
n
“heat, wrath”
k’in
K’IN-ni
K’IN
k’in
k’in
n
“sun, day”
114/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
-k’inich
K’IN-ni-chi
K’INICH
k’inich
n
“sun” followed by an
augmentative suffix –ich
yielding lit. “Great Sun”
or “Sun-ny” but to be
understood as a referent
to the solar deity God G
otherwise known as
K’inich Ajaw in nominal
expressions
k’inich-
K’IN-ni-chi
K’INICH
k’inich
adj
“sun” followed by an
augmentative suffix –ich
yielding lit. “Great Sun”
or “Sun-ny” but to be
understood as
“resplendent” in titular
expressions
k’inil
K’IN-ni-li
K’IN-li
k’in-il
k’in-[i]l
n
“time”
k’intun
K’IN-TUN-ni
K’IN-TUN
k’in-tuun
k’in-tuun
cn
lit. “sun-stone” but to be
understood as “dry
season, drought”
k’oh(baah)
ko-ho
k’o-ba
koh
k’o[h]-ba[ah]
cn
lit. “mask-self” for
“mask”
k’o’b
k’o-ba
k’o’b
n
“hearthstone” in
mythological references
refers to the one of the
three primordial
hearthstones
k’uh
k’u-hu
K’UH
K’UH-li
k’uh
k’uh
k’uh-[uu]l
n
“god”
k’uhul / k’ujul /
k’u’ul
k’u-hu-lu
k’u-ju-lu
K’UH-HUL
K’UH-JUL-lu
K’UH-JUL
K’U’-u-lu
k’uh-ul
k’uj-ul
k’uh-ul
k’uh-ul / k’uj-ul
k’uh-ul / k’uj-ul
k’u’-ul
adj
lit. “god-like” to be
understood as “godly,
divine”
k’uk’
k’u-k’u
2k’u
K’UK’
k’uk’
k’uk’
k’uk’
n
“quetzal” specifically the
male Resplendent
Quetzal (Pharomachrus
mocinno)
k’uk’um
K’UK’-ma
k’u-K’UK’UM
k’uk’[u]m
k’uk’um
n
“feather, plumage”
k’uuch
k’u-chi
k’uuch
n
“vulture”
k’uuhtz
K’UH-tzi
k’uuhtz
n
“tobacco”
115/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
lak / laak
la-ka
LAK?
la-ki
lak
lak
laak
n
“plate, dish” or flat and
plane objects in general
such as ceramic bricks or
even carved bone
plaques
lakam
la-ka-ma
LAKAM-ma
LAKAM
lakam
lakam
lakam
n / adj
“banner” / “great”
lakamtuun
la-ka-ma-TUN-ni
LAKAM-ma-TUN-ni
LAKAM-TUN-ni
LAKAM-TUN
LAKAM[TUN]
lakam-tuun
lakam-tuun
lakam-tuun
lakam-tu[u]n
lakam-tu[u]n
cn
lit. “banner-stone” or
“great-stone” but refers
specifically to “stela”, or
carved erect stone
monoliths
lak’in
la-K’IN-ni
la-K’IN
lak’in
lak’in
n
“west” – cardinal
direction; used in the
Postclassic period in
Yukatan; replaced ochk’in
of the Classic period
laatz
la-tzi
laatz
n
“stack, pile”
le’
le-e
le
le’
le[’]
n
“noose, lasso”
le’k
le-ku
le’k
n
“calabash” (?)
luk’
lu-k’u
luk’
n
“mud, plaster, stucco”
luum / lu’m
lu-mi
lu-ma
luum
lu’m
n
“earth, soil”
luumil pitziil
lu-mi-li pi-tzi-la
luum-[i]l pitz-iil
cn
lit. “earth-en ballgameplace” or “earth-y
ballplay-er” see pitziil
and note the example
kabal pitziil with similar
meaning
maak
ma-ki
maak
n
“person” Eastern Ch’olan
or Yukatekan version of
the more common lexical
item winik
maax
ma-xi
MAX
maax
ma[a]x / max
n
“spider monkey”
specifically the Central
American Spider
Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi)
mam
ma-ma
MAM-ma
MAM
mam
mam
mam
n
“maternal grandfather”
specifically or “ancestor,
venerated elder”
generally
ma’s
ma-su
ma’s
n
“dwarf, goblin”
mat
ma-ta
ma-MAT
MAT
mat
mat
mat
n
“cormorant”
116/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
matan
ma-ta-na
ma-ta
matan
mata[n]
n
“present, offering of
grace, priviledge”
matz
ma-tza
matz
n
“sage, wiseman, learned
person”
may
ma-ya
MAY?-ya
MAY?
may
may
may
n
1) “deer” specifically the
Red Brocket Deer
(Mazama americana)
2) “gift, donation,
offering”
3) “tobacco” especially
the kind that is prepared
as a viscous paste and
snuffed
mayuy
ma-yu-yu
ma-yu
mayuy
mayu[y]
n
“mist, fog”
mim
mi-mi
mim
n
“paternal grandmother,
maternal greatgrandmother”
miyaatz
mi-ya-tzi
miyaatz
n / adj
“sage, wiseman, learned
person” or “sage, wise,
learned”
mo’
mo-o-o
mo-o
MO’-o
MO’
moo’ / mo’
mo’
mo’
mo’
n
“macaw” specifically the
Scarlet Macaw (Ara
Macao)
muknal
[MUK]NAL
muk-nal
cn
lit. “bury-place” referring
to “burial, tomb,
sepulcher”
mukuy
mu-ku-yi
mukuuy
n
“dove, pigeon”
mut
MUT-tu
mu-MUT
MUT
mut
mut
mut
n
lit. “braid, bundle” but
apparently is meant to
refer to a reed effigy of a
crocodile
mu’k
mu-ka
mu’k
n
“omen” see also muut
muut
mu-ti
muut
n
1) “bird”
2) “omen”
muwaan
mu-wa-ni
MUWAN-ni
MUWAN
muwaan
muwaan
muwa[a]n / muwan
n
possibly “sparrowhawk” or “screech-owl”
but in most cases appears
to refer to a supernatural
bird of prey
muyal / muyaal
MUYAL-ya-la
mu-MUYAL-la
MUYAL-la
MUYAL
MUYAL-li
muyal
muyal
muyal
muyal / muya[a]l
muyaal
n
“cloud”
na’
na
na[’]
n
“lady, mother”
nah
NAH
nah
adj
“first”
117/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
nahb
na-ba
NAB-ba
NAB
na[h]b
na[h]b
na[h]b
n
“handspand” used for
counting dimensions
particularly the
circumference of rubber
balls used in the
ballgame
naab
na-bi
NAB-bi
naab
naab
n
“pool, lake” in particular
and bodies of freshwater
in general
naah
NAH-hi
NAH-hi-la
NAH
naah
naah-[ii]l
na[a]h / nah
n
“house, structure,
building”
nal
na-la
NAL-la
na-NAL
NAL
nal
nal
nal
nal
n
1) lit. “young maize”
2) “north” – cardinal
direction; see also xaman
3) locative suffix –nal for
“place”
naal
na-li
NAL
naal
na[a]l
n
“native” or person native
from a particular area
ne’ / neh
NE’ / NEH
ne’ / neh
n
“tail”
ne’hn
ne-na
NE’-na
ne’[h]n
ne’[h]n
n
“mirror” particularly
mirror made of iron
pyrite or hematite mosaic
on slate or wooden
backings
nik
NIK?-ki
ni-NIK?
NIK?
nik
nik
nik
n
refers to an unidientified
type of flower
nikte’
NIK-TE’
nikte’
cn
“mayflower (plumeria)”
noh
NOH?
noh
adj
“great, big”
nohol
no-NOH?-la
no-NOH?-lo
nohol
nohol
n
“south” – cardinal
direction
nuhkul
nu-ku
nu[h]ku[l]
n
lit. “skin, hide” but used
in particular to refer to
the plaster coating of a
building
nu’n
nu-na
NUN?
nu’n
nu[’]n
n
“intermediary, ritual
speaker” or refers to
someone who “speaks
brokenly” (?)
nupul
nu-pu-lu
nupul
adj
familiar?
ochk’in
OCH-K’IN-ni
OCH-K’IN
ochk’in
ochk’in
n
“west” – cardinal
direction; used in the
Classic period in the
Lowlands; replaced by
chik’in in the Postclassic
118/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
ook / ok
yo-ko
OK-ko
OK-ki
yo-OK-ki
y-ok
ok
ook
y-ook
n
“foot” but by extension
“base” or “footing” for
inanimate objects in
general
okib / ookib
o-ki-bi
yo-ki-bi
yo-ki-bi-li
ok-ib / ook-[i]b
y-ok-ib / y-ook-[i]b
y-ok-ib-il / y-ook-[i]b-[i]l
n
lit. “foot-thing” for
“pedestal, base” in
general and “bench,
altar, throne” in
particular
ohl
o-la
OL-la
OL
o[h]l
o[h]l
o[h]l
n
“heart” inalienably
possessed
olom
o-lo-mo
olom
n
“blood, lineage”
o’n
o-na
o’n
adj
“many, much”
otoch
yo-to-che
y-otoch-e
n
“house (home,
dwelling)”
otoot
o-to-ti
yo-to-ti
yo-OTOT
OTOT-ti
OTOT
otoot
y-otoot
y-otot / y-oto[o]t
otoot
otot / oto[o]t
n
“house (home,
dwelling)”
pa’
pa-a
PA’
pa
pa’
pa’
pa[’]
n
“ravine, canyon, cleft”
pa’al
pa-a-la
pa’[a]l
n
“lagoon”
paach / pach
pa-chi
PACH?-cha
paach
pach
n
“back”
paat / pat
pa-ti
PAT?
paat
pat / pa[a]t
n
“back”
pakab tuun
pa-ka-ba TUN-ni
pak-ab tuun
n
lit. “face-down-thing
stone” or “turned-overthing stone” refers
specifically to “stone
lintel”
pakal
pa-ka-la
PAKAL-la
PAKAL
pakal
pakal
pakal
n
“shield”
pasaj
pa-sa-ja
PAS-sa-ja
PAS
pasaj
pasaj
pas[aj]
n
“dawn”
pasil
pa-si-li
pasil
n
“opening, doorway,
door”
patah
pa-ta-ha
pa-ta
patah
pata[h]
n
“guayaba” (Psidium spp.)
patan
pa-ta
pata[n]
n
“tribute, service”
payaal
pa-ya-li
payaal
n
“guide, leader”
peten
PET-ne
pet[e]n
n
“island”
119/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
pibnaah
pi-bi-NAH
pi-bi-NAH-li
pib-naah
pib-naah-il
cn
lit. “oven-house” refers
specifically to
“sweatbaths”
pik
pi-ki
PIK-ki
PIK
pik
pik
pik
n
“skirt, garment” also
refers to the garments or
vestments of deity
effigies at Palenque
pitz
pi-tzi
pitz
n
“ballgame” also serves as
the noun root
(subsequent
verbalisation) for “to
play the ballgame”
pitziil / pitzil
pi-tzi-la
pi-tzi-li
pitz-iil
pitz-[i]l
n / adj
lit. “ballgame” followed
by locative suffix –iil for
“ballcourt” or adjective
“ballplaying” with
abstractive suffix –il
pixom
pi-xo-ma
pix-om
n
“headdress, helmet”
pokol
po-ko-lo
pok-ol
n
“washing implement”
specifically ceramic
‘quill-rinsing’ bowl
pom
po-mo
pom
n
“incense” broadly
“copal” specifically
pohp
po-po
po[h]p
n
“mat” especially woven
mats made from palm
leaves and other fibers
puj
pu
pu[j]
n
“cattail reed, bullrush”
puutz’
pu-tz’i
[pu]tz’i
pu
puutz’
puutz’
pu[utz’]
n
“weaving needle,
weaving pin” made of
bone; note examples of
puutz’ baak for “bone
needle”
puw / pu’w?
pu-wa
puw / pu[’]w?
n
“blowgun”
sa’
SA’
sa’
n
“atole, maize gruel”
sabak
sa-ba-ka
SABAK?
sabak
sabak
n
“ink, soot” see also abak
sajal
sa-ja-la
sa-ja
sajal
saja[l]
n
title of unknown
meaning
sak
SAK
SAK-ki
sa-ku
sak
saak
sa’k
adj
“white, pure”
sakal
“whitish, white-like”
sakjal
“whitening”
120/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
saklaktuun
SAK-la-ka-TUN-ni
SAK-LAK-TUN-ni
SAK-LAK-TUN
sak-lak-tuun
sak-lak-tuun
sak-lak-tu[u]n
cn
lit. “white-plate-stone” or
“artificial-plate-stone”
refers specificially to a
type of stone censer at
Copan
sakun
sa-ku-na
sa-ku
sakun
saku[n]
n
“older brother” see
suku’n
sas
sa-sa
sas
n
“stucco, plaster”
sakkab
SAK-KAB-ba
sak-kab
cn
lit. “white-earth” refers
to “marl” or “caliche”
otherwise known by its
Colonial Yukatek reflex
saskab
sa’y
sa-yu
sa’y
n
“ant” unspecified type
sayhun
sa-ya-HUN
say-hu[’]n
cn
lit. “book-exteriors” or
more loosely “book
covers”
sibik
---
---
---
see abak and sabak
sihom
SIH?-ma
SIH?
sih-[o]m
sih-[om]
n
type of unspecified
flower that comes in
shades of white, red,
yellow and blue-green
sinan
si-na-na
sinan
n
“scorpion”
sitz’
si-tz’i
sitz’
n
“appetite”
suk’in
su-K’IN-ni
su-K’IN
suk’in
suk’in
n
“lack, deprivement”
suhuy
su-hu-yu
suhuy
adj
“pure, virginal”
sukun
su-ku-na
su-ku
sukun
suku[n]
n
“older brother” see
saku’n
suutz’
su-tz’i
SUTZ’-tz’i
SUTZ’
suutz’
suutz’
su[u]tz’
n
“bat” type unspecified
taaj
ta-ji
taaj
n
“obsidian” and
implements made of the
material
tahn
ta-na
TAN-na
TAN
ta[h]n
ta[h]n
ta[h]n
n
1) “within, in the
middle” possibly also “in
front of” locative
preposition
2) “chest” or front medial
portion of the body
taj
ta-ja
TAJ
taj
taj
n
“pine, torch” especially
Caribbean Pine also
known as Ocote and
torches made thereof
tajal
TAJ-la
taj[a]l
adj
lit. “torch-y, torch-like”
121/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
tahn lamaw
TAN-na-LAM-wa
TAN-na-LAM
[TAN]LAM-wa
[TAN]LAM
ta[h]n lam[a]w
ta[h]n lam[aw]
ta[h]n lam[a]w
ta[h]n lam[aw]
cn
lit. “middle-diminished”
for ‘half-elapsed’ in
reference to a calendrical
station to ten haab or
“tun” evenly (out of
twenty)
tat
ta-ta
tat
adj
“thick, fat”
te’
te-e
TE’
te’
te’
n
“wood, tree” also serves
to designate plants in
general
te’el
TE’-e-le
TE’-le
te’el
te’[e]l
n
lit. “of the tree” or “of the
wood” term for “forest,
woods”
tem / temul
te-me
te-mu
te-ma
tem
tem / tem-u[l]
tem / tem-a[l]
n
“throne”
ti’
ti-i
TI’
ti’
ti’
n
1) “mouth, lips”
2) “opening, orifice,
door”
3) “edge, rim”
til
ti-li
TIL-li
TIL
til
til
til
n
“tapir” specifically
Baird’s Tapir (Tapirus
bairdii)
tojol / tojool
to-jo-la
to-jo-li
tojol
tojool
n
“tribute, payment”
tokal
to-ka-la
tokal
n
“cloud”
too’k’ / tok’
to-k’a
to-k’o
TOK’-k’o
to-TOK’
TOK’
to’[o]k’
tok’
tok’
tok’
tok’ / to[’o]k’
n
“chert, flint” and
implements made of this
material
tukun
tu-ku-nu
tukun
n
“dove, pigeon”
tuun / tun
tu-TUN-ni
TUN-ni
TUN
tu-TUN
tuun
tuun
tu[u]n / tun
tun
n
1) “stone” esp. tuun
2) “year (of 360 days)”
esp. tun
tunich
TUN-ni-chi
tun-ich
n
“stone” here with an
augmentative suffix –ich
tup / tuup /
tu’up?
tu-pa
tu-pa-ja
tu-pi
tu-TUP
TUP
tup / tu’[u]p
tup-aj / tu’[u]p-[a]j
tup / tuup
tup / tu[u]p / tu[’u]p
tup / tu[u]p / tu[’u]p
n
“earspool, earflare” ear
jewellry and adornments
in general
t’ul
t’u-lu
T’UL?
t’ul
t’ul
n
“rabbit” unspecified type
tzijil / tzih
tzi-ji-li
tzi-ji
tzi-hi
tzij-il
tzij
tzih
adj
“fresh, new”
122/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
tzu’
tzu
TZU’
tzu[’]
tzu’
n
“gourd, calabash”
unspecified type but
most comparable to
bottle gourd
tzuk
tzu-ku
TZUK
tzuk
tzuk
n
“part, partition,
province”
tzul
tzu-lu
tzul
n
“dog” (Canis familiaris)
tz’am
tz’a-ma
TZ’AM?
tz’am
tz’am
n
“throne, seat”
tz’i’
tz’i-i
TZ’I’-i
TZ’I’
tz’i’
tz’i’
tz’i’
n
“dog” (Canis familiaris)
tz’i’hk
tz’i-ku
tz’i[h]k
n
“clay” and objects made
from this material
tz’ihb
tz’i-bi
tz’i[h]b
n
“writing, painting”
tz’ihbaal /
tz’ihbal
tz’i-ba-li
tz’i-ba-la
tz’i[h]b-aal
tz’i[h]b-al
n
“drawing, colour,
decoration,
embellishment”
tz’unun
tz’u-nu-nu
tz’u-2nu
tz’u-nu
TZ’UNUN-nu
tz’unun
tz’unun
tz’unu[n]
tz’unun
n
“hummingbird” type
unspecified
tz’uutz’
tz’u-tz’i
tz’uutz’
n
“coati” specifically the
White-nosed Coati
(Nasua narica)
uh / uj
UH / UJ
uh / uj
n
“moon”
usiij
u-si-ja
u-si
usiij
usi[ij]
n
“vulture” type
unspecified though
prefixed by the colour
k’an “yellow” as “yellow
vulture” which may
relate to King Vultures
(Sarcoramphus papa)
u’ch’ / uch’
yu-ch’a
y-u’ch’ / y-uch’-
n
“(head) louse”
u’h / uh
yu-ha
u-ha-ja
yu-UH-li
yu-la-li
y-u’h / y-uh-a[l]
u’h-[a]j / uh-aj
y-u[’h]-[i]l / y-uh-[i]l
y-u[h]-[a]l-[i]l
n
“bead, collar, necklace,
jewellery”
uku’m / ukum
u-ku-ma
uku’m / ukum
n
“dove, pigeon” type
unspecified though
prefixed by the color yax
“green” which may
suggest a Pale-vented
Pigeon (Columba
cayennensis)
123/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
uk’ib
u-k’i-bi
yu-k’i-bi
yu-k’i-ba
uk’-ib
y-uk’-ib
y-uk’-iib / y-uk’-[a]b
n
lit. “drink-thing” meant
to be understood as
“drinking-implement” or
“pitcher”
ul
u-lu
ul
n
“atole, maize gruel”
ulum
u-lu-mu
ulum
n
“turkey” especially the
Ocellated Turkey
(Agriocharis ocellata)
uun
u-ni
UN-ni
UN
uun
uun
u[u]n / un
n
“avocado”
unen
yu-2ne
yu-ne
u-ne
y-unen
y-une[n]
une[n]
n
“child (of father)”
ut
yu-ta-la
yu-TAL
yu-ta
y-ut-al
y-ut-al
y-ut-
n
“fruit, food”
uut / ut
u-ti
UT-ti
UT
uut
uut
u[u]t / ut
n
“face, visage” see also
hut; inalienably
possessed
utz
yu-tzi
y-utz
adj
“good”
utzil
u-tzi-li
yu-tzi-li
utz-il
y-utz-il
n / adj
“good, goodness”
uxul
u-xu-lu
yu-xu-lu
yu-xu-li
yu-xu-lu-li
uxul
y-uxul
y-uxuul
y-uxul-[i]l
n
“carving, sculpture”
waaj
wa-WAJ-ji
WAJ-ji
wa-WAJ
WAJ
waaj
waaj
wa[a]j / waj
wa[a]j / waj
n
“tamale, bread, maize
dough” and foodstuffs
produced from this
dough
way / wahy?
wa-ya
wa-WAY-ya
WAY-wa-ya
WAY
way / wahy?
way / wahy?
way / wahy? / wayway?
way / wahy?
n
“nawal, co-essence, alter
ego” inalienably
possessed
way
WAY-ya
WAY
way
way
n
“cenote”, represents the
pincers of an underworld
centipede; also denotes
the surface of the watery
underworld
way
WAY-ya
WAY
way
way
n
? (way-haab: reference to
the Wayeb at the end of
the year)
wayil
WAY-ya-li
WAY-li
way-[i]l
way-[i]l
n
“room, enclosure”
124/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
wayib / wayab
WAY-bi
WAY[bi]
wa-ya-ba
way-[i]b
way-[i]b
way-ab
n
lit. “sleep-thing”
reference to
“dormitories” or a
“sleeping quarters” or a
domicile
we’em
WE’-ma
we’-[e]m
n
lit. “eat” closed off by an
agentive suffix –em for
“eater”; or more freely an
“eating utensil”
designation used for a
ceramic serving vessel
we’ib
WE’-i-bi
we’-ib
n
lit. “eat-thing” or more
freely an “eating utensil”;
designation used for a
ceramic serving vessel
wi’
WI’
wi
wi’
wi’
n
“root, tuber”
winak
wi-na-ke
winak-
n
“man, person, human”
see also maak and winik
winik
wi-ni-ki
wi-WINIK-ki
WINIK-ki
wi-WINIK
WINIK
winik
winik
winik
winik
winik
n
“man, person, human”
see also maak and winak
witz
wi-tzi
wi-WITZ
WITZ
witz
witz
witz
n
“mountain, hill”
woj
woj-[i]l
woj-[e]l
wooj
woj / wo’j
woj / wo’j
n
“glyph, character” could
be extended to “sign”
and “grapheme”
woj / wooj / wo’j wo-jo
wo-jo-li
wo-jo-le
wo-hi
wo-o-ja
wo-ja
xaman
xa-ma-MAN-na
xa-MAN-na
xa-MAN
xaman
xaman
xaman
n
“north” – cardinal
direction; used in the
Classic period in the
Lowlands; replaced by
nal in the Postclassic
xib
xi-bi
XIB
xib
xib
n
“person, man”
xoktuun
xo-ko-TUN-ni
xok-tuun
cn
“counting-stone”
xook
XOK-ki
XOK
xook
xo[o]k
n
“shark” perhaps
referring specifically to
the species of sharks that
live in the Usumacinta
xo(l)te’
xo-TE’
xo[l]te’
cn
“staff, baton”
125/154
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Nouns and Adjectives
Root/stem:
Transliteration:
Transcription:
GC:
Translation:
xu’
xu
xu[’]
n
unknown type of kind of
ant or in this case may
qualify the attributes of a
type of beetle
xukpi’?
xu?-ku-pi
xukpi[’]?
n
dance object or possibly
the name of dance
expressions in the
Usumacinta involving
the cruciform and socalled “bird-staffs”
yatik
ya-ti-ki
YATIK-ki
YATIK
yatik
yatik
yatik
n
unknown type of flower
(?)
yax
ya-xa
ya-YAX
YAX
yax
yax
yax
adj
1) “blue-green”
2) “clear, clean”
3) “first”
yaxjal
YAX-ja[la]
ya-YAX-ja-la
yax-jal
yax-jal
adj
blue
yaxte’
YAX-te-e
YAX-TE’
yax-te’
yax-te’
cn
lit. “blue-green-tree”
specifically refers to the
Ceiba tree (Ceiba
pentandra)
yaxun? /
yaxu’n? /
yaxuun?
ya-xu?-nu
ya-xu?-na
ya-YAXUN?
n
“cotinga”? specifically
the Lovely Continga
(Cotinga amabilis)?
ya-xu?-ni
yaxun?
yaxun? / yaxu’n?
yaxun? / yaxu[’]n? /
yaxu[u]n?
yaxun? / yaxu[’]n? /
yaxu[u]n?
yaxun? / yaxuun?
yokib
yo-ki-bi
y-ok-ib
n
“canyon, gorge”
yubte’
yu-bu-TE’
y-ub-te’
n
“tribute cloth, tribute
mantel”
yuhklaj kab
yu-ku-[la]ja KAB-#
y-u[h]k-laj kab
cn
lit. “earth-shaken” to be
understood as “earthquake”
yul / yu’l
yu-lu
yu-la
yul
yu’l
n
“polished object”
yum
yu-mu
yum
n
“father, boss, patron”
YAXUN?
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Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Other Parts of Speech
OTHER PARTS OF SPEECH & GRAMMATICAL AFFIXES
Adverbs / particles:
bay
cha’
ka’
lat
ma’
naach
sa’miiy
xa’
ba-ya
CHA’
ka
la-ta
ma / ma-a
na-chi
sa-mi-ya / sa-a-mi-ya
xa
bay
cha’
ka’
lat
ma’
naach
sa’miiy
xa’
adv
adv
adv
adv
i
i
i
part
ti
ta
tu / tu-u
TI’
i-chi-la
ti
ta
tu
ti’
ichiil
prep
prep
prep
prep
prep
in, on, at, to, with
pronE
(1SE)
pronE
(2SE)
pronE
(3SE)
pronE
(1PE)
pronE
(2PE)
pronE
(3PE)
pronA
(1SA)
pronA
(2SA)
pronA
(3SA)
pronA
(1PA)
pronA
(2PA)
pronA
(3PA)
I/my/mine
adv
adv
adv
indeed?
second time
then
until?
no, not
far
earlier today
already, also, again,
once more
(and) then
Prepositions:
ti
ta
tu
ti’
ichil
(ti + u)
in, within
Pronominal affixes:
in- / ni-
ni
in- / ni-
a- / aw-
a / a-wV
a- / aw-
u- / y-
u / yV
u- / y-
ka-
ka
ka-
i- / iw-
i / i-wV
i- / iw-
u- / y-
u / yV
u- / y-
-en ~ -e’n ~
-een
-at / -et
Ce-na
-en ~ -e’n ~ -een
ta / te?
-at / -et
-Ø
---
-Ø
-on ~ -o’n
Co-na
-on ~ -o’n
-? / -*ox
?
-? / -*ox
(-o’b)
-Co-ba
(-o’b)
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you/your/yours
he/she/it/his/her/its
we/our
you/your/yours (pl.)
they/their
I/me
you
he/she/it/
we/us
you (pl.)
they/them
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Thematic Dictionary: Other Parts of Speech
Independent pronouns:
ha’i’ / haa’
ha-i
ha’i’ / haa’
dem
ha’
ha-a
ha’
dem
hat
ha-ta
hat
dem
ha’ob
ha-o-ba
ha’ob
dem
hiin
hi-na
hiin
dem
-NAL / -na-la
-nal
locative suffix
(an instrumental suffix
that derives a noun
from a verb)
(an instrumental suffix
that derives a noun
from a verb)
abstractivizer suffix
(an instrumental suffix
that derives a noun
from a verb)
(3rd person singular
demonstrative pronoun:
he, she, it, that, this)
(3rd person singular
demonstrative pronoun:
he, she, it, that, this)
(2nd person singular
demonstrative pronoun:
you)
(3rd person plural
demonstrative pronoun:
they, these, those)
(1st? person singular
demonstrative pronoun:
I, me)
Locative affixes:
-nal
-ha’
-a’
-nib
ti’-
Instrumental suffixes:
-aab
-Ca-bi
-aab
-ib
-bi / -i-bi
-ib
-lel
-uub
-le-le / 2le
-lel
-uub
-ji / -Ci-ji
-ya
-ji-ya / -Ci-ji-ya
-ji-ya
-ij / -iij
-iiy
-ijiiy
-jiiy
Deictic suffixes:
-ij / -iij
-iiy
-ijiiy
-jiiy
Absolutive suffixes:
-aj
-ja
-aj
-is
-si
-is
absolutive suffix of
(especially) items worn
by people
absolutive suffix of
body parts
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Thematic Dictionary: Other Parts of Speech
Partitive possession:
-el
-e-le / -Ce-le / le
-el
(partitive suffix of body
parts)
Agentive affixes / gender classifiers:
aj-
a
aj-
mcl
ix-
IX / i-xi
ix-
fcl
-om
-Co-ma
-om
ag
masculine (male) /
neutral classifier
feminine (female)
classifier
agentive suffix
Numeral classifiers:
-bix
bi-xi / BIX
-bix
ncl
-mul
mu-lu
-mul
ncl
-nak
na-ka
-nak
ncl
paach / pach
paach
pach
-pet
ncl
-pet
pa-chi
PACH?-cha
PET
ncl
-pik
pi-ki
-pik
ncl
-pis
pi-si
-pis
ncl
-taak
-taak
ncl
-tal
ta-ka / ta-ki / TAK /
TAK-ki
TAL / ta-la / TAL-la
-tal
ncl
-te’
TE’ / TE’-e
-te’
ncl
-tikil
ti-ki-li
-tikil
ncl
-tuk
tu-ku
-tuk
ncl
-tz’ak
TZ’AK / TZ’AK-ka /
tz’a-ka
ye
-tz’ak
ncl
-ye
ncl
-ye?
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numeral classifier:
count of 5 or 7
numeral classifier:
count of stacked objects
numeral classifier:
count of lower titles
numeral classifier
numeral classifier:
count of circular objects
numeral classifier?:
count of 8000 (203)
numeral classifier:
count of units of time
plural suffix
numeral classifier for
ordinal count
numeral classifier:
count of units of time
numeral classifier:
count of people
numeral classifier:
count of stacks(?)
numeral classifier:
stacked objects
numeral classifier:
count of divine? objects
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Glossary of Linguistic Terminology
GLOSSARY OF LINGUISTIC TERMINOLOGY84
absolutive
Absolutive is a grammatical category of NOUNS in ergative-absolutive languages that typically marks the PATIENT
in a transitive sentence and the only ARGUMENT in an intransitive sentence. Furthermore, absolutive is less likely
to be formally indicated on the noun than ERGATIVE case is.
accent
A term principally used to designate a change of pitch indicating that a particular element (e.g a SYLLABLE) in an
utterance is more prominent than others. The word is also used for accent marks in writing, and (in everyday
language) for diverse accents of different speakers of the same language. See also STRESS.
active voice
Normal form of TRANSITIVE verbs declaring that the person or any other entity represented by the grammatical
SUBJECT performs the action represented by the VERB.
adjective
A word that modifies a NOUN to indicate e.g. its quality (examples: green, large, ripe, sacred, celestial, new, etc.).
adverb
A word which modifies a VERB, an ADJECTIVE, another adverb, a phrase, a clause, or a sentence expressing a
relation in reference to e.g. time, place, number, direction, affirmation, or denial (examples: then, not, here, far,
after, already, etc.). A useful hint is that basically any word with lexical content that does not clearly fall into the
categories NOUN, VERB, or ADJECTIVE is more often than not considered an adverb.
affix
Generally a dependent (bound) MORPHEME which can be added to a STEM or ROOT (as PREFIXES, SUFFIXES, or INFIXES)
in the process of forming a complex word (e.g. in the word disappointment the prefix is dis-, and the suffix is ment). In Maya hieroglyphs affixes can also work as phonetic complements or in the case of infixes also as
complete words. Contrary to standard practice in linguistics, affixes are subdivided to prefixes (before),
superfixes (above), subfixes (below), postfixes (after), and infixes (within) in Maya epigraphy due to the nature of
the script.
affricate
A complex CONSONANT which is composed of a STOP followed instantaneously by a FRICATIVE. Both the stop and
the fricative have generally the same place of articulation. For example the affricate [č] (or [tš]) as the grapheme
(DIGRAPH) <ch> in the word “child” consists of an alveolar stop [t] followed by a palato-alveolar fricative [š]. In
Maya languages the affricates behave phonologically as units, and thus cannot be divided into two distinct
PHONEMES, i.e. the phonemes in the TRANSITIVE VERB tzutz (to end, to complete) are /ts/, /u/, and /ts/, respectively,
whereas in English the sequence of a STOP and a FRICATIVE (i.e. a sound phonetically comparable to affricates) can
form two phonemes, as in the word “cats”: /k/, /æ/, /t/, and /s/. In the Classic Maya there are four affricates, the
voiceless <tz> and <ch> (or [ts] and [č], respectively), and the glottalized <tz’> and <ch’> (or [ts’] and [č’],
respectively).
Based partly on Anttila 1972, Bickford and Tuggy (eds.) 2001, Bricker 1986, 1992, 2000b, Carr 1993, Don, Kerstens, and Ruys 1999, Iivonen,
Horppila, Heikkonen, and Rissanen 2000, Kettunen 2002, Kosunen and Väisänen 2001, Lacadena and Zender 2000, Loos, Anderson, Day, Jordan,
and Wingate (eds.) 1999, and Nodine 1996. The entries are cross-referenced in the text in SMALL CAPITAL LETTERS. The graphemes are indicated by
<angle brackets>, phonemes by /slashes/, and phonetic sounds by [brackets], i.e., for example, the letter“c” in the English word “can” is
graphemically written as <c>, phonemically as /k/, and phonetically as [kh].
84
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Glossary of Linguistic Terminology
alveolar
Alveolar sounds are produced by raising the tongue tip (apex) or tongue blade (lamina/ corona) towards the
alveolar ridge. There are seven alveolar sounds (here graphemes) in the Classic Maya, namely: <t>, <t’>, <tz>,
<tz’>, <s>, <l>, and <n>.
antipassive
Antipassive VOICE is a voice in ergative-absolutive languages (like the Maya languages) in which the AGENT of the
sentence has ABSOLUTIVE case instead of the “normal” ERGATIVE case. A noun phrase normally having absolutive
case can be marked as an indirect (or an oblique) object. The verb in antipassive constructions has formal
characteristics of intransitive verbs in ergative-absolutive languages.
argument
A NOMINAL complement of a VERB (e.g. AGENT and PATIENT) which has a semantic role. Semantic roles differ from
syntactic roles (e.g. SUBJECT and OBJECT) in a manner that they are conceptual whereas syntactic roles are
morphosyntactical:
Sentence:
Syntactic role:
Semantic role:
Lisa opened the door.
Lisa = subject
door = object
Lisa = agent
door = patient
The key opened the door.
key = subject
door = object
key = instrument
door = patient
The door opened.
door = subject
door = patient
In Classic Maya this difference can been seen e.g. in the following sentences:
Sentence:
Syntactic role:
Semantic role:
uchukuw Aj Ukul Yaxuun Bahlam
(“Yaxuun Bahlam captured Aj Ukul”)
Yaxuun Bahlam=
subject
Aj Ukul=object
Yaxuun Bahlam= agent
Aj Ukul=patient
chuhkaj Aj Ukul (“Aj Ukul was captured”)
Aj Ukul=subject
Aj Ukul=patient
chuhkaj Aj Ukul ukabjiiy Yaxuun Bahlam
(“Aj Ukul was captured by the doing of Yaxuun
Bahlam”)
Aj Ukul=subject
Yaxuun Bahlam=
oblique object
Aj Ukul=patient
Yaxuun Bahlam= agent
aspect
Grammatical category of VERBS or verbal phrases that characterizes the manner in which actions are related to the
context internally. The most common aspects are:
•
•
•
•
perfective (completive): presents a situation completed (finished) or as a complete whole
habitual: presents a situation as being habitual, characteristic or repeated
progressive (continuous): presents a situation as occurring before, after, and during some other
situation
imperfective (used without distinction for both habitual and continuous situations); presents a situation
incompleted (unfinished)
All verbs do not have the same aspectual properties and they may, therefore, belong to different aspectual classes.
It is still debatable whether aspect (or TENSE for that matter) is present in the Maya hieroglyphic writing.
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Glossary of Linguistic Terminology
assimilation
A process of fusing one sound to another to facilitate pronunciation. For example, the /n/ in the Yukatek word
chila’n (interpreter) becomes /m/ before the word balam (jaguar), i.e. the /n/ assimilates in place of articulation to the
following stop /b/. The sounds are thus fused together in pronunciation to yield chila’m balam (or: /čila’mbalam/).
bilabial
Bilabial sounds are produced by using both lips. In Classic Maya language there are five bilabial sounds: /p/, /p’/,
/b/, /m/, and /w/.
brackets
Brackets85 […] are used in epigraphic analysis to indicate reconstructed sounds and in transliterations to designate
infixed syllables or words. In linguistics, square brackets are also generally used for indicating PHONETIC sounds
in contrast to PHONEMIC or GRAPHEMIC material (indicated by slashes /…/ and <angle brackets>, respectively), i.e.
[t] simply means the phonetic sound ‘t’, and /t/ represents the phoneme ‘t’ (whether it is pronounced as [t] or as [th]).
case
Case is a grammatical category characterized by inflection and determined by the syntactic or semantic role of a
noun or pronoun (traditionally the term case has been restricted to apply to only those languages which indicate
certain functions by the inflection of nouns, pronouns, or noun phrase constituents)
causative verb
Causative verb is a verb with an argument that expresses the cause of the action expressed by the VERB: e.g.
Christophe had Julie excavate a burial. In a certain class of verbs there is alternation between a causative reading
and an INCHOATIVE reading: e.g.
inchoative:
causative:
The vase broke
Joe broke the vase
clause
A verbal phrase formed together with a nominal or adverbial phrase. Clauses can either be independent or
dependent: e.g., in the sentence “I know that you will enjoy deciphering Maya glyphs” the independent clause is
“I know (that you will enjoy deciphering Maya glyphs)”, which contains the dependent phrase or clause “that
you will enjoy deciphering Maya glyphs”.
clitic
A clitic is a grammatical element which has syntactic and semantic characteristics of a word but cannot occur
freely (in SYNTAX) and, therefore, needs a “host” (i.e. a clitic is a bound MORPHEME). Clitics can also attach to
inflected words, a fact that distinguishes them from AFFIXES. Clitics are divided into two classes: proclitics and
enclitics; proclitics attach themselves before the host word, and enclitics attach themselves after the host. In Maya
hieroglyphic writing there are a number of clitics. One of the most common is the temporal DEICTIC (en)clitic –jiiy
(“ago”).
cocktail party effect
Binaural hearing (using both ears) helps us to separate interesting sounds from a background of irrelevant noise.
In a Maya hieroglyphic workshop where several conversations are taking place, one can focus on ergative
patterns or temporal deictic enclitics and ignore discussions relating to leisure activities.
85
This is brackets in standard American English and square brackets in British English.
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Glossary of Linguistic Terminology
cognate
Sets of words are cognates (in related languages) if they derive from the same original word. Normally cognates
have similar PHONOLOGICAL and SEMANTIC structures, but exceptions to this rule are numerous and can only be
detected by historical linguistics. The word for “bee” and “honey” is chab in Ch’ol, Ch’ontal, Ch’orti’, Ch’olti’, and
Tzeltal; kab in Yukatek, Lakandon, Itza’, and Mopan; and kaab in K’iche’, Kaqchikel, and Tzutujil; but they all stem
from Proto-Maya *kaab, and they are, therefore, cognates of a same word. The longer the distance of related
languages is (in time and space) the more easily words of same origin tend to vary. For example, the word for
“hundred” varies a great deal in different Indoeuropean languages through time and space: in Latin it is centum,
in Greek hekatón, in Old Irish cēt, in Gothic hund, in Swedish hundra, in Tokarian känt, in Spanish ciento, in Sanskrit
śatám, in Lithuanian šimtas, and in Russian sto, but they are all cognates of Proto-Indoeuropean *kmtóm. Words
also change semantically in different related languages, and also inside a language in time: for example, the word
nice meant stupid and foolish in the late 13th century English. The word went through a number of changes
including extravagant, elegant, strange, modest, thin, and shy ending up to its current meaning in the 18th century.
Considering the history of Maya languages (and reconstructing Classic Maya or Proto-Maya languages) one has
to consider both phonological and semantic changes in the languages that are not and were no more constant or
stable than any other languages in the world.
consonant
One of the two significant classes of sounds (besides VOWELS). Consonants are produced by greater constriction or
by a complete closure of the airstream in the speech organs than for vowels. The result is either friction or
complete obstruction of the air. Generally consonants do not form syllables alone (without a vowel). In linguistics
the capital letter C usually stands for a(ny given) consonant.
context dependence
Context dependence means that the interpretation (or translation) of an expression depends on the context in
which it is used; be it literary, syntactical or otherwise.
contrast
Two sounds contrast (or the PHONETIC distinction is contrastive) if replacing one with the other (in an identical
phonetic context) changes the meaning of a given word. For example, /l/ and /r/ are two distinctive PHONEMES in
English: if you were to change the /l/ in “lock” to an /r/, you would get a different word, “rock” (in Japanese, for
example, there is no distinction between these phonemes). Such pairs of words whose meaning can be contrasted
on the basis of a phoneme are called MINIMAL PAIRS. In Classic Maya there existed phonemic distinctions that are
less familiar among native English speakers. One of them is the opposition between (BI)LABIAL, dental/ALVEOLAR,
and VELAR STOPS or PLOSIVES (i.e. /p/, /t/, and /k/) on one hand, and GLOTTAL stops or plosives (/p’/, /t’/, and /k’/) on
the other (included is also the opposition between words with or without preconsonantal or inter-vowel glottal
stops (’). Consider the following examples: kab (earth, land) and k’ab (hand); chan (sky, snake, 4) and cha’n
(guardian). Another distinction is made between short and long vowels: nah (first) in contrast to naah (house,
structure). Yet another distinction is made between words with or without preconsonantal velar or glottal
FRICATIVES: k’an (ripe, yellow) and k’ahn (stair, bench). In the glyphic texts the vowel length and the
preconsonantal velar and glottal fricatives are not directly detectable, and consequently they have to be
reconstructed.
deictic pronoun
A pronoun whose reference must be fixed through the context of the utterance. See also DEIXIS below:
deixis
Elements in a language may have a reference which is dependent on the immediate (generally extralinguistic)
context of their utterance. For example, personal and demonstrative PRONOUNS, spatial expressions (e.g. “here”
and “there”), temporal expressions (e.g. “tomorrow” and “now”), tense (past, present, etc.), and gestures of the
speaker are deictic expressions.
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Glossary of Linguistic Terminology
derivation
Derivation is a MORPHOLOGICAL practice by which a new word is produced (derived) from another word by
affixation, resulting in a change of the meaning of the word. For example, the Classic Maya word (adjective)
chanal (celestial) is derived from the word (noun) chan (sky). Traditionally derivation is distinguished from
INFLECTION although it is not possible to make a clear distinction between the two. However, at least one
difference exists: inflection is never subject to changes in category, while derivation typically is.
digraph
A set of two letters that form a single sound. The sound value of some digraphs is not easy to work out, but some
are more predictable. As a matter of fact, the word “digraph” has a digraph <ph> (pronounced as [f]). In the
customary transliteration (and transcription) of Maya hieroglyphs, there are four digraphs: <tz>, <tz’>, <ch>, and
<ch’> pronounced as [ts], [ts’], [č], and [č’], respectively).
ergative
Ergative is a grammatical category of NOUNS in ergative-absolutive languages that typically marks the AGENT in a
transitive sentence and the only ARGUMENT in an intransitive sentence. Ergative case is more likely to be formally
marked on the noun than ABSOLUTIVE case is.
ergative-absolutive case system
A term applied in linguistics for a situation in which one case marker or AFFIX is used to mark the only ARGUMENT
(i.e. SUBJECT) of INTRANSITIVE verbs as well as the PATIENT of TRANSITIVE verbs, while another case marker or affix is
used for the agent of transitive verbs. The former case marker is called the absolutive (ABS), and the latter, the
ergative (ERG). In Maya languages ergative pronouns (pronominal affixes) are used as subjects of transitive
verbs and as possessive pronouns (possessors of nouns), whereas absolutive pronouns are used as the objects of
transitive verbs and the subjects of intransitives. In Classic Maya this means that the pronoun (pronominal affix)
in sentences like utz’ihb (“[it is] his/her writing”) and utz'apaw (“he/she inserted/ planted it”), is formally the same
/u-/, but in the first example it is the possessor of a noun (possessive pronoun), and in the second it is the subject
of a transitive verb. In Maya languages ergative pronouns are attached to the root of the verb on its left side
(before the verb) whereas the absolutive pronouns are attached to the right side of the verb (after the verb).
etymology
Etymology is the study of the historical origin of a word or other linguistic structures. For example, the
etymology of the English word “cacao” is in the Spanish “el cacao” which was borrowed from Maya “kakaw”
which is in itself a loanword from Mihe-Sokean languages (“kakawa”).
euphemism
A euphemism is an expression that is used in place of another expression that is considered to be unpleasant,
disagreeable or offensive. For example, expressions like he checked out, he kicked the bucket, he’s six feet under, and
he’s pushing daisies can be regarded as euphemisms for the concept of dying.
fricative
A sound formed by forcing air through a small cavity at the place of articulation. In Classic Maya there are four
fricatives (here written as GRAPHEMES): <s>, <x> (pronounced as /š/), <j> (pronounced as <ch> in Scottish “Loch” or
as <j> in Spanish “Juan”), and <h>.
gender
See NOMINAL CLASS.
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Glossary of Linguistic Terminology
glide
A sound produced more or less like a VOWEL but with the distributional properties of a CONSONANT. Glides are
more commonly referred to as “semi-vowels” and classified also as approximants. In Classic Maya there are two
glides (or semi-vowels): [j] and [w] (written GRAPHEMICALLY as <y> and <w>, respectively, and pronounced very
much like the English phonemes /y/ and /w/ in words like “year” and “wine”).
gloss
A short general translation of a
occurs.
WORD
or
MORPHEME
which does not take into account the context in which it
glottal
A sound produced by a constriction in the GLOTTIS (the air passage through the larynx or voicebox between the
vocal folds). The two most common glottal sounds are the GLOTTAL stop (or glottal plosive) [’]86 and the glottal
FRICATIVE [h]. A glottal stop involves closure, followed by release, of the vocal cords, whereas a glottal fricative
involves close approximation between the vocal cords. In a few English accents, the glottal stop can be heard in
words like “bottle” [bo’l], and they often replace syllable final plosives, as in “Scotland” [sko’lnd], but more
commonly in any initial word in a sentence starting with a vowel, and in expressions such as “uh-uh” (colloquial
phrase indicating a negative opinion or a refusal) and “oh-oh” (“oops”; colloquial expression referring to an
element of surprise).
glottis
The aperture between the vocal folds.
grammar
The habitual method in which the basic elements of a language are interconnected to create more complex
structures, thus enabling thoughts to be communicated according to clear, habitual and systematic configuration.
grapheme
A “default” letter in the alphabet or a symbol representing a syllable in a syllabary. For example, in the Maya
script the symbol for the syllable ba is a single grapheme regardless of the different forms in which it may be
written. In Latin alphabet a grapheme is any given letter (or letters) with no direct correspondence to
pronunciation. See also DIGRAPH.
homograph
A word written exactly the same way as another word with different meaning, and potentially different
pronunciation, e.g. minute [‘minit] (a unit of time and angular measurement) and minute [mī:nyüt] (of very small
size or importance).
homophone
A group of letters or (in a broad sense of the definition) a word written differently from another word with same
pronunciation, e.g. right, rite, wright, and write. Homophones can also be distinguished from homonyms in a sense
that homophones represent a group of letters representing the same speech sound, whereas homonyms are words
that have the same pronunciation as another, (usually) differently written, word.
86 The more appropriate symbol for the glottal stop is a character resembling a question mark but for typographical reasons the symbol < ’ > is
used here instead. This practice is also in keeping with the standards employed by Maya epigraphers generally as well as those formulated and
set forth by Guatemalan government accords of 1987 and 1988 (see Note on Orthography at the beginning of this handbook).
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Glossary of Linguistic Terminology
ideographic
An ideographic orthography is a writing system that represents words and ideas without representing the sounds
of a given language. In reality, there are no true ideographic writing systems in the world, and most writing
systems employing prima facie ideographs are actually operating with logograms (i.e. word signs that do not
always have a direct correlation or association with the targeted idea or entity in real life). Words “ideogram” (or
“ideograph”) and “logogram” (or “logograph”) are sometimes used indistinguishably but currently the latter is
favored in place of the former. A “pictogram” (or “pictograph”), on the other hand, is a sign representing factual
and concrete objects or entities: a sign representing a realistic full-figure jaguar (or the head of the jaguar) would
be pictographic (if it really denotes to a jaguar), but a sign representing a head of a toad is in effect a logogram if it
denotes to the verb ‘to be born’.
idiom
An idiosyncratic multi-word expression with a fixed combination of elements recognized as a SEMANTIC unit and
typically referring to a colloquial expression (for example “kick the bucket”, “spill the beans”, “hit the road”). The
meaning of the idiom cannot usually be directly derived from its elements. See also EUPHEMISM.
inalienable noun
A noun which refers to something perceived as essentially and permanently possessed, and is thus compulsorily
expressed as possessed. Kinship terms and body parts are traditionally inalienable nouns in Maya languages.
inchoative
An aspectual class of verbs that refers to “becoming”, “appearing” or “beginning”. Inchoatives express the
beginning of a state or process, like harden (become hard), die (become dead) or break. They refer to a change in
state in the subject, be it accidental, temporary, or permanent. In Maya languages all inchoative verbs are derived
from NOUNS or ADJECTIVES.
inflection
One of the major types of MORPHOLOGICAL operations by which an AFFIX is added to a word. An inflectional affix
adds a particular grammatical function to a word without changing the category of that word. Traditionally
inflection is distinguished from DERIVATION.
intransitive
Intransitive verbal structures do not have a direct OBJECT, i.e. verbs that do not require or verbs that cannot have a
direct object, are intransitive verbs (e.g. “sleep” and “die”).
labial
A sound which is produced by a narrowing or closure of the lips. The term is used to refer both to BILABIAL and to
labiodental sounds. There are five (bi)labial sounds in the Classic Maya: [p], [p’], [b], [m], and [w], and no
labiodental sounds (involving a contact between the lower lip and upper front teeth, such as [f] and [v]).
lexeme
A term that is used to express the idea that INFLECTED forms of words (which are words themselves) are still
variants of one single word. For example, the Finnish words “käden” (“hand’s”, “[that] of a hand”), “kädellinen”
(“one with a hand”, “Primates”), “käsitellä” (“manipulate”), and “käsin” (“with hands”) are all “variants” of the
lexeme “käsi” or “hand”.
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lexical ambiguity
A type of ambiguity that arises when a word has multiple meanings. The Maya word chan (sky, four, snake) is
often cited as an instance of lexical ambiguity. See also HOMOPHONE.
mediopassive
A VOICE that is used in certain languages like Latin, Ancient Greek, and in the Maya languages. In the
mediopassive voice (middle voice), the agent is completely deleted and is to be understood only in general terms
or not at all. Instead, the PATIENT becomes the SUBJECT of the verb. In the mediopassive voice the action of the
subject is directed towards the subject itself; e.g. (in Classic Maya): chukuuy Aj Ukul (“Aj Ukul got captured”).
metaphor
A figurative expression which is not to be understood literally (but which refers to certain conceptual similarity),
i.e. a metaphor employs an altered but similar concept to another concept or idea, e.g: “At this point I’m really
drained and burned up trying to absorb linguistic data”.
metonymy
A routine in which one word (that is an attribute of another, more complex or an abstract word) is used to stand
for another word or concept. For example, in the phrase “The pen is mightier than the sword” pen and sword
represent writing/publishing and war/military force/violence, respectively. In a same manner, the word crown can
refer to monarchy or to the royal house (a concept that has metonymic attributes as well) and window table can
refer to the customers seated on a window table.
minimal pair
A set of two words or other structures which differ in meaning and which have only one difference in their
sounds. See CONTRAST for further information.
mood
A cover term for one of the four INFLECTIONAL categories of VERBS (mood, TENSE, ASPECT, and modality). The most
common categories are: indicative (statement), imperative (command), optative (wish), etc. It seems at present
that the only mood in the Maya hieroglyphic texts is that of indicative.
morpheme
The smallest meaning-bearing unit (minimal grammatical unit), i.e. a word or a part of a word that cannot be
divided into smaller meaning-bearing forms. Morphemes are generally either ROOTS or AFFIXES. For example, the
word “intoxicated” has four morphemes: the prefix “in-“, the root “toxic”, and the suffixes “-ate” and “-ed”. A
Classic Maya glyphic example of chu-ka-ja produces a transcription of chu[h]kaj which can be divided into four
morphemes: chu[-h]k-aj-Ø (chuk: to seize; -h-: passive marker of CVC transitive verbs; -aj: thematic suffix; and –Ø:
third person absolutive pronoun [sign “Ø” represents a “ZERO MORPHEME”]).
morphology
A subfield in linguistics that is involved in the study of MORPHEMES, or the internal structure of words.
morphophonemic
Relating to the change of one PHONEME to another in particular surroundings. The presence of morphophonemic
constructions (morphosyllables) in the Maya hieroglyphic writing system is still debatable. In this volume
morphosyllables are not considered part of the description of the Maya writing system (as reconstructions
presently favored by the European school of Maya epigraphers are an equally viable solution to the variant
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processes of transcription). The reconstructive approach does not require the stipulation of phonetic reversal, a
process which is no longer believed to have existed.
nasal
A feature which characterizes sounds that are produced by lowering the soft palate (velum), allowing the air to
escape through the nose. In the Classic Maya language there are two nasal sounds (nasal consonants): [m] and [n].
nominal structure
Structures that are grammatically comparable to nouns. Nominal structures include noun STEMS, NOUNS,
noun phrases and nominal clauses. They are the most fundamental categories for the construction of
syntactic arrangements along with verbal structures.
PRONOUNS,
nominal class
A general term indicating the fact that e.g. NOUNS, VERBS, and PRONOUNS can belong to different MORPHOLOGICAL
classes. In quite a few languages nouns fall into two or three classes: masculine, feminine, and neuter, with each
of them INFLECTED differently. In English there is no such distinction, and in the Maya languages the only
‘genderized’ grammatical class is that of male (masculine) and female (feminine) classifiers that are sometimes
(rather inaccurately) referred to as agentives: aj- (masculine classifier), and ix- (feminine classifier). Neither of
these actually refer to the male or female gender per se: the masculine classifier is actually a neutral classifier and
it can be found attached to a number of plant and animal names and the feminine classifier can also work as a
diminutive. However, when it comes to pronouns, the English language has gender in the third person pronouns
(“he”, “she”, and “it”, “his”, “her”, and “its”) but some other languages such as Finnish or the Maya languages
do not. In Classic Maya the pronoun u- (before words starting with consonants) and y- (before words starting
with vowels) operate both for men and women (“he”, “she”, “it”, “his”, “her”, and “its”). In Maya languages, the
gender of the person referred to in an utterance has to be indicated otherwise (if needed) stating the gender using
classifiers (aj- / ix-) or nouns such as “man”, “father”, “woman”, “grandmother”, etc. This is also the case in
Finnish – with the exception that not even masculine or feminine classificators exist in the language. As a result,
the gender of the person one is referring to has to be elucidated through oblique queries.
noun
One of the major lexical categories: a word that names an entity, whether a person, an object, an idea, or a place.
Nouns can function as SUBJECTS or OBJECTS of a VERB.
number
A linguistic category of NOUNS and PRONOUNS that indicates the quantity of referred individuals. In the Classic
Maya there are two numbers: SINGULAR (sg. or S) and PLURAL (pl. or P) whereof the singular is by far the most
common with pronouns. Since the plural SUFFIX is optional in Maya languages (usually present only when the
plural form needs to be emphasized), the absence of plural suffixes is observable also in the script. However,
there are some cases in the corpus where the plural suffix –ob (–o’b / –oob) is marked for the demonstrative
pronoun ha’i’ (“that”) to yield ha’ob (ha’o’b / ha’oob; “those”), as in the example below from Copan Temple 1187:
ha-o-bo
ha’ob / ha’o’b / ha’oob
ha’-ob-Ø
DEM.PRO-PL-3PA
“they are”
87
ko-ko-no-ma
ko[h]knom
ko[h]k-n-om-Ø
guard-APAS-AG-3PA
“[the] guardians”
We wish to thank Marc Zender for pointing out this reference and providing the linguistic data for it.
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Another plural suffix present in the script is that of –taak. Its use is limited to persons as in the word ch’oktaak
(ch’ok-taak) or “youths”.
object
The element that typically refers to the PATIENT in a verbal clause. Verbs and clauses which have an object are
TRANSITIVE – those which do not are INTRANSITIVE. In Maya languages objects usually precede SUBJECTS, i.e. the
sentence uchukuw Aj Ukul Yaxuun Bahlam would translate to “Yaxuun Bahlam seized Aj Ukul” but in actuality it
says: “Seized Aj Ukul(,) Yaxuun Bahlam. Objects can be divided to direct and indirect objects.
oblique object
An oblique OBJECT is a grammatical relation whose characteristics and behavior are explainable more logically in
semantic rather than syntactic terms. In the sentence “Vicky was bitten by a tick” the constituent “by a tick” is an
oblique object
onomatopoeia
Onomatopoeia refers to sounds implied by the phonetic quality of the word, or an entity that produces a sound.
Words such as “hiss” and “bomb” are Onomatopoeitic.
onomastics
A branch of SEMANTICS, which studies the etymology of proper names (see also TOPONYM).
onset
An onset is first part of the SYLLABLE preceding the VOWEL.
orthography
The manner in which the sounds of a given language are represented graphically in writing.
palatal
A sound which is produced by narrowing or closing the oral cavity by raising the tongue blade towards the hard
palate. There was only one (pure) palatal sound [j] (graphemically <y>) and three palato-ALVEOLAR sounds [č],
[č’], and [š] (graphemically <ch>, <ch’>, and <x>, respectively) in the Classic Maya language (based on the
pronunciation of modern Maya languages).
participle
A nominal form of a verb. Participles can be characterized as being adjectivized verbal forms. They can also be
inflected in cases and in some tenses (and also e.g. in passive): e.g.: (1) Phil is writing hieroglyphs; (2) Phil has
written hieroglyphs; (3) These hieroglyphs were written by Phil. In Ch’olan languages participles are often
referred to as stative adjectives. One of the (stative) participles found n the Maya script is the term hamliiy (ham-liiy-Ø), which can be translated as “it was in an opened state”.
particle
A particle is a word that does not belong to one of the main classes of words. It is also invariable in form.
Sometimes also PREPOSITIONS are regarded as particles. The following are examples of English particles: “well”,
“oh”, “yes”.
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passive
Passive VOICE is an INFLECTED (or DERIVED) form of a TRANSITIVE VERB in which the OBJECT of the transitive verb
becomes the SUBJECT of the passive, i.e. it indicates that the subject is the patient or recipient of the action indicated
by the verb. To follow the previous example (see OBJECT) the sentence chu[h]kaj Aj Ukul would translate to “Aj
Ukul was seized”.
patient
One type of argument of a VERB. An argument is a patient if the action expressed by the verb is directed at or
affects the referent of the argument.
person
A grammatical category indicating whether a NOMINAL includes the speaker and/or the hearer. The speaker is
called first person, the hearer second person, and any third party third person. Both pronouns and verbs can be
labeled as such: e.g. “we” is a first person plural pronoun and “goes” is a third person singular verb. Most Maya texts
were written in third person singular.
phoneme
The smallest (contrastive) unit in the sound system of a language. A phoneme is a sound which differs from any
other sound in a given language (see CONTRAST) producing distinct linguistic units. Distinctions between
phonemes are called phonemic distinctions (instead of PHONETIC distinctions). Sounds that are pronounced in a
different way are phonetically different, but if these sounds are not in contrast with each other, the difference is
allophonic, not phonemic. To give an example, in the English language the /p/ sound in the word “pay” [‘pheI] is
phonetically distinct from the /p/ sound in “play” [‘pleI], because it is aspirated (in contrast to this, if an initial
stressed fortis plosive /p, k, t/ is followed within the same syllable by any of the phonemes /l, r, w, j/, there is no
aspiration). This difference is not phonemic, but phonetic, i.e. the sounds [p] and [ph] are allophones and they differ
from each other only because of the phonetic “surroundings”. See also MINIMAL PAIRS.
phonetics
The study of the sounds of language. Phonetics can be further divided into articulatory, acoustic, and auditory
phonetics.
phonology
The study of how the sounds function and how they are organized in a given language.
phrase
A phrase is a SYNTACTIC structure that is composed of more than one word but lacks the
organization that makes a complete CLAUSE.
plosive
A sound that is produced by a complete occlusion in the oral (vocal) tract. See also STOP.
plural
A class of grammatical forms indicating multiples of NOUNS or PRONOUNS. See NUMBER.
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possessive
A grammatical case indicating ownership or a relation comparable to ownership. Many Maya words (such as
body parts and kinship terms) are INALIENABLY (innately) possessed and cannot stand alone (see the dictionary).
See also PRONOUN.
predicate
A segment of a CLAUSE expressing something about the SUBJECT (excluding the subject,)
prefix
Generally a bound MORPHEME (or AFFIX) joined to a word on its left side (i.e. preceding the sign). In Maya
epigraphy prefixes indicate GRAPHEMIC signs attached to the viewer’s left of another sign.
pronoun
A word that can substitute for a NOUN or a noun phrase. Several types of pronouns are distinguished in
grammars, including: personal pronouns (e.g. I, you, he, she), possessive pronouns (e.g. your, yours), demonstrative
pronouns (e.g. this, that), interrogative pronouns (e.g. what, who), reflexive pronouns (e.g. myself, yourself), etc.
Classic Maya pronouns indicate PERSON, but not GENDER. For example, the Classic Maya 3rd person singular
ergative pronoun “u” can either mean “he”, “she”, or “it” (or “his”, “her”, “its”), and the gender can only be
detected contextually. In the Classic Maya script there are three sets of pronouns: (1) personal pronouns, (2)
POSSESSIVE pronouns, and rare occurrences of (3) demonstrative pronouns:
personal and possessive pronouns:
demonstrative pronouns:
u
u
“he, she, it, his, her, its”
(before consonants)
ha-i
ha’i’
“that”
ya88
y-
“he, she, it, his, her, its”
(before vowels)
ha-o-ba
ha’ob
“those”
Table XXV: Examples of Classic Maya pronouns in the hieroglyphic texts
protoA prefixed word that suggests a supposed “ancestor” of related languages. For example, the ancestor of all the
Maya languages is referred to as Proto-Maya, and the immediate ancestor of Tzeltalan languages as ProtoTzeltalan. Comparative historical linguistics is a field engaged in determining what the proto-forms of a given
language family were by analyzing series of COGNATE words in attested languages. Reconstructed proto-forms are
marked with an asterisk (*) immediately before the word: e.g. *k’e’ŋ is a proposed Proto-Maya form of the Classic
Maya word ch’e’n (“cave”).
root
The base form of a word, which cannot be further analyzed without losing the word’s identity. In Maya
languages roots are monomorphemic STEMS that can either be free MORPHEMES (e.g. “sky”, “walk”, “you”) or
bound morphemes (e.g. “in-”, “pre-”, “-ness”).
This is only one (graphemic) example of prevocalic personal and possessive pronouns (the ya-sign is used with words starting with the vowel
/a/). Others are ye, yi, yo, and yu with corresponding initial vowels (/e/, /i/, /o/, and /u/, respectively).
88
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semantics
The study of meaning in language.
semivowels
The sounds [w], [j], [r], and [l], but more commonly only [w] and [j] are referred to as semivowels since they are
not easily classified into the categories of CONSONANTS or of VOWELS. See also APPROXIMANTS.
sentence
A grammatical unit composed of one or more CLAUSES.
singular
A class of grammatical forms indicating only one NOUN or PRONOUN. See NUMBER.
stative verb
A VERB that expresses a state of affairs rather than action. For example, the verbs be, have, and know are stative
verbs in English.
stem
Basic part of a word to which INFLECTIONAL AFFIXES can be attached. For example the stem of the Maya word
chanal (“celestial”) is chan (“sky”). Similarly the stem of k’ahk’al (“fiery”) is k’ahk’ (“fire”). A stem can be either
monomorphemic (a.k.a. root) or polymorphemic (having more than one morphemes).
stop
A type of CONSONANT involving a complete obstruction (closure) of the passage of air at some point through the
oral tract followed by a sudden release of the air. In Classic Maya there are eight stops: /p/, /t/, /k/, / ’/, /p’/, /t’/,
/k’/, and /b/.
stress
The relative prominence of a unit of spoken language that is typically attributed to one syllable in a word.
Normally a stressed syllable is pronounced by an increase in articulatory force and at a higher pitch. The stress in
Maya words is typically in the last syllable.
subject
A NOMINAL element that refers to the “doer” i.e. the AGENT in the action of the VERB. Subjects can either be NOUNS,
or complex NOMINAL clauses. In Maya languages subjects follow verbs (and possible OBJECTS) in a verbobject-subject (VOS) order.
PRONOUNS
substantive
A broad classification of words that includes NOUNS and NOMINALS.
suffix
A bound MORPHEME (or AFFIX) which attaches at the end of a ROOT or STEM. See also PREFIX.
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syllable
A minimal unit of organization for a sequence of sounds. Syllable usually comprises of a nucleus (typically a
VOWEL or vowels) together with optional initial and/or final margins (typically CONSONANTS). Symbols C
(consonant) and V (vowel) are used to express syllabic structures: e.g. the Classic Maya word “ch’ahom” would be
transliterated using this notation as: CV.CVC (ch’a-hom). In contrast to standard method in linguistics, Classic
Maya words are transliterated syllabically on the basis of GRAPHEMIC syllables, i.e. the distinction is made between
pronounced syllables and graphemic syllables. The word ch’ahom is thus divided into three graphemic syllables (or
syllabograms): ch’a-ho-ma, and it can be indicated using both sets of syllabic notations (graphemic and
pronounced): CV.CV.CV  CV.CVC (or: CV-CV-CV  CVCVC).
syncope
The deletion of a segment in a word. For example, the Classic Maya INTRANSITIVE verb “to dance” is derived from
the noun ahk’ot “dance” to produce ahk’taj < ahk’ot + -aj (the phoneme /o/ has thus been syncopated).
syntax
The study of the rules by which words are combined to form phrases, clauses, and sentences.
tense
A grammatical category, feature, or expression of the time of a situation relative to some other time (usually
associated with verbs). Tense is traditionally classified into past, present, and future. It is still debatable whether
tense (or ASPECT) is present in the Maya hieroglyphic writing.
toponym
A toponym is a NOUN (or a noun phrase) which is assigned to a geographic location. For example, Belize, Pook’s
Hill, Tikal, Leiden, Shite Creek, Koiransellaisenoja, Naughty Girl Meadow, Qaanaaq, Nunathloogagamiutbingoi,
Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, El Pueblo de Nuestra
Señora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciúncula, and Ii are toponyms.
transitive
A verb or a verbal structure which has or requires a direct OBJECT.
velar
A sound produced with a constriction formed by raising the back of the tongue (dorsum) towards the soft palate
(velum). There are two clear velar sounds in the Classic Maya: [k] and [k’], and one sound that is either velar or
uvular: [x] (written graphemically as <j> and pronounced as in the Spanish name “Juan”) – not to be confused
with the GRAPHEME <x>.
verb
A word that designates a situation, an event, or an action. Verbs can typically be inflected in, e.g., person, aspect,
voice, and tense.
voice
A grammatical system of INFLECTIONS of a verb to indicate the relation of the SUBJECT of the VERB to the action
which the verb expresses. There are four voices present in the Classic Maya language: ACTIVE, PASSIVE,
mediopassive (or middle voice), and antipassive. For more information, turn into the grammar section on page
66.
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voiced
A sound that is produced with a vibration of the vocal folds (vocal cords).
vowel
One of the two significant classes of sounds (besides CONSONANTS). Vowels are usually pronounced with
relatively open configuration of the vocal tract without noticeable obstruction to the free flow of air through the
mouth. In contrast to consonants, vowels can form syllables by themselves. There are five vowels (or ten if long
vowels are regarded as a distinct set of vowels) in the Classic Maya language: /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, and /u/.
word
The smallest unit of GRAMMAR which can stand alone as a complete utterance in both spoken and written
language. Words are composed of STEMS together with optional AFFIXES.
zero morpheme
A zero morpheme (Ø) is a constituent representing an element at an abstract level but not realized in the
utterance (i.e. it has no phonetic appearance in pronunciation nor a graphemic appearance in writing). A zero
morpheme thus represents the absence of an expected morpheme. There are a number of zero morphemes in the
Classic Maya language (and, consequently, also in the script). One of the most common is that of the third person
singular absolutive (Set B) pronoun, as in the phrase chumlaj (“he/she sat down”) which can be divided into
morphemes in the following way: chum-l-aj-Ø (verbal root + marker of a positional verb + thematic suffix + third
person absolutive pronoun).
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Abbreviations
ABBREVIATIONS USED IN MORPHOLOGICAL SEGMENTATION AND MORPHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS
(ADAPTED TO MAYA LINGUISTICS)
Abbreviation:
Explanation:
Abbreviation:
Explanation:
Ø
-
zero morpheme
morpheme boundary
1
2
3
1S
2P
3SA
3SE
first person
second person
third person
first person singular
second person plural
third person singular absolutive
third person singular ergative
PV
REL
S
SUF
THM
TV
positional verb
relational suffix
singular
suffix (for unidentified suffixes)
thematic suffix
transitive verb
A
ADJ
ADV
AFT
APAS
DEM
E
FCL
INC
INS
IV
IVD
LOC
MCL
N
NCL
NUM
P
PAS
absolutive
adjective
adverb
affective
antipassive voice
demonstrative pronoun
ergative
female/feminine classifier
inchoative voice
instrumental suffix
intransitive verb
intransitive verb, derived
locative suffix
male/masculine/neutral classifier
noun
numeral/numerical classifier
numeral
plural
passive voice
Other abbreviations:
*
*
C
V
reconstructed word or morpheme
(in historical linguistics)
incorrect word, clause, sentence, etc.
(general)
(any) consonant
(any) vowel
Abbreviations used in Maya epigraphy:
ADI
CR
DN
DNIG
EG
IS
ISIG
LC
PDI
PE
PSS
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Anterior Date Indicator
Calendar Round
Distance Number
Distance Number Introductory Glyph
Emblem Glyph
Initial Series
Initial Series Introductory Glyph
Long Count Calendar
Posterior Date Indicator
Period Ending
Primary Standard Sequence
Kettunen & Helmke 2011
Sources and Further Reading
SOURCES AND FURTHER READING
ACUÑA, René (ed.)
1993
Bocabulario de Maya Than: Codex Vindobonensis N.S. 3833. Facsímil y transcripción crítica anotada Instituto
de Investigaciones Filológicas, Centro de Estudios Mayas, Fuentes para el Estudio de la Cultura Maya, 10.
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F.
ANGULO V., Jorge
1970
Un posible códice de El Mirador, Chiapas. Tecnologia 4. Departamento de Prehistoria. Instituto Nacional de
Antropología e Historia, México, D.F.
ANTTILA, Raimo
1972
An Introduction to Historical and Comparative Linguistics. MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York.
AULIE, H. Wilbur and Evelyn W. Aulie
1999
Diccionario Ch’ol de Tumbal, Chiapas, con variaciones dialectales de Tila y Sabanilla. Reeditado por Emily F. Scharfe
de Stairs. Instituto Lingüístico de Verano, A.C., México, D.F.
BARRERA VÁSQUEZ, Alfredo
1980
Diccionario Maya Cordemex: Maya-Español, Español-Maya. Ediciones Cordemex, Mérida, Yucatán, México.
BAUER, Laurie
1988
Introducing Linguistic Morphology. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.
BEETZ, Carl P. and Linton Satterthwaite
1981
The Monuments and Inscriptions of Caracol, Belize. University Museum Monograph 45, University of
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
BELIAEV, Dmitri
2005
Epigraphic Evidence for the Highland–Lowland Maya Interaction in the Classic Period. Paper presented at the 10th
European Maya Conference, Leiden.
BERLIN, Heinrich
1958
El glifo “emblema” en las inscripciones mayas. Journal de la Société des Américanistes n.s. 47: 111-119.
BICKFORD, J. Albert and David Tuggy (eds.)
2001
Electronic Glossary of Linguistic Terms.
URL: <http://www.sil.org/americas/mexico/ling/glosario/E005ai-Glossary.htm>
BOOT, Erik
2009
A Classic Maya – English / English – Classic Maya Vocabulary of Hieroglyphic Readings. Mesoweb. URL:
<http://www.mesoweb.com>
BRICKER, Victoria R.
1986
A Grammar of Maya Hieroglyphs (Middle American Research Institute, Publication No. 56). Tulane University,
New Orleans.
1992
Noun and Verb Morphology in the Maya Script. In Handbook of Middle American Indians, Supplement Vol. 5:
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