Fwd: Re: [Aztlan] glyph decipherment.
John F. Schwaller
schwallr at potsdam.edu
Fri Aug 11 14:49:32 UTC 2006
Here are two posts of interest to students of
Nahuatl from our sister listserv, Aztlan
The initial question asked about resources for deciphering Nahua glyphs
>From: David Stuart <kawil at mac.com>
>Subject: Re: [Aztlan] glyph decipherment.
>Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2006 11:30:40 -0500
>One of the best overviews of the Nahua writing system(s) is an old
>classic by Henry Nicholson:
>1973 Phoneticism in the Late Pre-Hispanic Central Mexican Writing
>System. In Mesoamerican Writing Systems, edited by Elizabeth P.
>Benson, pp. 1-46. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington D.C.
>Nick's article is still very comprehensive and solid, and not really
>overshadowed by anything more recent, in my view.
>The Nahua system(s) (there were probably several regional and
>temporal variants) deserve much more scholarly attention. Aztec
>glyphs are assumed by many to be little more than simple pictographs
>therefore transparent, but they are far more phonetically based than
>is often realized. Thelma Sullivan once told me that she thought
>Aztec glyphs needed a whole new systematic analysis, and I think she
>was right. One modern scholar who is doing very good work is my
>colleague Alfonso Lacadena, and I am sure there are others, too.
>- David Stuart
>From: "Jerry Offner" <ixtlil at earthlink.net>
>To: aztlan at lists.famsi.org
>Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2006 12:15:56 -0500
>It is a bit surprising that no one has mentioned
>Marc Thouvenot's decades of work condensed into
>the highly useful program CEN at this link:
>Marc has thorughly studied the content, meaning
>and pronunciation of Nahua (Aztec) pictographs,
>with an emphasis on the Texcocan area. He has
>designed and continously improved his programs
>for studying them and Nahuatl. The program CEN
>is free, large but easily downloaded and
>installed, bug-free and enjoyable to use. Good
>quality photos of scarcely or poorly published
>codices are part of the download, as can be seen
>by examining the files and file structure after
>the download. Most directions are in French,
>English and Spanish. (I should be able to help
>anyone with difficulties getting the file
>structure right on their computer in case they
>find the site's directions difficult). (There
>is a lot more of interest to Mesoamericanists at this site).
>Marc's dissertation "Codex XOLOTL. Etude d'une
>des composantes de son écriture : les glyphes.
>Dictionnaire des éléments constitutifs des glyphes"
>can also be downloaded for those who prefer a
>more conventional presentation. It is in
>French, but its task is so detailed and
>descriptive that it can be followed with minimal
>work with a good French dictionary (on-line or paper).
>The only way to account for the general lack of
>knowledge regarding his work is that he has not
>produced a dead-tree coffee table work in
>whatever language. Given the nature of the
>subject, his software approach is the current optimum method of presentation.
>Marc Thouvenot's work is indispensable if you
>want to get serious about Nahua pictographic
>writing. At the same time, beginners can obtain
>attractive pictures and illustrations along with
>information that can be accessed in greater or
>lesser detail, as they require,
>ixtlil at earthlink.net
John F. Schwaller
44 Pierrepont Ave.
Potsdam, NY 13676
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