Fall 2000

LING 565: Native Mesoamerican Writing

Weds and Friday 10:30-11:20

418 Blake

Instructor: Clifton Pye (pyersqr@ukans.edu)

Office Hours MF 1:30-2:30 or by appointment

This course will provide students with an introduction to the hieroglyphic writing systems of Mesoamerica. The class will cover the history of writing, the history of Mayan hieroglyphic decipherment, linguistic approaches to decipherment, and the history and decipherment of Mayan hieroglyphic writing. This semester's course will focus on reading the Mayan codices. There are only four codices that are known to exist today: the Dresden, the Madrid, the Paris, and the Grolier. We will devote most of the course to reading the Dresden and Madrid codices since they are the most complete. I will introduce students to the structure of the Mayan languages. Most of the class time will be devoted to reading the codices. Students will be asked to prepare a decipherment of different pages for presentation in class with the help of the instructor. The course grade will be based on a term paper that investigates some aspect of Mesoamerican hieroglyphic writing. This paper might offer a decipherment of a hieroglyphic text or discuss stylistic or linguistic features of texts connected to specific sites or regions in Mesoamerica.

Course textbooks:

John F. Harris & Stephen K. Stearns. 1997. Understanding Maya Inscriptions. Philadelphia: The University of   Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. (ISBN 0-924171-41-3)

Bruce Love. 1994. The Paris Codex: Handbook for a Maya Priest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. (ISBN 0-292-74674-1)

Date Reading Assignment
Aug. 25 Introduction to Mayan culture
Aug. 30 Deciphering Ancient Scripts Chap 1
Sept. 6 Mayan Calendrics Chap 2
Sept. 13 Mayan Almanacs Chap 2
Sept. 20 Introduction to the Mayan languages Chap 5
Oct. 4 Mayan Hieroglyphic Writing Chap 3
Oct. 11 Classic Mayan glyphs Chap 4
Oct. 25 Mayan cosmology Chap 8
Nov. 1 The Dresden Codex
Nov. 29 The Madrid Codex
Dec. 6 Project Presentations

Links to Web-Based Resources on Mesoamerican Writing

Hun Chuwen Kajlajuj Yax, a KU Mayan Hieroglyphic Society

Project for the Documentation of the Languages of Mesoamerica

Mayan Hieroglyphs

The Mayan Epigraphic Database Project

Mesoamerican Resource Page

Mesoamerican Languages

Campbell, L. & T. Kaufman. 1976. A Linguistic Look at the Olmecs. American Antiquity 41.80-89.

Campbell, L. with P. Ventur, R. Stewart & B. Gardner. 1978. Bibliography of Mayan Languages and Linguistics. Albany, NY: Institute for MesoAmerican Studies.

Craig, C. G. 1977. Jacaltec: The Structure of Jacaltec. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Dayley, J. P. 1985. Tzutujil Grammar. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

England, N. (ed.). 1978. Papers in Mayan Linguistics. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Miscellaneous Publications in Anthropology Number Six.

England, N. 1983. A Grammar of Mam, a Mayan Language. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

England, N. & S. R. Elliott (eds.). 1990. Lecturas Sobre la Lingüistica Maya. Guatemala: Centro de Investigaciones Regionales de Mesoamérica.

Kaufman, T. 1971. Areal Linguistics and Middle America. Current Trends in Linguistics 11.459-483.

Kaufman, T. 1971. Tzeltal Phonology and Morphology. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Kaufman, T. 1974. Idiomas de Mesoamérica. Guatemala: Editorial Jose de Pineda Ibarra.

Mondloch, J. L. & E. P. Hruska. 1975. Basic Quiché Grammar. Guatemala: Centro Indigena. Suárez, J. A. 1983. The Mesoamerican Indian Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Suárez, J. A. 1983. The Mesoamerican Indian Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mesoamerican Hieroglyphic Writing

Hanks, W. F. & D. S. Rice (eds.). 1989. Word and Image in Maya Culture: Explorations in Language, Writing and Representation. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.

Houston, S. D. 1989. Reading the Past: Maya Glyphs. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Justeson, J. S. & T. Kaufman. 1993. A Decipherment of Epi-Olmec Hieroglyphic Writing. Science 259.1703-1711.

Kelly, D. 1976. Deciphering the Maya Script. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Schele, L. 1982. Maya Glyphs: The Verbs. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Schele, L. & N. Grube. Notebooks for the Maya Hieroglyphic Workshop. Austin: The University of Texas Press.

Stuart, D. & S. D. Houston. 1989. Maya Writing. Scientific American, August.

Thompson, J. E. S. 1962. A Catalog of Maya Hieroglyphs. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.

Mayan References

Coe, M. D. 1994. Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs (4th ed.). New York: Thames and Hudson.

Coe, M. D. 1995. The Olmec World: Ritual and Rulership. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Coe, M. D. 1999. The Maya (6th ed.). New York: Thames and Hudson.

Edmonson, Munro S. 1982. The Ancient Future of the Itza: The Book of Chilam Balam of Tizimin. Translated and annotated by Munro S. Edmonson. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Freidel, D. A., L. Schele & J. Parker. 1993. Maya Cosmos: Three Thousand Years on the Shaman's Path. New York: W. Morrow.

Proskouriakoff, Tatiana. 1952. The Survival of the Maya Tun Count in Colonial Times: Notes on Pages 124-131 of the Codex Pérez and Pages 124-125 of the Kaua. Notes on Middle American Archaeology and Ethnology, no. 112. Cambridge, MA: Carnegie Institution of Washington, Department of Archaeology.

Roys, Ralph L. 1933. The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel. Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication 436. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Roys, Ralph L. 1949. The Prophecies for the Maya Tuns or Years in the Books of Chilam Balam of Tizimin and Mani. Contributions to American Anthropology and History, no. 51. Publication 585. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Schele, L. & D. A. Freidel. 1990. A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya. New York: Morrow.

Schele, L. & P. Mathews. 1998. The Code of Kings: The Language of Seven Sacred Maya Temples and Tombs. New York: Scribner.

Schele, L., M. E. Miller, J. Kerr & Kimbell Art Museum. 1986. The Blood of Kings: Dynasty and Ritual in Maya Art. New York: Kimbell Art Museum.

Taube, Karl. 1992. The Major Gods of Ancient Yucatan. Studies in Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology, no. 32. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks.

Tedlock, B. 1982. Time and the Highland Maya. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.

Tedlock, D. 1993. Breath on the Mirror: Mythic Voices and Visions of the Living Maya. San Francisco: Harper.

Tozzer, Alfred M. 1941. Landa's Relación de las Cosas de Yucatán. Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, vol. 18. Cambridge: Peabody Museum.

Mayan Codices

Davoust, Michel. 1997. Un Nouveau Commentaire du Codex de Dresde. Paris: CNRS Éditions.

Knorozov, Yuri V. 1967. Selected Chapters from The Writing of the Maya Indians. (Translated by Sophie Coe.) Cambridge, MA: The Peabody Museum.

Lee, Thomas A., Jr. 1985. Los Códices Mayas. Tuxtla Gutiérrez, México: Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas.

Love, Bruce. 1994. The Paris Codex: Handbook for a Maya Priest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Thompson, J. Eric S. 1972. A Commentary on the Dresdan Codex: A Maya Hieroglyphic Book. Memoirs, vol. 93. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society.

Mayan Dictionaries

Aulie, H. Wilbur and Evelyn W. de Aulie. 1978. Diccionario Ch'ol-Espanol Espanol-Ch'ol. Serie de Vocabularios y Diccionarios Indigenas "Mariano Silva y Aceves," No. 21. Mexico City: Instituto Linguistico de Verano.

Barrera Vásquez, Alfredo, Juan Ramón Bastarrachea Manzano, William Brito Sansores, Refugio Vermont Salas, David Dzul Góngora and Domingo Dzul Poot (editors). 1980. Diccionario maya Cordemex: maya-español, español-maya. Ediciones Cordemex, Mérida, Yucatán.

Bricker, Victoria, Eleuterio Poot Yah and Ofelia Dzul de Poot. 1998. A Dictionary of the Maya Language As Spoken in Hocabá, Yucatán. Salt Lake City, UT: The University of Utah Press.

Edmonson, Munro S. 1965. Quiche-English Dictionary. New Orleans: Middle American Research Institute, Tulane University, Publication 30.

Laughlin, Robert M. 1975. The Great Tzotzil Dictionary of San Lorenzo Zinacantán. Smithsonian Institution Contributions to Anthropology 19, Washington, D.C.

Martínez Hernández, Juan. 1929. Diccionario de Motul, Maya-Español, atribuido a fray Antonio de Ciudad Real, y arte de lengua Maya por fray Juan Coronel. Mérida: Compañía Tipográfica Yucateca.

Moran, Francisco. 1935. Arte y Diccionario en Lengua Cholti. Baltimore: The Maya Society, Publication 9.

Pérez, Juan Pío. 1866-77. Diccionario de la lengua maya. Imprenta Literaria de Juan F. Molina Solís, Mérida, Yucatán.