Posted by: Johan Normark | October 9, 2012

Maya on Vetenskapens värld

Yesterday the Swedish show Vetenskapens värld (“The world of science”) broadcasted an episode that partly dealt with the Maya. First, there was a short documentary about Saturno’s discovery of San Bartolo and Thomas Sever’s work on remote sensing. After that the host of the show talked to a journalist about Saturno’s more recent discovery of the astronomical tables at Xultun. This journalist, whose name I do not remember since that part of the show is not available online, continued to describe the Maya calendars and, you guessed it already, December 21, 2012. There were some disinformation in that latter section. One notable thing is that the journalist said that the 52 years long Calendar Round consists of a combination of the solar year (365 days) and Venus (!). Bad error… She also said that on December 21, 2012 we reach the end of a 13 baktun cycle and it will begin once again. I have written extensively on this blog that that is most likely not the case. Actually, the very information from Xultun that she mentioned a minute or so earlier contradicts her statement. The astronomical tables show no end after 13 baktun. One of the distance numbers mention a date 17 baktuns into the future from that time (early 9th century, roughly 10 baktun). Why don’t these journalists consult at least one Mayanist before they write up their manuscript? I always wonder how much disinformation one receives about other topics these popular science shows broadcast…



  1. how come I can understand mayan languages of south and meso america? I know sanskrit! http:\\\smartxpark5849

    • Oh, so there are Maya languages in South America as well? Lol…

      • The Mayan languages (alternatively: the languages of the Mayas)[1] form a language family spoken in Mesoamerica and northern Central America. Mayan languages are spoken by at least 6 million indigenous Maya, primarily in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize and Honduras. In 1996, Guatemala formally recognized 21 Mayan languages by name,[2] and Mexico recognizes eight more.[3]

        The Mayan language family is one of the best documented and most studied in the Americas.[4] Modern Mayan languages descend from Proto-Mayan, a language thought to have been spoken at least 5,000 years ago; it has been partially reconstructed using the comparative method.

        Mayan languages form part of the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area, an area of linguistic convergence developed throughout millennia of interaction between the peoples of Mesoamerica. All Mayan languages display the basic diagnostic traits of this linguistic area. For example, all use relational nouns instead of prepositions to indicate spatial relationships. They also possess grammatical and typological features that set them apart from other languages of Mesoamerica, such as the use of ergativity in the grammatical treatment of verbs and their subjects and objects, specific inflectional categories on verbs, and a special word class of “positionals” which is typical of all Mayan languages.

        During the pre-Columbian era of Mesoamerican history, some Mayan languages were written in the Mayan hieroglyphic script. Its use was particularly widespread during the Classic period of Maya civilization (c. 250–900 AD). The surviving corpus of over 10,000 known individual Maya inscriptions on buildings, monuments, pottery and bark-paper codices,[5] combined with the rich postcolonial literature in Mayan languages written in the Latin script, provides a basis for the modern understanding of pre-Columbian history unparalleled in the Americas.

      • Thanks for lecturing a Mayanist… Where are the South American Maya located?

  2. Maya America is Bharath India Language-

    Language Concordance – Maya of Meso and South Americas and Bharath – IndiaLanguages – Part I – Overview

    • I looked through your scribd links, and found the following statement:

      “1. Maya of South and Meso America lived in an ecological niche and isolation till about only 400 years back. This is what history tells us.”

      I’m not the sort to decide that a howler like this means that *everything* an author says must be rubbish. However, if the author doesn’t recognize or won’t acknowledge that it’s a howler, then I usually decide that the probability of him saying anything worth reading is too low for me to spend any more time on his work.

      So, do you acknowledge that the statement I quoted is a blunder?

  3. MuxTun sir, not at all. Thank you for reading my work. The ultimate fulfillment for any author is that his work be read by somebody. If the genre of his work is reporting reality (that which exists) it is “science” as generally understood. The shades of truth in reporting reality are many.And I thank the Gods (being a Hindu) for that. Otherwise “study and research” will close shop and deny the child of the future its birth right to investigate. I fail to understand “the howler” bit. The history, I along with a lot of people have been taught is that Christopher Columbus discovered America. You asked, “So, do you acknowledge that the statement I quoted is a blunder?” reminds me of the movie, “My cousin Vinnie” (if I remember right) where the witness answers “… ” purporting to be a “trick question.Words are but envelopes with contents, intents and a world within them. My favourite is Groucho Marx, “If you don’t like my views, I have more”.

    Peace! Om Shanti! You do your thing I’ll do mine

    The Hunting Of the Snark – Carrol Reminds me of!home/mainPage

    • You’ve used a great many words to say that don’t recognize that what you said is a blunder. Maybe you really are that ignorant of history and geography, or maybe you’re not honest enough to admit when you’re wrong. Your posturing and pompous lecturing to people who detect your errors are typical “crank” behavior.

      • Cranks tend to crank up the volume of their howling.

  4. Dr.Johan Normark you thanked me for a lecture and asked Where are the South American Maya located? Sir they reside in and Google – I reside in India and have never been to your hemisphere

  5. Dr,Johan Nomark, the world and I thank you for being Mayanist. And continuing to be one for a while. I’ll remember to thank you when I am invited to Stockholm. Hope you will remember me if you are invited earlier.

  6. Maya languages of South and Meso America are phonetic meaning you need to hear them to understand them. That the natives had a script to write down what they spoke is denied by the European conquerors. Nevertheless there exists huge carved artefacts with heiroglyphics which speak more than what could ever have been written down. In order to utter the sounds of the Mayan languages, latin script transliterations are used. This is given the fancy name, “orthography”. Now Bharath India languages including Sanskrit have devanagari, telugu and tamizh scripts. For an Indian, that is a Bharath Indian (native to the India) speaking Maya is cake walk. The transliteration script currently in vogue among researchers is simply machine converted into Devanagari, telugu and tamil scripts. Understanding what is obtained is next step. Here the clue to understanding is not trying to find equivalent “words” and meanings – but it is going a bit deeper and trying to understand with “dhatu” of sanskrit and elements of the teachings of Tolkappiyar of life that svara gives to vya~jjana. It is important to understand that both in Maya and the Indian languages there are no nonsensence sounds – and each sound has a specific meaning in relation to concept to context.

    For example whisky is a word. It may mean something to native English. But for the Mayan or Cherokee it is “fire water” a liquid the burns. This generally is Object(with attribute1, with attribute2, not with attribute) etc. For example, kedar object(has attribut, a field, an area, a divine being, Shiva that is protector of fields) So a person named kedar or rama or venkat is not gods personified rather the child is sought to be under the protection of the divine being. The “scientific work” of Mayanists ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous. Questioning is the foundation of science. Reality may be one but reporting that reality, truth has many shades. It is hoped that this work (draft) will be imkpetus to the young in India to take up study of the Mayan languages. And they have no reason to crib since they anyway think they need to know what is what everywhere except their home. And you cannot get further than the Americas which are on the opposite side of our globe.And movement latitudinally in any direction from there will get them closer to home

    A reading of the document below will make life easier for those interested

    • Your translation öf Maya words in this post shows that you are wrong but I wish you good luck.


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