CENTRO DE ESTUDIOS MAYAS
YURI KNOROSOV

   

 

 

 
Home Who
We Are
Atlas Epigraphic News & Events
Publications & Projects
Photos & Videos Links Contact
 
   

MAYAN CULTURE

 

The Mayanare just one ofthe manycultures that developedin the region knownas Mesoamerica, ranging from northernMexicotoCosta Rica. TheMaya areacoversstrictlythe territories ofGuatemalaand Belize, the western part ofHonduras, andthe Mexican states ofChiapas, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Yucatan andTabasco.
 
 

MAYAWRITING

 
TheMaya writing systemis a mixed system. Itconsistsbasicallyof two types ofsigns: logogramsandsyllabograms. Logogramsare signsthat representan entire word, iehave meaningby themselves, while syllabogramsthey are merely aconsonant-vowel combination, resulting ina phoneme. As a rule, epigrapherssyllableswrittenin lower case, while thelogogramsare written withcapital letters,both withbold.
 
 
 
 
 
We now know thatthe languageembodied in theMaya hieroglyphic inscriptionsof the classical period(250-900 a. C.), representsan extinct languagewithlinguistic affiliationwithEasternch'olanoslanguages,known as classical orMayanhieroglyphicsch'olano.
 
 

The decoding of Hieroglyphic

 
Themanuscript entitled"Relation of the Things ofYucatán" written by BishopFrayDiego deLanda, containsa section onMayan writing, in one ofthese pages, Landarepresented whathe thoughtwereMayanalphabetic characters. It was thanks tothis"Landaalphabet", applied by researchersasYuriKnorosov, of Russian origin, achieved decipherhieroglyphic writing, understood as aphoneticwriting system.
 
 
 

YURI KNOROZOV ANDTHE DECODINGOFHIEROGLYPHIC(1958)

 
 
The method used byYuriKnorozovwas to studydifferent writing
systemsanddeciphered.Based onsharedfeaturesbetween them,and the numberof signsused byeach system,whichraisedKnorozovMayan writingconsistedlogogramasandphonetic symbols.Roughlysimilar to the systemappeared to beJapanesescriptural.
 
 
 
Knorozovbeganto testtheir ideasby using theLandaalphabet, as if it hadformed at leastin part, bysyllablesinstead ofalphabetic signs(KettunenandHelmke2010: 12).
 
 
 
Knorozov(The Problem of theStudyof the MayaHieroglyphic Writing, 1958),appliedseveral ofthe signs ofLandadirectly withtheir counterparts inthe codices.So, he realized that the signfor thecude Landaappearedrecurrentlyon the figure ofa turkey, followed by a signwhose readingwas unknownand assumedthat bothglyphsreferred to theanimal representedbelow them.
 
 
CheckinginYucatecMayandictionaries, Knorozovnoted that the wordforturkeywaskutz(cutzon theold spelling, which was the one usedKnorozov), deducing thatthe first signrepresentedthe syllablecufound inLanda's alphabet, while the secondshouldbe read asthe syllabletzu,assumingalso that thelast vowelshould be deleted, since mostofthe Mayan wordsendingin a consonant.
 
 
In order to testthe phonetic valuetzu, proposed for the second sign, hieroglyphicKnorosovsoughtanother positionto beginwiththissign, finding an imagedepicting adog(tzulinYucatec), inferring thatrepresentedsignsshouldreadtzu-lu,andchecking itwith theLandaalphabet, where thesignKnorosovattributedthe phonetic value ofmo, represents the letter "L".
 

 

 
YURI KNOROSOV

Meet the father of the decipherment of Mayan writing.

ABOUT CEMYK

Yuri Knorosov Mayan Studies Center

OUR WORK

It is directed by renowned Russian anthropologist Dr. Galina Ershova.

LATEST NEWS

.DID YOU KNOW?

There are indecipherable writings, any writing system produced by man can be read by man.

Yuri Knorosov

SITE MAP

- Home
- Who We Are
- Mayan Culture
- News & Events
- Publications & Projects
- Photos & Videos
- Links
- Contact

 

 

Copyright © Centro de Estudios Mayas Yuri Knorosov. All rights reserved. Guatemala, Central America