Saturday Jan 8, 2022
I have been trying to learn the glyphs for many years.
I have rededicated myself to doing so, by spending 20 minutes a day studying them.
I have been using Scott A. J. Johnson’s “Translating Maya Hieroglyphs” as my principal text
and supplementing that with cross referencing to John Montgomery’s “Dictionary of Maya hieroglyphs.”
I have begun to draw the glyphs and now to write definitions, because none of it was sticking.
I decided to starte with Lakam Há which means “wide water” and I was told this was the name for Palenque.
Yeah, well when I went to look that up I found Palenque was also called Baak (bone) and another name – a toponym.
Great, I’m as Davy Crockett said of being lost – “I was a might bewidered for a few days.”
I’ll get back to that stuff.
For now I decided to look at drawing Há and Pa and a few others that are similar.
This led me to this page 47 fig 1.17 in Johnson (shown below)
And to his 3 definitons which are relevant to that page:
Polyvalence – sound is the same; meaning is different.
Polyphony – sign is the same; meaning is different.
Semantic Determinative – a symbol used in writing to differentiate meanings between same or similar signs whose meaning might be ambiguous otherwise.
Typically, the semantic determinative is. no pronounced.
– There are not many Semantic Determinatives in Mayan. However the daysign cartouche is an example.
– Egyptian hieroglyphs use SDs a lot.
Fig 1.17 shows three Semantic Determinatives plus a column for sylables.
When the sylables are placed inside or along with the SD their menaing changes.
Look at the sign for water. It’s what I’ll call a shell with gray in a circle.
If you just see the gray in what looks like an old tube radio front it’s the sound “pa”
If the Tun sign (a cave) is palced where the gray circle (of water?) than it’s the sound “t’u”
If the circle is a rainbow (?) it’s “b’a”
if the “la” sign is turned around and put in the circle is’s “ma”
If “la” is placed along with the head it’s “ajaw”
If the “ti” sign is placed with the head it’s “ti”
then there are five day signs using the sylables xa chi, u, pa, ku/tun
and are Chikchan, Manik, Muluk, Imix, Kawak