Yaxchilán, Lintel 24 - K2887 ©Justin Kerr - Click to view high resolution MAYA HIEROGLYPH DICTIONARY
Peter Mathews and Péter Bíró
Drawings by John Montgomery

A Basic Dictionary Entry

Each basic entry in the Maya Hieroglyph Dictionary can be a word, an affix, or a syllable. Each entry is listed in bold upper case letters and has its own page. The basic entry is listed in bold lower case letters, and on the top right of the entry the relevant glyphic form is shown (in some cases there are several glyphic versions of the entry). Below the basic entry and hieroglyphic image(s), further information about the item is provided, under the following sub-headings:

Hieroglyphic Spelling(s)
Thompson Number(s)
Narrow Transcription(s)
Linguistic Reconstruction(s)
Morphological Analysis
Number of Example(s)
Reliability of Reading
First Occurrence
See Also
Last Updated

Each of these sections contains different information about the basic entry. (Some entries do not require all categories, such as 'Comments' or 'See Also'; where this is the case, those categories are simply not listed.) Below we briefly discuss what is contained in the various sections, of each basic entry.

The Basic Entry

The Basic Entry listing records the word, affix, or syllable in bold lower case letters in simple broad transcription (for a definition of 'broad transcription' and spelling conventions used in the Dictionary, see the sections on Maya Hieroglyphs and Mayan Languages and Orthography), and also the sub-section below on Narrow Transcription(s).


Each basic entry will eventually be accompanied by drawings. At least one drawing will be provided, and in the case of words with different hieroglyphic spellings (logogram, logogram plus syllabic complements, purely syllabic spelling, etc.) multiple drawings will be provided. These drawings are placed at the top of the page, to the right of the Basic Entry heading.

Each drawing has a number below it, which corresponds to the number that can be found below, under the Hieroglyphic Spelling heading. Thus Drawing 1 corresponds to Hieroglyphic Spelling 1, Drawing 2 to Hieroglyphic Spelling 2, and so on. Also below the drawing(s) we provide additional information such as the inscriptional source of the drawing, the date of the example, and who drew the drawing. The information about the drawing is provided in abbreviated form, in order to save space. For abbreviations of site names, please refer to the section Site Names and Three-letter Codes; other abbreviations (such as those used for monument types) can be found in the section Abbreviations.


The first sub-heading in each basic entry of the Dictionary is the meaning of the word. We provide a translation in both English and Spanish of the Epigraphic Mayan word, compound, or affix. For some entries the precise translation is in some doubt, indicated by a question mark. We also indicate the grammatical category of the word with an abbreviation immediately before the translations. Thus 'n.' stands for noun, 'vt.' for transitive verb, and so on. A full list of these grammatical abbreviations can be found in the Abbreviations section.

Hieroglyphic Spelling(s)

Under the sub-heading Hieroglyphic Spelling are listed all the known forms of spelling of a given word or affix. Following standard Maya epigraphic practice, logograms are indicated by bold upper-case letters and syllabic signs by bold lower-case letters, such as CHUM, TUN-ni, pa-ka-la. We have tried to find every variation of spelling of each Dictionary entry. Each variant spelling has a number (which matches the drawing number above). If one of the attested spellings is a purely logographic spelling, it will be listed first, followed by examples spelled with logogram plus syllable(s) and finally by the full phonetic (syllabic) spelling. Logogram-plus-syllable spellings will generally be listed in the chronological order of their first appearance. The basic entry ahin 'crocodile / caiman, cocodrilo' illustrates how we list the various hieroglyphic spellings:

Hieroglyphic Spelling(s):(1) AHIN
(2) AHIN-na
(3) a-AHIN-na
(4) AHIN-ni
(5) a-hi-ni
(6) a-hi

The first spelling here is the logographic spelling AHIN. This is followed by three spellings which combine logogram and syllable signs, the earliest of which is AHIN-na, and the latest AHIN-ni. Finally, a syllabic spelling a-hi for the word ahin is attested: this is actually an 'under-spelling', for the final -n of the word was not written (for more on the subject of under-spellings, see Maya Hieroglyphs and Mayan Languages).

Recently there has been considerable debate over spelling rules reflected by the glyphs and how words should be transliterated and transcribed. ('Transliteration' refers to the transformation of Maya glyphs into the Roman alphabet letters that we use, while 'transcription' reflects the attempt to represent the pronunciation of the word in the original spoken language.) For more on this subject, please see the Narrow Transcription(s) sub-heading below.

Thompson Number(s)

Under the Thompson Number(s) sub-heading you can find the listing in 'Thompson numbers' of each spelling within a basic entry (see Thompson's Catalogue of Maya Signs). 'Thompson numbers' refer to the book A Catalog of Maya Hieroglyphs, published by the great Mayanist scholar J. Eric S. Thompson (1962). In his Catalog Thompson isolated individual signs that make up the Maya hieroglyphic writing system, and ascribed to each sign an individual number. For the first decades after the publication of Thompson's catalogue it was conventional to refer to individual hieroglyphic signs by Thompson's numbers (or 'T-numbers'), in large part because relatively few signs could be given secure readings in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

In his catalogue, Thompson listed various combinations of signs that occur in various Classic Maya inscriptions. His technique was to catalogue individual 'glyph blocks', which are the basic way in which the Maya organised their inscriptions. Each glyph block usually contains several individual signs, each with its own T-number.

There have been some longstanding disagreements among epigraphers with some of Thompson's designations of signs: in some cases he has listed the same sign under two or more numbers, in others he has not listed a sign at all; in some examples the drawing he provides does not correspond to the sign he inventories, in others the sign he lists is actually only part of a discreet sign. In addition, Thompson included some diacritics to enable researchers to reconstruct the 'shape' of the glyph. For example, T12.544:116 signifies that in the original example T12 was depicted to the left of T544, which in turn was above T116. We now know that whether a sign is to the left or above the sign that follows makes no difference in the reading order. Similarly, whether a sign is below or to the right of the one that follows generally does not affect the reading order. In view of this, we have opted to replace Thompson's periods and colons with a hyphen, indicating the reading order of the signs but not their specific arrangement within the glyph.

Thompson used two additional diacritics in his system of transcription. One was the use of square brackets to signify that a sign is infixed. 644[528], for example, indicates that T528 (or its essential elements) are drawn inside (or 'infixed' within) the form of T644. We follow Thompson in this convention. The other Thompson diacritic was to use a dash to indicate the fusing of two signs into one form (T630-181 is his prime example). We transcribe this example with a hyphen (630-181), and thus do not radically depart from Thompson in this convention. Finally, we add another convention in this Dictionary that is not used in Thompson's Catalog. In a few cases, Thompson has mistakenly broken down a sign into its constituent parts. For example T60-528 is the syllable sign hi: both signs need to be written to record this syllable. In such cases we keep Thompson's numbers but enclose them in parentheses to indicate that they must be read together as one element: (60-528).

In some cases, Thompson includes two or more T-numbers for what is actually the same sign. We only use one of the numbers; in most cases it is the first of the numbers in Thompson's enumeration. For example, T228 and 229 are simply scribal variants of the same sign: in this Dictionary we only use 228. Another example is that T111 and T570 are the same sign (T111 is one of Thompson's 'affixes'): we list all examples of this sign only as 570.

Please note also that different signs that have the same reading can be used to spell words. We indicate these different signs by the use of a forward slash (/) in the T-number listings. An example is the word chumlajiy, spelled either CHUM-la-ji-ya or CHUM-mu-la-ji-ya, in both of which the -ji can be written either with 88 or 136. We represent these spellings in T-numbers as follows: 644-178-88/136-125 or 644[19]-178-88/136-125.

More than forty years have passed since the compilation of the original catalogue by Thompson in 1962, and our understanding on the glyphs grew substantially. Epigraphers have discovered several new signs, which are not in the catalogue, and therefore we have designated them with the abbreviation 'nn' which stands for 'no number'.

In our Dictionary the transcriptions of Maya signs into 'T-numbers' follows the order of examples given in the 'Drawings' and 'Hieroglyphic Spellings' sections. Thus the Hieroglyphic Spellings of AHIN, AHIN-na, a-AHIN-na, AHIN-ni, and a-hi will look like the following in Thompson Numbers:

Thompson Number(s):(1) 844
(2) 844-23
(3) 228-844-23
(4) 844-116
(5) 228-(60-528)-116
(6) 228-(60-528)

One final note: Thompson's catalogue is only one of several such inventories of Maya hieroglyphic signs, even though it is easily the most used. Readers should be aware, however, that a new catalogue of Maya signs, with completely different designations, has recently been published by Martha Macri and Matthew Looper (2003). We believe that Thompson's Catalog, with all its faults, is easier to use and for this reason we have decided to employ 'T-numbers' in this Dictionary.

Narrow Transcription(s)

This section contains reconstructed transcriptions of each entry which are based on various theories of the disharmonic principle suggested first by Stephen Houston, David Stuart, and John Robertson (1998) and later modified by Alfonso Lacadena and Søren Wichmann (2004).

Like other writing systems Maya writing did not always represent or record every nuance of the language. In Egyptian Hieroglyphic writing (and modern Arabic and Hebrew), for example, vowels are rarely indicated-they are supplied by the reader. Similarly in Maya hieroglyphic writing several phonological features (ones related to sounds) and morphological features (related to grammar) were not always represented, but it was easy for a knowledgeable reader to supply the missing components from context.

Many epigraphers today believe that they can reconstruct the actual pronunciation of the language represented by the writing system. The trouble is that not everyone's reconstruction is the same. Apart from different views on spelling rules of Epigraphic Mayan (and in many cases because of the different views), there are also different theories on how Epigraphic Mayan words were pronounced and 'spelled'. Under the category of Narrow Transcription(s), we attempt to do justice to competing views by listing other proposed spellings of each entry.

Essentially, transcription reflects attempts to reconstruct the possible pronunciation of a language. In some cases spellings do not mirror the actual (reconstructed) pronunciation of a given word. Epigraphers distinguish between 'broad' and 'narrow' transcriptions. 'Broad transcription' refers to the overt representation of the language as written by the scribes themselves. 'Narrow transcription', on the other hand, refers to the various interpretations of Epigraphic Mayan incorporating reconstructions of 'complex vowels' (such elements as long vowels and rearticulated vowels), pre-consonantal 'h' and several vowel plus glottal stop combinations. There is ongoing debate as to whether these elements were explicitly written or not.

There are several ways to reconstruct the spoken language using internal data from the writing system itself and external data such as historical and comparative linguistics. Nevertheless, these two lines of evidence can provide us with differing reconstructions, which sometimes lead to opposing theories about how a word was pronounced during the Classic Period, and in turn how it should be transcribed.

There are at least seven slightly or wholly different suggestions for the 'narrow transcription' of Epigraphic Mayan, which we discuss briefly below. We include examples for some of the hypotheses, using the word chapat, 'centipede' (which has the following attested spellings: CHAPAT, cha-CHAPAT-ti, CHAPAT-tu, cha-pa-tu, cha-pa-ta, as well as several other examples):

1 Stephen Houston, David Stuart, and John Robertson (1998, 2004) suggest several 'harmony' rules. They propose that 'synharmony' (when the first vowel in a CVC-CV or CV-CV word is the same as the 'silent' second vowel) does not predict whether the root vowel is complex or not. In the case of 'disharmony', the second vowel in a CVC-CV or CV-CV word is different from the first vowel, and the difference signals that the root vowel is a complex one. In the theory of Houston, Stuart and Robertson the second, silent vowel does not predict the quality of the root vowel, i.e., whether it was long, with pre-consonantal 'h' or with a glottal stop (Robertson 2004). Their transcription therefore is mostly based on historical reconstructions of the language of the inscriptions.
Houston, Stuart and Robertson transcribe the word for 'centipede' as chapaat (reflecting the disharmonic spellings with final -ti and -tu syllables) and as chapat (reflecting the synharmonic spelling cha-pa-ta). They argue that chapat, the later spelling, reflects the loss of complex vowels in Epigraphic Mayan after ca. AD 700.
2 Alfonso Lacadena and Søren Wichmann (2004) accept the disharmonic principle of Houston, Stuart and Robertson, but they propose specific rules for the spellings. They maintain that synharmony always indicates a short vowel, and that spellings with long vowels and vowels followed by glottal stops were indicated by several specific disharmonic rules. In the case of pre-consonantal 'h', Lacadena and Wichmann rely on the reconstructions derived through historical linguistics.
Lacadena and Wichmann transcribe the word for 'centipede' as chapaa[h]t (reflecting the disharmonic spelling cha-CHAPAT-ti and reconstructing a pre-consonantal h), and chapa'[h]t (reflecting the spelling cha-pa-tu), and as chapa[h]t (reflecting cha-pa-ta). They argue that the different forms represent three different stages of the Epigraphic Mayan language.
3 Michael Carrasco, Kerry Hull, and Robert Wald (n.d.) propose a third form of narrow transcription, which they call 'historic-pragmatic'. They apply different rules to different subsystems of the hieroglyphic language, especially in the case of verbal suffixes, where they consider that the harmony rules proposed by Houston, Stuart and Robertson and by Lacadena and Wichmann are not correct, or at least that the Maya scribes did not explicitly record them. Carrasco, Hull, and Wald accept the existence of complex vowels in Epigraphic Mayan, but argue that in most cases the Maya did not write them.
The best example for the use of the 'historic-pragmatic' method of Carrasco, Hull and Wald can best be illustrated in the transcription of what are called 'antipassive' verbs in Epigraphic Mayan. Antipassive verbs were written by Maya scribes using both -wa and -wi as suffixes (e.g. TZ'AK-wa or TZ'AK-wi, 'gets/got conjured'). Disharmonic theories transcribe these antipassive verbal forms as tz'ak[a]w or tz'ak[aa]w, in contrast to the tz'akwa or tz'akwi reconstruction of the 'historic-pragmatic' method.
4 Terrence Kaufman and John Justeson suggest that the 'silent' vowel always represents "the one (or a one) in a -Vl suffix that was characteristically suffixed to that root in the Epigraphic Mayan language" (Kaufman and Justeson 2003:31).
A good example is the spelling HUN-na or hu-na in which Kaufman and Justeson maintain that the -na is written because the most frequent -Vl suffix of hun was -al (hunal, attested in the inscriptions with the spelling hu-na-la). The disharmonic theories, in contrast, transcribe HUN-na and hu-na as huun or hu'n (because the syllabic sign -na has a differing vowel from the root vowel u).
5 A slight modification of the Kaufman and Justeson theory has been proposed by Erik Boot (n.d.) who has argued that an ending of -Ci or -Ca signalled morphemic boundaries and word endings. Like Kaufman and Justeson, Boot posits that the final 'silent' vowel predicts the most common suffix. According to Boot, vowel complexity was either not represented or not present in Epigraphic Mayan.
6 Another modification of the Kaufman and Justeson theory is that of David Mora-Marín (2006). He has proposed that the 'silent' vowel indicates the most common suffix used with the word. In addition, Mora-Marín does not believe that complex vowels existed in Epigraphic Mayan.
Mora-Marín suggests that the forms ye-b'a and ye-b'u do not represent roots with complex vowels but are under-spelled forms of ye[h]b'al and ye[h]b'ul, which are also attested forms, with the spellings of ye-b'a-li and ye-b'u-li.
7 Lloyd Anderson (2004) has suggested a theory that applies the harmony rules and also maintains that specific final consonants serve to predict the 'silent' vowels in the CVC-CV or CV-CV words.

These debates are ongoing, and epigraphers currently neither agree on spelling rules for Epigraphic Mayan, nor on how the language was pronounced. It should be noted, however, that these disagreements involve a minority of words in the inscriptions.

In this Dictionary the forms listed at the head of each entry do not represent reconstructed, 'complex' forms. In order to indicate the ongoing debate concerning the various proposals about disharmonic spellings and possible underlying pronunciations, we have included this section 'Narrow Transcription(s)'. In most cases we include the suggestions of Houston, Stuart, and Robertson (2004), Lacadena and Wichmann (2004), and occasionally those of Carrasco, Hull, and Wald (n.d.).

Please note that transcriptions are written in italics and in the 'Narrow Transcription(s)' any reconstructed elements are put inside square brackets. A 'hash' sign (#) before a narrow transcription indicates that the word is not actually found in the publication cited but that it can be postulated following the rules proposed by the authors themselves.

Linguistic Reconstructions

After the Narrow Transcription(s) category comes the sub-heading Linguistic Reconstruction(s). Here we list the Proto-Mayan form of the word as reconstructed by Kaufman and Norman (1984) or by Brown and Wichmann (2004), and also the Proto-Ch'olan form as reconstructed by Kaufman and Norman (1984). Each reconstruction is preceded by the relevant linguistic phase name (Proto-Mayan, Proto-Ch'olan etc.) and an asterisk (*) which indicates that it is a reconstruction. In some cases we have also provided additional forms, such as Proto-Yukatekan, Proto-Greater-Tzeltalan, etc.

Linguistic reconstructions are the results of the 'comparative method' in linguistics, which is based on the assumption that certain changes within languages can be explained by comparing forms in related languages. This method is commonly applied to the sound and grammar systems of languages. In addition, linguists are able to reconstruct 'backwards' from various 'daughter' languages to a common ancestor, and thus reconstruct the form of that earlier, ancestral language, at least in part.

Of course such a reconstruction is always an approximation, and there are inherent problems in the comparative method. Any ancestral language reconstructed by linguists is incomplete and hypothetical. Linguists can retrieve and reconstruct only those features that have remained or left some trace in daughter languages (linguists call this 'backward reconstruction') or which can be retrieved from its closest ancestor ('forward reconstruction').

Meanwhile, because the comparative method involves judgement and intuition, linguists using the same data often may reach different conclusions. This phenomenon has occurred in Mayan linguistics and epigraphy over the past several decades, and debate continues on several topics concerning reconstructions in the language(s) of the inscriptions.

Terrence Kaufman, William Norman, Lyle Campbell, and John Justeson, among others, have made a major contribution to the field with their proposed reconstructions for various ancestral Mayan languages (e.g. Campbell 1977, 1984; Kaufman 1972; Kaufman and Justeson 2003; Kaufman and Norman 1984). They have reconstructed a phonological system of complex vowels (long vowels, vowels with 'h', glottal stop, etc.) for the common ancestor of all Mayan languages, which was called Proto-Mayan following accepted linguistic practice. However, according to their reconstructions, the system of complex vowels was lost in Proto-Ch'olan, the ancestral language of all the Ch'olan languages (Ch'ol, Chontal, Ch'orti' and the now extinct Ch'olti').

Contrary to these ideas, John Robertson, Stephen Houston, and David Stuart (1998, 2000) maintain that the language of the hieroglyphic inscriptions did have the same system of complex vowels as Proto-Mayan. Alfonso Lacadena and Søren Wichmann (2004) share this hypothesis but they disagree with Robertson, Houston and Stuart on the details of the reconstructions and how they were represented in the inscriptions. Cecil Brown and Søren Wichmann (2004) have also published their own modified reconstructions of Proto-Mayan, which differ substantially from the reconstructions of Terrence Kaufman and John Justeson (2003).

As often happens in comparative and historical linguistics, the discovery of a new phase of a language creates problems with previous reconstructions (this happened with the discovery of the Tocharian languages and Indo-European, for example). The decipherment of Epigraphic Mayan has caused such problems, in which reconstructions and readings are not always consistent with each other. Individuals then try to find new or revised models to explain the 'disturbing new' information.

To repeat: in our Linguistic Reconstruction(s) category we have chosen to include the data of Terrence Kaufman and William Norman (1984) on Proto-Mayan and Proto-Ch'olan (still the most widely accepted in the first case, and shows complex vowels), and we have also included the recent reconstructions by Cecil Brown and Søren Wichmann (2004) on Proto-Mayan.

Morphological Analysis

The next category in the basic entry is titled Morphological Analysis. This reveals the linguistic structure of each entry, or how the entry is build up from smaller parts. Morphological analysis is a linguistic method that analyses word formation within and across languages and aids the understanding the formal rules of a given language. Morphological analysis also helps us to understand the grammar of Epigraphic Mayan and to translate more accurately the contents of the inscriptions.

Although there are several accepted ways among linguists to 'do' morphological analysis, among epigraphers the morpheme-based approach has been the preferred method. A morpheme-based method analyses words (or each dictionary entry) as a sequence of morphemes which can be 'independent' or 'bound' morphemes. Morphemes are the smallest meaningful unit of language. 'Independent' morphemes are those which can stand independently and still carry meaning, while 'bound' morphemes always need to be attached to another morpheme or morphemes. Thus in English antidisestablishmentarianism is composed of the 'independent' root morpheme establish and the derivational 'bound' morphemes (or affixes) anti-, dis-, -ment, -ar-, - ian, and -ism.

The various affixes (or bound morphemes) have their own functions, which are given various labels by linguists. For example, there are affixes that can make an intransitive verb transitive, a singular noun plural, or can derive an adjective from a noun, and so on. In our morphological analysis we have followed the practice of epigraphers. First you will find the segmentation of the basic entry into its constituent parts and then, after the 'equal' sign (=) the abbreviations of the names of its parts (which indicate their function) in upper case letters. The constituent parts are segmented by a hyphen (-), and square brackets indicate reconstructions not otherwise attested in the inscriptions. A 'zero' sign (ø) sign indicates a 'zero-morpheme', or a morpheme which is present at an abstract level but which is not pronounced or written.

Thus the entry chukaj 'he, she was captured' can be analysed morphologically as follows:

chu-[h]k-aj-ø = capture-[PAS]-THM-3SA

Here the root is the verb chuk 'capture', which is modified by the addition of the infixed passive 'h', the thematic suffix '-aj' which indicates that the verb is intransitive (in other words, '-aj' can be perceived as an 'intransitivising' suffix), and finally the third person singular absolutive suffix. This last suffix indicates the grammatical subject of passive verbs, in the example above 'he', she', or 'it' in English translation. The twist in Mayan is that this suffix is a 'zero morpheme': it was neither pronounced nor written, but simply 'understood'.

Morphological analysis is inherently connected to the interpretations of the morphological system of a given language and this can be seen in our analysis too. Epigraphers and linguists currently are debating whether Epigraphic Mayan had an 'aspect' or a 'tense' system, or neither of them. Of course this results in different interpretations of certain affixes and their representation in morphological analysis. We have decided not to represent all the possibilities but have accepted the preliminary ideas of Robert Wald (2004), who suggested that Epigraphic Mayan did not have an aspect-tense system but indicated these phenomena by the use of several adverbs and clitics.

One feature of an online dictionary such as this is that with new understandings the data can be modified and supplemented (or replaced), which perhaps will happen in case of the morphological analysis section as future discoveries refine our picture about Epigraphic Mayan morphology.

Number of Examples

Under this sub-heading we list the approximate number of examples that are known for the entry. We believe that this information is important for two reasons. First it indicates whether the entry is rare or common. This directly relates to the reliability of reading of the entry (see below), since obviously those entries which have a large number of examples and in a wide variety of contexts tend to have a much more secure reading than those entries for which we only have two or three examples. Second, it leads to the possibility of listing all of the attested examples of the entry. Such a listing would be a logical next phase of the Maya Hieroglyph Dictionary. It could also serve to place the entries in their glyphic environment so as to facilitate comparative textual analyses. This is something which we have thought of doing, and would like to do, and (if we live to be 280 we might actually be able to accomplish).

This category–the number of examples-is one that will not immediately be incorporated in the Maya Hieroglyph Dictionary. We hope to begin entering this information in the future.

In most cases (especially the more common signs) the numbers entered will be approximate (for example 'less than 10', '20+', '300+'), since the precise counting will take too long and in any case such numbers would have to be continually revised.

Reliability of Reading

In this category we attempt to indicate the reliability of the reading of the entry. Although in the case of many entries there is universal agreement among today's epigraphers as to the reading, other entries are more contentious. Obviously the readings provided in this Dictionary are ones that we feel comfortable with, but equally there is a degree of subjectivity to our acceptance of the reading. We therefore have thought that it may be worthwhile to indicate the reliability of reading for each entry. Of course this 'reliability scale' is also subjective, but at least it provides the view of both of us as to the current situation.

We do not include in the Dictionary any entries which we believe have a reading reliability of less than 50%, and will use the following scale to indicate the reliability of reading:

50 – 70 Plausible
70 – 80 Probable
80 – 90 Secure
90 – 100 Very Secure

It should be noted that there is a strong correlation between the reliability of reading and the number of examples attested for the entry. Please note also that in the 'Comments' section (see below) we shall sometimes include information about alternative readings-especially in the case of particularly contentious entries.

This category—the reliability of reading-is one that will not immediately be incorporated in the Maya Hieroglyph Dictionary; we shall enter the information in the future.

First Occurrence

This is another category that will not immediately be incorporated into the Dictionary. Our intention is to list information regarding the earliest occurrence of each hieroglyphic spelling, as an aid to the study of Maya palaeography, which is still in its infancy (having been pioneered by Alfonso Lacadena), but which has already shed light on some issues of Maya epigraphy (Lacadena 1995).


This sub-heading is reserved for any comments that we feel may be helpful concerning the entry. In some cases this will concern the reading (for example words where we have opted for a particular reading but other interpretations also exist). Most comments will concern suggestions by other epigraphers providing additional evidence or interpretations concerning the basic entry.

See Also

Under this category we list other entries that are morphologically connected to the basic entry under discussion. In other words, this category lists other entries that contain the same 'root morpheme'. For example, under the entry chum-, 'sit', the following entries are listed in the See Also section: chumjiy, chumlaj, chumlajiy, chumtal, chum tun, chumub', chumul, chumuw, chumwan, and chumwaniy: these words also contain the morpheme 'chum'.

Please note that if you wish to go straight to one of the other entries listed in the 'See Also' section, you can do so simply by clicking on the new word you wish to investigate.

Last Updated

Under this category we indicate the last date on which we updated the entry in any way-either by adding it to the Dictionary, or correcting or adding to it, or replacing it.


Anderson, Lloyd
2004 The multiple explanations for Mayan spellings. None of them can "defeat" or exclude the others.
Unpublished manuscript.
Brown, Cecil H., and Søren Wichmann
2004 Proto-Mayan syllable nuclei.
International Journal of American Linguistics(59): 70-128.
Campbell, Lyle
1977 Quichean Linguistic Prehistory.
University of California Publications in Linguistics, Volume 81.
Berkeley: University of California Press.
1984 The implications of Mayan historical linguistics for glyphic research.
In: Phoneticism in Mayan Hieroglyphic Writing (John S. Justeson and Lyle Campbell, eds.): 1-16.
Albany: Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, State University of New York, Publication 9.
Carrasco, Michael D., Kerry Hull, and Robert Wald
n.d. An Introduction to Epigraphic Mayan. Notebook for the Workshop on Maya Hieroglyphic Writing for the Summer Intensive Course in Yucatec Mayan.
Unpublished manuscript, dated 2004.
Houston, Stephen D., David Stuart and John S. Robertson
1998 Disharmony in Maya hieroglyphic writing. In: Anatomía de una civilización: Aproximaciones interdisciplinarias a la cultura maya(Andrés Ciudad Ruiz, Yolanda Fernández, José Miguel García Campillo, Maria Joseja Iglesias Ponce de León, Alfonso Lacadena García-Gallo, and Luis T. Saenz Castro, eds.): 275-296.
Madrid: Sociedad Española de Estudios Mayas.
2004 Disharmony in Maya hieroglyphic writing: linguistic change and continuity in Classic society. In: The Linguistics of Maya Writing(Søren Wichmann, ed.): 83-101.
Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press.
Kaufman, Terrence S.
1972 El Proto-Tzeltal-Tzotzil.
Centro de Estudios Mayas, Cuaderno 5.
México, D.F.: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
Kaufman, Terrence, with John Justeson
2003 A Preliminary Mayan Etymological Dictionary.
Report available at wwww.famsi.org/reports/01051/index.html.
Kaufman, Terrence S., and William M. Norman
1984 An outline of proto-Cholan phonology, morphology, and vocabulary. In: Phoneticism in Maya Hieroglyphic Writing (John S. Justeson and Lyle Campbell, eds.): 77-166.
Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, State University of New York at Albany, Publication 9.
Albany: Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, State University of New York at Albany.
Lacadena, Alfonso
1995 Evolución formal de las grafías escriturarias mayas: implicaciones históricas y culturales.
PhD dissertation, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Lacadena, Alfonso, and Søren Wichmann
2004 On the representation of the glottal stop in Maya writing. In: The Linguistics of Maya Writing (Søren Wichmann, ed.): 103-162.
Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press.
Macri, Martha J., and Matthew G. Looper
2003 The New Catalog of Maya Hieroglyphs. Volume 1: The Classic Period Inscriptions.
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
Mora-Marín, David
2006 Affixation conventionalization hypothesis: explanation of conventionalized spellings in Mayan Writing.
Unpublished Manuscript.
Thompson, J. Eric S.
1962 A Catalog of Maya Hieroglyphs.
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
Wald, Robert F.
2004 Telling time in Classic Ch'olan and Acalan-Chontal narrative. The linguistic basis of some temporal discourse patterns in Maya hieroglyphic and Acalan-Chontal texts. In: The Linguistics of Maya Writing (Søren Wichmann, ed.): 211-258.
Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press.

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