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Abstract

Abstract

Recent years have seen rapid advancement in our understanding of the phonology and grammar of Classic Ch'olan and the distribution of Lowland Mayan languages in the Classic period. The control over the data has advanced to such an extent that Classic Ch'olan should no longer be considered chiefly a product of reconstruction, but rather a language in its own right, providing fresh input to historical reconstruction. The interpretation of writing system principles has moved into the forefront of research, and recent discussions of these and other major issues are summarized here. This review suggests that the exceptional phonological transparency of the Maya script, which is a precondition for the current advances in linguistic epigraphy, is rooted in the need of scribes to spell out regional linguistic variants, and a sociolinguistically oriented theory of the evolution of writing in general is formulated and tested on the Mayan hieroglyphic materials.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.anthro.35.081705.123257
2006-10-21
2024-06-18
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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