Title: Maya hieroglyphics ; a language profile for travelers brochure
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089125/00001
 Material Information
Title: Maya hieroglyphics ; a language profile for travelers brochure
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Mexi-Mayan Tours
Publisher: J. Granberry,
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- Mexico -- Caribbean
North America -- Guatemala -- Caribbean
North America -- Belize -- Caribbean
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00089125
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text


.*.-
1 1',, 1 Ji~il it



I-,
jli, iu


i]It
I, ,


MAYA

HIEROGLYPHICS


A LANGUAGE PROFILE FOR TRAVELERS


- am=







MAYA HIEROGLYPH
MAYA HIEROGLYPHICS were no mere picture-
writing; they were a true writing system.
Their origins are unclear, but their earliest
form (300-900 A.D.) probably mirrors the
ancestral language of the Chol & Chortf
peoples who still inhabit the jungled low-
lands of the Maya region. Later inscript-
ions were adapted to the Yucatec Maya
language of the northern lowlands.

The earliest dated monument is Stela 29 at
Tikal 292 A.D. Such inscriptions continue
through the late 800's. Like our own public
monuments in stone, the Maya stelae deal with
the leading people of the times, important dates
in their lives, and their life's activities. They
were essentially historical documents.


HICS




Pax (a month name)


pacal (shield)


chan (snake)


pa xa u ca a
pa xa u ca la


Individual hieroglyphs might have 3 forms, as
in Fig.1 at right. These represented either
WORDS logograms (Figs. l&2), or SYLLABLES
(CV or VC) phonograms (Fig.3). Phonograms
could be used to write words (Fig.4), the vowel pa-x(
of the last phonogram being silent. As in Fig.5,
words could be written with combinations of
phonograms and logograms. Some logograms had 5
more than one meaning chan, for example,
meant snake, sky, or four. Many glyphs vary
through time as well as by the material they u-ch
were written on and by the writer/scribe.


a)=pax


pa-ca-l(a)=pacal


an = uchan (captor


-I _







THE INS ( R I PT- I ) ONS
MAYA INSCRIPTIONS (example at left) are read two
1 columns at a time, from left-to-right & top-to-bottom
A1,Bl,A2,B2,etc. AI-BI often contain a single
glyph, the INTRODUCTORY GLYPH (IG). In a block
read phonograms/numbers (see next page) to the left
or to first, then the main glyph, last phonograms to
the righ or bottom.
Most inscriptions begin with a date in the Maya Cal-
2 endar. While our dates have 4 places (1986 = 1 thou-
sands,9 hundreds,8 tens, & 6 ones), Maya dates,which
we write with periods between units, have five:
3 Baktuns Katuns Tuns Uinals Kins





5 3941 yrs. 19.7 yrs. 1 Year 1 Month 1 Day
(144,000 days) (7,200 days) (360 days) (20 days)
Variants are -
6 These follow the IG
in Blocks A2-A4.B4
= GLYPH G (Patron
Day God) + GLYPH F Baktum &sn ~ la ins l Kin
7(meaning unknown); A5 = DAY glyph (see DAYS page),
B5-B7 = LUNAR SERIES glyphs; AS = MONTH glyph
(see MONTHS page). A1-A4 + A5 + A8 = an INITIAL
SERIES. This date is 9.17.0.0.0 13 Ahau 18 Cumku
8 9(Jan.20,771 A.D.), 4,886 yrs.from the.O start-date.








D A Y GLYPHS & NUMBERS
The MAYA I
which was
A.versm imnle


1. mix 2. IK 3. AKBAL 4. KAN




CHICCHAN 5. 6. CIMI 7. MANIK 8. LAMAT


51"N" gel


9. MULUC



12.EB


10.oc



13. sEN


11.CHUEN



14. ix


15.u l 16. cl 17 cABAN 18. EZNAB 19.CAUAC



20. A1AU


given belo
before the
to. There w
not shown h


or

0 1


NUMBER SYSTEM,
Mased on 20, was
- examples are
v. Numbers come
glyph they refer
ere other variants,
lere:


3 5


7 10 13 19

MAYA DAYS (kin) were named
consecutively from IMIX to AHAU,
the sequence repeating itself thru
time. The 20 days were numbered
from 1-13 (not 1-20), so, if one
starts with 1 Imix through 13 Ben
then Ix, the next day, is 1 Ix,
not 14 Ix. After 260 days o this
RITUAL YEAR, a new Ritual
Year would start, with 1 Imix.


_L


1% ........








MAYA MONTHS (uinal), 18
in number, had 20 days
each, numbered from 0 to
19 (not 1-20). A 19th month
of 5 days, numbered 0-4,
called Uayeb, came at the
end of the year to give a
total of 365 days to this
CALENDAR YEAR or haab.
After 365 days, ending
with 4 Uayeb, a new Cal-
endar Year would start,
with 0 Pop. The MONTHS
were named consecutively
from Pop to Uayeb, the
sequence repeating itself
through time. The days
of the Calendar Year
months had no names, only
numbers. They operated
separately from the named
and numbered days of the
Ritual Year. Every 52
years, however, the
same Ritual Year day
would fall on the same
Calendar Year day. This
is called a CALENDAR
ROUND. In the inscript-
ions the Ritual Year day
is given first, the Cal-
endar Year month last.


M 0 1T H GLYPHS




POP 1. 2. uo 3. zIP 4. ZOTZ




5. TZEC 6. XUL 7. YAXKIN



8.MOL 9.CHEN 10. AX




11 .AC 12.CEH 13. MAC




14.KANKIN 15.MUAN 16. PAX



17. KAYAB 18. Cumku UAEB
MMOMMMMEMO





PEOPLE & PLACES /VERBS /OTHER
Logograms could be used for more than one word with the same sound chan,
for example, meant snake, but it also meant sky and four. The chan snake
glyph could be used for any of these meanings. Some logograms were also used
as CVC phonograms, as in uchan captor (see chart below), in which chan stood
simply for the sound combination -chan- Most non-calendar glyphs come after
the INITIAL SERIES date, and the usual WORD ORDER is: VERB + NOUN OBJECT
+ NOUN SUBJECT.


PEOPLE S PLACES

Man Ah- or

Woman Ix-

Priest Ah Kin

Ruler Ahau l

Governor Bacab

Captive ubac

Captor uchan

Palenque


Copan

Yaxchilnr


Offer(blood)I or )

MISCELLANEOUS


VERBS Child of

Be born pok At,in,on ti g

Be crowned He,his u-
nDie She.her
Die Past tense -ah

Capture chuck Verbal noun -an

Become hel -al, -i,-ul


vtfi






PHONOGRAMS (-CV-) presently known are
Consonants like English, but pp.thk,dz.ch'
Vowels "-Eo -


pa pe po

B b__ _

PP
ppe

T (33E><3- fi 8
ta I to -ti tu

TH

C I a :
(c in C Cci c

K
SZku


(S in SA) Ls 6


g


given below. Vowels as in Spanish;
p.t.ctz.ch + following puff of air.


H


tzu .c

DZ "

CH I


CH'


L --4
la le

M GQCiiD


na ni

U 9m
Wa


I S S -'- - 4
I' I






-THE MAYA
Z The ANCIENT MAYA of lowland
- Mexico, Guatemala, & Belize pro-
t duced one of the world's most
V brilliant civilizations from about
"o 150-1530 A.D. The height of splen-
f .0 dour came in the southern area
aU f from 300-900 A.D., when cities
S< .like Palenque, Yaxchildn, Tikal and
A AP 1 Copdn impressive still today a
S1,000 years after their unexplained
3- i / abandonment flourished. The hey-
-"' f L day of the northern cities of Yucatan
was ca.700-1400 A.D. The ultimate
i decline began only with the Spanish
Conquest of the mid-1500's, and
the last outpost, the island city of
-,- only in 1697.

SThe intellectual achievements of this
S" "o DURAS remarkable people are particularly
?.. .. ( \ evident in their written documents -
on stone, pottery, and paper books.
Most of the latter were purposely destroyed by the invading Spanish, a mere 4
books surviving the holocaust. Fortunately, hundreds of public monuments in stone,
stelae, survived largely intact in the ruins of the jungled cities. From these we
have gained considerable insight into the times and their leaders. We can now
understand about 75% of the hieroglyphs, and while the full field of decipherment
is, of course,beyond the scope of this brief account, its task is to help you to-
ward the enjoyment of the great Maya sites by providing you with a few rudiments.


S1986. J.GRANBERRY,Box 398,Horseshoe Beach,FL32648 USA.




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs