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Maya Writing: Synonyms And Homonyms, Polyvalency And Polysemy

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Chapter Summary

The origins of Maya writing are being pushed back nearly every year, especially through archaeological discoveries at the Guatemalan site of San Bartolo. This chapter follows the definition given to polysemy generally followed in the study of linguistic semantics, in which polysemy refers to "multiplicity in meanings of words" (Ravin & Leacock 2000: 1) or, more strictly, "the association of two or more senses with a single linguistic form" (Taylor 1995: 99). It discusses four language and writing based phenomena. These phenomena are synonymy, homonymy, polyvalency, and polysemy. In a most basic definition, homonymy (or homophony) refers to the relation between two or more words that are spelled or pronounced the same way but differ in meaning. The polysemous character of words is of great importance in the construction of word lists, lexicons, and vocabularies.

Keywords: Homonyms; Maya Writing; Polysemy; Polyvalency; San Bartolo; Synonyms



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