Sunday, September 5, 2010

Maya Glyph Blog 2010, No. 3: Tikal - The Preliminary Early Tikal (El Petén, Guatemala) Maya Syllabary (Updated October 17, 2010)
The third installment at Maya Glyph Blog presents the Preliminary Early Tikal Maya Syllabary. For introductory remarks on syllabaries, see Maya Glyph Blog 2010, No. 1.
The Preliminary Early Tikal Maya Syllabary is based on the hieroglyphic texts composed between circa A.D. 300 - A.D. 550. In this time period for instance monuments now known as Tikal Stela 1, 3, 29, 31, and 39 were erected, the Hombre de Tikal statuette and the Tikal Marcador were carved, as well as a number of ceramics were produced. The examples of the hieroglyphic signs in the syllabary in large measure are derived from these particular texts. A first version of the Preliminary Early Tikal Maya Syllabary was prepared for the Maya Meetings in Antigua this year, but I could not travel to Guatemala due to insufficient funds (bummer!).

The syllabary for Early Tikal is not completely filled in. This is due to the fact that the various monuments from this time period have not survived in perfect condition and not all subject matters are covered in the texts that are available. The Preliminary Early Tikal Maya Syllabary has been prepared by digitally cutting and pasting single glyph signs from the black-and-white line drawings of the monumental inscriptions prepared by the Tikal Archaeological project, directed by William R. Coe (1990, Tikal Report 14, "Excavations in the Great Plaza, North Terrace, and North Acropolis of Tikal", University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) as well as several other publications illustrating other monuments and hieroglyphic texts from early Tikal (e.g., Hombre de Tikal, Marcador).
This syllabary follows the lay-out of the other syllabaries (see Coe & Van Stone [CVS], Chichen Itza [CHN], Xcalumkin [XLM]) and consists of four parts. Each of the four parts of this syllabary is accompanied by an annotated list of the Classic Maya epigraphic syllable inventory. As with the Chichen Itza and Xcalumkin syllabary, I present these preliminary notes to assist in the identification of all syllabic signs included in the Early Tikal syllabic grid.

Abbreviations used
CAY = El Cayo
CHN = Chichen Itza
CVS = Coe & Van Stone (referring to the syllabary)
T+number = refers to a sign from the 1962 Thompson catalog
TIK = Tikal
XLM = Xcalumkin
YAX = Yaxchilan

The Preliminary Early Tikal Maya Syllabary, Part 3: 'a-hu
(This part of the syllabary has been extended and corrected on October 17, 2010, including the above illustration)
NB: I prefer to open the "vowel signs" with a glottal stop, /'/ (in contrast to some epigraphers and the original Coe & Van Stone syllabary)
'a - A most common variant for 'a in Early Tikal is 'a1, and its horizontally inverted variant 'a2. Note that the internal u-shaped element can point upwards or downwards (and does not change value of the sign). 'a3 is used in spellings as 'a-'AN and [K'AN]'a-si-ya
'e - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for 'e
'i - 'i1 and 'i2 are common variants for the syllabic sign T679 'i (compare CVS 'i1)
'o - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for 'o
'u - 'u1, 'u2, and 'u4 are clearly variants of one of the most common sign for 'u (see CVS 'u1, 'u11). 'u3 is an allograph appearing a couple of time in early texts at Tikal, depicting some kind of vessel (the vessel can be found inverted as well, but not at Tikal). 'u5 is a graphic variation of CVS 'u3 and 'u8, while at Early Tikal 'u6 and 'u7 are a continuation of one of the earliest allographs for 'u (see Boot 2006, "Early Maya Writing on an Unprovenanced Monument: The Antwerp Museum Stela," Figure 10)

ba - At present I have been able to identify only two examples of T501 ba at Early Tikal. ba1 occurs in a compound possibly spelling CHAK-ka-[ba]KAN-ya (see Boot 2009, "The Updated Preliminary Classic Maya-English, English-Classic Maya Vocabulary of Hieroglyphic Readings," p. 46). Intriguingly, this syllabic sign ba is placed with an oval cartouche reminiscent of the day sign cartouche. In rare instances common hieroglyphc signs that are used to spell day names, and which have common syllabic or logographic values, are employed in non-calendrical contexts within part of or a complete day sign cartouche, e.g. HIX in 'IX-HIX wi-[tzi]'AJAW (YAX Lintel 17), HIX in 'IX-HIX wi-tzi-'AJAW (YAX Lintel 43 - full day sign cartouche for HIX), 'AJAW in 'AJAW-wa (CAY Lintel 1), the ba in BAH-ka-ba (K3844). While for a long time the day sign cartouche has been taken to be a semantic marker to distinguish day signs from any other sign, I would add that actually also context, that is calendrical context, ultimately establishes its operation to identify the inner sign or sign compound as a day name. Otherwise the sign for ba within a day sign cartouche can not explained (as this particular sign is used for the day name Imix; there is at present no evidence that that first day of the Maya calendar was known as ba or bah). ba2 is the same sign for ba as in ba1, but without the day sign cartouche
be - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for be
bi - One sign, T585, for bi has been identified at Early Tikal, but in two slightly different graphic variations, bi1 and bi2
bo - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for bo
bu - bu1 and bu2 are both found in the same text on Tikal Stela 31. However, bu2 is a bu1 "written incorrectly." Both occur in spellings 'u-[TZ'AK]bu-ji, but at one point the scribe forgot to add the small circular elements to the scroll to distinguish bu from mu (bu is a digraph; the mu & bu signs do get confused more often in Maya writing; note for example a spelling 'u-te-bu which should have been 'u-te-mu to identify the bench, tem, on which it is written at Calakmul; see Boot 2010, "You're Stuck With How You Wrote It: Mistakes, Lapses, and Glitches in Maya Script," paper presented in May 2010, University of Zürich/Bibliothek Werner Oechslin, Einsiedeln, Switserland, in press)

cha - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for cha (but see probable Early TIK se)
che - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for che
chi - Two graphic variations for the hand sign chi; note that there is a small space between thumb and forefinger in chi1, which is absent in chi2
cho - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for cho
chu - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for chu

ch'a - Two possible variants for ch'a; ch'a1 is a variant of the common sign (compare CVS ch'a3), but with three elements. ch'a2 does lack a characteristic of ch'a signs, namely the small curls/scrolls on top. It is found placed on the forehead of a fox-like head, which may invoke, albeit very tentative, a spelling ch'a-CH'AMAK > ch'amak "fox" (see TIK Marcador, H3)
ch'e - No text at Early Tikal or the Maya area in general has yet been identified that includes a sign for ch'e (but in 2006 Yuri Polyukhovich circulated a manuscript in which he tentatively identified a ch'e sign in a Tonina inscription; this proposal is under review)
ch'i - No text at Early Tikal or the Maya area in general has yet been identified that includes a sign for ch'i (but I should note that some epigraphers are considering T77 [T72, T76, T81] and variants, a possible k'i syllable, as a ch'i syllable)
ch'o - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for ch'o
ch'u - No text at Early Tikal or the Maya area in general has yet been identified that includes a sign for ch'u

ha - The one allograph for ha recorded at Early Tikal (in a collocation ha['i]; the 'i sign would have occupied the center open space)
he - This is the Early Classic graphic representation of the sign for he, which has a shell-like shape much different from the more oval shape of the later variations (compare CVS he)
hi - The full form of the common hi sign (compare CVS hi2)
ho - At present the single example of the syllabic sign for ho, part of a spelling [ho]ma (probably a partial survival of ch'a-[ho]ma)
hu - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for hu

The Preliminary Early Tikal Maya Syllabary, Part 3: ja-mu
(This part of the syllabary has been extended and corrected on September 19, 2010, including the above illustration)
ja - ja1, ja2, and ja3 are all used in final (postfix) position, while ja4 is used as prefix. All four ja signs are graphic variations of the common T181 ja sign (compare CVS ja2). As can be seen, in these graphic variations the absence or presence of the small circular elements (2, 3, or 4) is not diacritic
je - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for je
ji - ji1 and ji2 are graphic variations of the common sign for ji (compare CVS ji1); ji3 and ji4 are graphic variations of the other common sign for ji (compare CVC ji2). The amount of u-shaped elements in those last signs can greatly vary, from 2 to 7 (as in Early TIK ji4). Depending on context, the ji3 and ji4 signs can even be abbreviated to one single u-shaped element (in a collocation ch'a-ji-lu on many small mold-made disk-shaped bottles, e.g. K5810; not found at Tikal)
jo - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for jo
ju - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for ju

ka - ka2 and ka3 depict the complete fish (ka derived by way of acrophony from kay "fish"), while ka1, through the principle of pars pro toto, just depicts the fish fin
ke - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for ke
ki - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for ki
ko - The common sign T110 for ko (compare CVS ko1), in two variants. ko1 has two cross-hatched bars, while ko2 has three
ku - The common sign T528 for ku (compare CVS ku1)

k'a - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for k'a
k'e - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for k'e
k'i - k'i1 and k'i2 are the two graphic variations of the T77 "wing" sign for k'i in Tikal's early monumental art (both Stela 31), while k'i3 is found employed in a text on a ceramic vessel (MT9, part of Problematic Deposit 22). k'i3 has "double wings," a possible hint to its iconic origin, k'iy "spread out (wings)," as suggested by David Stuart. As noted at other occasions, there are some epigraphers who are investigating the possibility that this sign represents the value ch'i (both proposals are under review and not yet definitive), as such the query
k'o - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for k'o
k'u - The Early Classic form of the bird's nest with eggs (k'u' "nest") for k'u (compare CVS k'u2)

la - Also in the Early Tikal texts there is a wealth of graphic variation in the signs for la. la1, la3, and la4 just represent minimum graphic variation, while la2 is simply a reduction of la1 to one element. la5 is a variation in that the scribe has added two small circular elements in the middle of the sign (compare CVS la2, XLM la5)
le - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for le
li - All three signs are commonly employed for li. li3 clearly has the typical Early Classic additional curl, which is lost in li1 and li2
lo - The common T580 sign for lo
lu - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for lu

ma - ma1 would have the full version of ma (compare XLM ma1, CVS ma3), where it not that the central element was superimposed with another sign compound. ma2 is a nearly complete versions of ma, but missing the bottom part. ma3 is an abbreviated version of ma2 due to overlap, while ma4 is just the bottom part of the full version of ma
me - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for me
mi - A graphic variation of the common sign for mi (employed in the "zero" position in the Long Count; mi > mi[h] "nothing")
mo - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for mo (the Burial 48 mural from Early Tikal contains a glyphic compound in which a T533 sign is placed with a circle of dots, the shape of a mo sign; possibly this is a mo [but, alternatively, I propose here, this T533 sign is infixed into T583 JAN, which also has a circumference of dots], and if confirmed in further epigraphic research, it will be added to this Early Tikal Maya Syllabary, which is still in a preliminary state)
mu - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for mu

The Preliminary Early Tikal Maya Syllabary, Part 3: na-t'u

na - All graphic variations of na at Early Tikal use the same outer shape, but are internally differentiated. na1, na2, and na3 have one or multiple diagonal lines of dots, much like XLM na1-na3. na4 has short upright lines (possibly hinting at a vegetal iconic origin) and na5 has no internal definition at all
ne - One sign for ne has been employed at Early Tikal, a natural representation of a (jaguar's) tail
ni - Two very different graphic variations of T116 ni; while ni1 is full and exhuberant (carved on Stela 26), ni2 is light and playful (incised on the Hombre de Tikal)
no - Two early graphic variations of the sign for no (compare CVS no), in which it becomes clear that rotation (in this case 90 degrees) does not have an influence on the value of the sign
nu - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for nu

pa - pa1 is the cephalomorphic or head-shaped variant, while pa2 is a local variation of the common pa sign (compare CVS pa1)
pe - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for pe
pi - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for pi
po - The Early Tikal version of the sign for po (compare CVS po2), as employed on a ceramic from Burial 160
pu - The common sign for pu

p'a - No text at Early Tikal (or the Maya area in general) has yet been identified that includes a sign for p'a
p'e - No text at Early Tikal (or the Maya area in general) has yet been identified that includes a sign for p'e
p'i - No text at Early Tikal (or the Maya area in general) has yet been identified that includes a sign for p'i
p'o - No text at Early Tikal (or the Maya area in general) has yet been identified that includes a sign for p'o
p'u - No text at Early Tikal (or the Maya area in general) has yet been identified that includes a sign for p'u

sa - This sign for sa is possibly a very abbreviated version of the well-known sa sign (compare CVS sa1, sa2); it appears as such in a spelling ko-sa-ka for kosca[t] "jewel," a Nahuat word as recorded in the text of Tikal Stela 31 and identified first by David Stuart (see Boot 2010, "Loanwords, Foreign Words, and Foreign Signs in Maya Writing," in The Idea of Writing, edited by De Voogt & Finkel. Brill, the Netherlands). I do not consider MVS sa5 a syllabic sign, but a logographic sign SA' (compare Tokovinine & Fialko, 2007, "Stela 45 of Naranjo and the Early Classic Lords of Sa’aal," The PARI Journal, 7[4], note 1), as such the example of this sign found on Tikal MT3 is not included in the syllabary. To me the iconic origin of T278/285:553 SA' can be found in the depiction of a ceramic vessel marked by crossed-bands and over the rim the foam of frotty atole oozes out (compare K0689 to K8008 and to K1387)
se - One probable sign for se, rotation by 90 degrees does not alter the value of the sign (same context on Tikal Stela 31, which remains opaque: ka-k'i?-se?-wa or ka-se?-k'i?-wa, spelling perhaps a foreign word). The query is added as this identification is still tentative and under review. This sign may represent the value cha, but early forms of that very similar sign have small scrolls on top (see the spelling cha-TAN-WINIK on Kerr 1285, an Early Classic vessel)
si - A slightly eroded version of si (compare CVS si1), employed in a(n abbreviated) spelling K'AN-'a-si for the month K'anasiy
so - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for so
su - The sign for su, employed in a spelling ma-su-la

ta - There is a large graphic variation in the representation of the sign T51/53 for ta. ta1-ta5 all are variations of this sign. ta5 is the full form, ta4 is the most abbreviated form (due to overlap). ta6 is the Early Tikal representation of T565 ta
te - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for te
ti - The Early Tikal variant of T59 ti. Rotation in ti1 to ti2 does not alter the value, rotation like this is most commonly dependent on individual scribal text composition
to - The common T45 sign for to
tu - tu1 is the Early Tikal variant of T91 tu (no cross-hatching); tu2 is the Early Tikal variant of T90 tu (with cross-hatching)

t'a - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for t'a
t'e - No text at Early Tikal (or the Maya area in general) has yet been identified that includes a sign for t'e
t'i - No text at Early Tikal (or the Maya area in general) has yet been identified that includes a sign for t'i
t'o - The probable T174 variant for t'o (still under review) (several different sign combinations [digraphs] include T174 and only in combination may have a certain syllabic or logographic value; the sign proposed to represent the value t'o is T174 placed upon a shell-like sign, and a common word in Mayan languages for shell is t'oot' [compare Kaufman 2003, "A Preliminary Maya Etymological Dictionary," FAMSI Report, p. 656, entry pM *t'oot', snail/shell, caracol de mar/caracol de tierra/concha], possibly hinting at the tentative t'o value for this digraph). As such the query below the T174 sign (as it may have been combined with another sign, or is used independently)
t'u - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for t'u

The Preliminary Early Tikal Maya Syllabary, Part 4: tza-yu

tza - The common sign for tza, as found in a ceramic text
tze - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for tze
tzi - tzi1 may be the abbreviated version of tzi2, the main part of which is not represented due to sign overlap (infixing/superposition)
tzo - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for tzi
tzu - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for tzu

tz'a - Three graphic variations of the common sign for tz'a, in typical Early Classic rendering
tz'e - The possible sign for tz'e, as proposed by David Stuart (2002, "Glyphs for “Right” and “Left”?")
tz'i - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for tz'i
tz'o - The possible sign for tz'o (still under review)
tz'u - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for tz'u

wa - Three graphic variations of the common T130 sign for wa
we - No text at Early Tikal (or the Maya area in general) has yet been identified that includes a sign for we
wi - Three slightly different graphic variations of the common T117 sign for wi
wo - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for wo
wu - No text at Early Tikal (or in the Maya area in general) has yet been identified that includes a sign for wu (but a sign graphically close to T285 and most commonly employed as superfix may be a candidate for either wu or hu in collocations as wu?/hu?-EYE; however, more recent epigraphic research by several epigraphers, the present author included, in August-September 2010, may lead to an alternative solution)

xa - Early Classic variant of xa (Tikal MT 9), which, unfortunately, only partially survived (bottom element missing [same as top element])
xe - No text at Early Tikal (or in the Maya area in general) has yet been identified that includes a sign for xe
xi - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for xi
xo - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for xo
xu - No text at Early Tikal has yet been identified that includes a sign for xu

ya - Three typical Early Classic variations of the T126 sign for ya
ye - A very clear rendering of the hand sign for ye
yi - Two graphic variations of the T17 sign for yi
yo - Two graphic variations of the T115 sign for yo; yo2 has additional leaf veins, suggestive of the fact that the sign was derived from yop "leaf." T115 may have started out as YOP, and only later it became acrophonically reduced to yo (certain contexts are suggestive of the fact that T115 as YOP and yo remained productive throughout the Classic period). yo1 was produced at the beginning of the sixth century, yo2 was produced at the end of the fourth century
yu - yu1 is an abbreviated version of yu2, due to sign compounding during text composition within limited space (example from Stela 31)
First edit: September 1. Posted: September 9, 2010. Edited: September 13 & 18, 2010. Latest edit, with corrections (including two changes in the illustrated syllabary): October 17, 2010

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