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THE MAYA LINGUISTIC MYTHOLOGY

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Linguists have to realize language is a living mental organism. It does not have chromosomes and it does not have any biological genetic history. But it has a phylogenetic history. The main engine that creates and develops language is the specific
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  1  2 THE M Y LINGUISTIC MYTHOLOGY WORK IN PROGRESS CRITIC L NOTES I have been working on many languages in my long life, and I learned the language of my passport at the age of six at school. I still use my old creolized version of Occitan when I am “home” and I left that home definitely in 1976, but I went there a couple of times for short visits or a vacation. I crashed Pali in two weeks, the basics, in Sri Lanka in 2005 to be able to read the Dhammapada since I discovered when I arrived in Sigiriya that I was supposed to teach the English of Buddhism to young Buddhist monks in Pidurangala Monastery. I have been working on the emergence of Homo Sapiens in Black Africa and then their migrations out of Black Africa starting with their first migration to Northern Africa, mainly. And then the other migrations out of Black Africa to the whole world, which is slightly more than what Homo Erectus did in his own days. And I followed the phylogenetic emergence of human articulated language and came to the idea that the three vast migrations out of Black Africa correspond to the three vast families of languages based respectively on the first articulation first, on the second articulation second, and on the third articulation third. That led me to the idea that Cro-Magnon spoke a Turkic language that is today surviving in Basque. Theo Vennemann came to that idea first though I worked on Basque with my first Research Director Jacques Teyssier in 1973, before leaving to go to Davis, California. The mystery of the arrival of Homo Sapiens in the Americas led me to enter the field of South America and there I found a vast, rich, and ancient civilization based on stone, carving and cutting stones, and building monumental structures with stone. And the same way as Cro-Magnon and many others in all continents painted, carved and decorated their caves, and probably many other surfaces and materials with drawings and geometric forms whose meaning we ignore still completely because Deep Learning has not yet been used on these symbols, the Maya, before them the Toltec, after them the Incas and the Aztec and many other groups still not acknowledged, have painted, carved their stone constructions and developed, in what I consider must have been a good 5,000 years (BCE), a writing system that is still mysterious. My hypothesis is that the people followed the same route as culture and language that developed along the way. Now it has been proved cacao had been developed in Bolivia at least 3,000 years before it was certified among the Mayas, the migration of the people and their culture came from the south. I am a phylogenic linguist and have always worked on old languages like Old Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse and a few more in the Germanic field, not to mention Sanskrit and Indo-European. I state from the start that we cannot go back and as Darwin proved with his theory of evolution, we cannot reconstruct the past from the present we can only follow the same route as our ancestors and reconstruct the present from the past. We have to start with the need to communicate among Hominins, then what it became with Homo Sapiens who found himself, due to mutations that were selected for him to become a long-distance fast bipedal runner in the savanna when he came out of the primeval forest; who inherited from his Hominin ancestors some already developed first articulation enabling a larger lexicon than just nine to twelve calls like apes before them; who, from this first articulation founded on the rotation of consonants and vowels, was able to do a lot more because of the mutations I have just said that amplified the larynx, multiplied the flexibility of the subglottal zone and the articulatory apparatus, plus the deep sinuses. Then Homo Sapiens developed the second and then the third articulations. At each stage migrations happened and we thus have the three vast families of languages based on the phylogenic evolution of man’s speaking capability and of a language based on vowels and consonants, then on spatial and temporal categorizations, then on syntactic functions, the whole architecture being the result of the projection of the basic communicational situation into the linguistic means we are speaking of. The matrix of our syntax is always the basic communicational situation.  3 Maya became then a new challenge because the old writing system was all but srcinally arbitrary, like the Sumerian Cuneiform writing system. It was phylogenetically both representational and phonological (based on a syllabary, the simplest form of the first articulation, based on the rotation of vowels and consonants) symbolism. This written language, being integrated into vast paintings and sculptures, is quite obvious even the most realistic glyphs are symbolical of the meaning, and of the sounds going along with their referential meaning. I can even say that we will be able to understand the written language of Cro-Magnon when we are able to accept the simple idea that the geometric forms are symbolical of words and referents and that the realistic paintings are part of the symbolic process. So far, the paintings are on one side and the symbols on the other. Maya tells us that it is false: first of all these symbolical representations are based on a story, a language, communication, and the language itself when written finds its meaning in the rich, deep and extremely composite symbolical architecture of this written language that the transliteration of the last six or maybe seven centuries has brutally rejected. Only Marshall McLuhan has properly shown how writing is a tremendous loss on the basis of a phenomenal gain. My idea then is that, if we want to fully enjoy the old Maya writing system, we have to get Deep Learning into the picture and identify all the recurrent symbolical elements that are used to build first the simple glyphs and then the composite glyphs, just like the strokes of the Chinese characters.  You will find in the seventy-odd pages below the review of a few books, including one on Celtic henges in Europe (starting in Gobekli Tepe in Turkey) that brings me to the idea that we have two human architectures, one based on circles, one based on squares, both targeting elevation, hence standing stones on circles and pyramids on squares. The two are not reciprocally exclusive, but they can work together. My idea is that the architecture of Maya written language is pyramidal, whereas oral language is always continuous, hence circular. This is the central working hypothesis of the third volume of my research on “ The Language of Cro- Magnon  .” The first volume was published as a Kindle book a couple of years ago. The second volume is ready to be laid out for publication, but this work will take some time still, and the third volume is how cultures evolve phylogenetically from one to the other, always in that descending temporal direction (even if borrowing may at times twist the connections). And that’s the only way to understand the link in Maya old culture and writing system of the number three and the concept of blood sacrifice, self-sacrifice as well as human-sacrifice. And that should make us think because the trinity of the Christians is the recuperation of the ternary pattern from “pagan” religions and the third character is the son (God and his Spirit are in the first verse of Genesis) and it is a blood sacrifice, both self-sacrifice for the Christians, and human-sacrifice for the Romans and I could add the High Priest of the Temple of Jerusalem.  Just enjoy the seventy-odd pages. Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU T BLE OF CONTENTS 1 LINDA SCHELE MARY ALLEN MILLER 3- WOODEN BOOKS EIGHT DIFFERENT AUTHORS) GLASTONBURY, UK MEGALITH STUDIES IN STONE 2018 5 BIBLIOGRAPHY   6- APPENDIX –  ANDREA STONE & MARC ZENDER –  READING MAYA ART, A HIEROGLYPHIC GUIDE TO ANCIENT MAYA PAINTING AND SCULPTURE –  2011  4 LINDA SCHELE MARY ALLEN MILLER This exhibition catalog is a turning point in Maya revival, in fact, the second turning point. The first one was the new method to decipher Maya writing as a syllabic phonetic system. The glyphs could, of course, have hieroglyphic values but most of them also had purely syllabic phonetic values. That was in the USSR (Yuri Valentinovich Knorosov) in the early 1950s. It will reach the USA in the early 1960s (Tatania Proskouriakoff) but will encounter the absolute warlike hostility of Sir Eric Thompson who considered Maya writing not as writing but as pure art, in other words, decoration. Sir Eric Thompson died in the early 1970s and rebels in the USA could finally work without any institutionalized hostility. We are here in this book ten years after and it shows tremendously. Of course, we cannot criticize what they could not know in 1986 because it had not been yet discovered or deciphered. But we can and must clearly say that in 1986 Maya research was still not as advanced as it should have been because Sir Eric Thompson imposed dictatorial management in the field in the USA and in the UK. I am going to follow the book and bring up the most important questions that are for some of them still questions, and I will do it in the most modern possible way: I will look at it with more than forty years of research since its publication. I will also look at it fr  om a linguist’s point of view and I will try now and then to give the important analysis of the glyphs themselves. I will speak of the language with the glyphs. The book gives a lot of these glyphs and quite a good number of written contributions in the various works of art studied here. These works of art are only reliefs, ceramics, and pots, hence carving and painting on various durable media, excluding books because only four of the many thousand books that existed when the Spaniards arrived, have survived the big autodafe, meaning their destruction by fire as if at a symbolical stake, after them being confiscated by force, meaning military force, under the authority of a Spanish Bishop. The texts or excerpts from the monuments and durable objects this book gives are not always, far from it, in the three forms they should be: in glyphic form, in transliterated form (Latin alphabet) and translation, when possible. It depends on the instances but many of these glyphic texts exploited by the authors mix the various extensions of the glyphs, and at times do not give the glyphs at all, neither the glyphs nor the transliterated Latin spelling, just the English equivalent. That makes the deciphering of the meaning very difficult. What’s more, maybe because they ar  e post-Thompson authors, they never refer to the T-numbers of the glyphs that enable us to decompose the composite glyphs, to use dictionaries that list the T-numbers and thus to approach the meaning of these composite glyphs, and we must state from the start that most of the glyphs are composite, even when they are only one basic glyph because any basic glyph can conflate one symbol into itself and this symbol (generally one representative part of a basic glyph, like the basic symbol of the sun, of various colors, or day and night) and these conflated symbols keep their meaning. This is a shortcoming because it forces us to spend a lot of time and energy to make the glyphs explicit, their meaning at times meanings clear, or at least clearer, and to enrich the art itself with a story, a caption, a commentary. Note, and I will not repeat it the color illustrations (123 plates) are absolutely outstanding and the commentaries on these plates that give both explanations and sketches of the drawings as well as, when necessary, some indications on the texts these plates contain, with of course the remark I have already made about the absence of the three levels of presentation: glyphs, Latin transliterations, translations, plus T-numbers. These notes and extensions make the reading of this book very pleasurable and satisfying, and indeed a lot more than just the semantic satisfaction we can get from a catalog and the anecdotic pleasure  5 we can get from a simple collection of beautiful pictures or spiritual and mental articles. The articles, the smaller illustrations inside these articles, the notes on the articles and their inner illustrations, plus the collection of plates and their vast commentaries with sketches of visual elements and of glyphic compositions in them turn this book into a labyrinth of wisdom, all the more pleasurable that we have to add a personal effort to get into some secret or sibylline elements. I will skip any discussion of the fate of this civilization that was on the decline two or three centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards (after three thousand years of development, emergence and flourishing, from 2000 BCE to AD 1200). The arrival of the Spaniards brought tremendously lethal epidemics that eliminated a tremendous proportion of the Maya in 1521. Then the military conquest started in 1524, finished in 1541 for the highlands and the last Maya stronghold in the lowlands fell in 1697. In 1562 the burning of all codices that were confiscated, and of all wooden or burnable objects, without considering the great number of other decorated objects that were destroyed was a real cultural genocide. All that in the name of God and to eradicate Satan. This book does not specify the tremendous resistance the Mayas opposed to the Spaniards, explaining that the lowlands will only be completely conquered and under controlled 170 years after the arrival of the first Spaniards. They also resisted by keeping their language, though in Latin transliteration. Moreover, they kept their oral culture, hence their mythology, literature, plays, and music, including their musical instruments, like wooden trumpets and slit drums. These “traditions” were tolerated after a while by the Spaniards, provided they were made compatible with the Christian faith that was compulsory. That’s a  point this book does not consider. The mythology they explain very well is perfectly compatible with Christianity, with Jesus. Jesus like the Maize God was sacrificed by decision  –  and mission  –  from God himself. The Eucharist is a symbolical blood sacrifice in which the audience takes part, drinking some of Jesus ’  Blood (transubstantiated wine) and eating some of Jesus’ fl esh (transubstantiated unleavened bread or wafer). This is a symbolical substitution for the blood-self-sacrifice we are going to speak of later on. Hence the Maize god (Jun Nal Ye) could easily become Jesus Christ who dies and resuscitates every day in the daily Eucharist of the priest. Note here the comparison seen as the equivalence between the Mayas and the Aztecs is not exactly possible. The Aztecs were a morbid blood civilization erecting enormous walls of skull racks ( “ tzompantli ” ) though apparently in the later period of their civilization in Chichen Itza under the influence, if not migration of people from Mexico, hence closer to Aztec influence, some skull racks were found and mentioned recently in May 2019 in a research Journal (article Price TD, Ties ler V, Freiwald C. “Place of srcin of the sacrificial victims in the sacred Cenote, Chichén Itzá, Mexico.”  American Journal of Physical Anthropology  . 2019;1  – 18. doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23879). The Mayas were practicing blood self-sacrifices and sacrifices in a highly ritualistic way that did not reach the level in numbers the Aztecs reached. But more about it later. The Maya writing system must have taken several millennia to be devised and the first forms of it probably started appearing in Mesoamerica 5000 BCE but on non-durable media and they got lost. Note the four codices we still have in the world would be probably inexistent today if they had not escaped fire since many codices were considered as burial goods to guide the dead on their way through the Underworld, Xibalba. We only got traces of such codices in various tombs. The paper used is definitely biodegradable. So, if they had not been burned many of them would have anyway disappeared over the five or six centuries of Spanish and Christian domination. But these codices and the writing system itself (representing the language as such) depict a world that is in perfect agreement with what the reliefs, carvings, paintings, frescoes, and other decorated artifacts. The Maya society was a highly hierarchical but not centralized civilization based on religious rituals dealing with blood and sacrifice and mastered by the sacred Tzolk’in  calendar, itself managed by the Death Lords (the Gods of the Underworld), the celestial gods like the Sun, the Moon and Venus (in perfect phase with the triple goddess of many other civilizations, a trinity or triad that is probably universal), and of course the sacrificed Maize God who is dying every fall after the harvest and resuscitating every spring with the new sowing (note human blood is necessary for this new harvest to grow and prosper, just like in many civilizations menstrual blood is scattered or sprinkled over the sown field for it to prosper: for example in the Myth of Medea in Colchis, one country and civilization integrated from the Turkic Old European population of today’s Georgia into the Greek Mythology). This is founded on the ternary nature of the world according to the Mayas. The book quotes this fact but does not develop its consequences. The
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