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Loanwords, "Foreign Words," And Foreign Signs In Maya Writing

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a short but critical overview of loanwords which have been discussed in recent epigraphic and linguistic research (Kaufman 2003, Lacadena & Wichmann 2004, Macri & Looper 2003, Meléndez & Pallan 2005). It adds one important lexical item which previously has not been identified as containing a possible loanword. The chapter also discusses the presence of several rare examples of "foreign" words in Maya writing as well as the presence of non-native script signs in Maya writing. It distinguishes five different but largely subsequent phases in which loanwords, "foreign words," and foreign signs entered Maya writing. In each phase there was a shift in the area from which words or signs were borrowed. Maya writing, as any writing system, cannot been seen out of the context of the civilization that invented (or adopted), developed, and used it.

Keywords: Alfonso Lacadena; foreign signs; foreign words; Kaufman; loanwords; Maya writing; Wichmann; writing system



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