Authored by: Rusty Barrett

The Mayan Languages

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415738026
eBook ISBN: 9781315192345
Adobe ISBN:


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With a literary tradition spanning two millennia, Maya poetics has received much scholarly attention (e.g. Edmonson 1971, 1982; Tedlock 1983; Sam Colop 1994; Hull and Carrasco 2012). The Mayan languages share a common poetic tradition that is a robust example of cultural continuity between pre-Columbian and contemporary Maya communities. The poetic structures found in Hieroglyphic Maya texts are remarkably similar to those found in contemporary poetry and music. These same poetic structures are a regular part of everyday life in Maya communities, occurring in conversations, narratives, and other speech events. This chapter outlines the primary structures in the Maya poetic tradition, focusing on patterns of grammatical parallelism.

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