Page 18 - ChilamBalam
P. 18









Present edition
V ariants occurring in Maya MSS. 


i (vowel)
i,y



ii (double vowel)
ii, ij


y (semivowel)
t, i, ll (rare)


u (vowel and u,v

semivowel)



c c, qu (before e and i, rare) 


z z,̧,s


pp
pp, p




Only one abbreviation is generally used in the Maya manuscripts: this is the character y, 
which stands for yetel, a word having the double meaning of "with" and "and." A few 

manuscripts, chiefly legal documents, substitute for this another abbreviation, yt, and 
only rarely is the word yetel written out in full. In the present rendition of the Maya text 

the writer has followed Brinton's example and transcribed this abbreviation just as it is 

found in the Chumayel manuscript instead of writing out the word in full.


The text of the Books of Chilam Balam is not divided into sentences, and many portions 

are not separated into paragraphs. Words are frequently wrongly divided into syllables, 
and proper names rarely begin with capital letters. Inasmuch as an excellent 

photographic reproduction of the original manuscript of the Book of Chilam Balam of 

Chumayel has been published by the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania and is 
accessible to the student, it has been considered advisable in the present edition to 

divide the Maya text into such chapters, paragraphs, sentences and words as are called 

for by the meaning of the subject-matter, and to begin sentences and proper names with 
capital letters. The method of determining which words are proper names has been 

discussed elsewhere. The text is often divided into short phrases by colons or dashes. 
Such punctuation is sometimes inconsistent and even occurs in the middle of a proper 

name, but it frequently corresponds somewhat to the meaning of the text. For this 

peculiar system of punctuation, the Maya student is referred to the published 
reproduction of the manuscript.



We now come to the mistakes found in the manuscript. Juan Josef Hoil was on the 
whole an unusually careful copyist, and the writer is inclined to ascribe most of the 

errors to his sources. As Professor Tozzer has already noted, these texts are probably 

copies of copies and have been garbled somewhat in passing from hand to hand. In the 
Chumayel manuscript a garbled phrase is often accompanied by a vacant space, 

indicating that the copyist was not able to read all the words of his source at that point. 
In these cases it is often possible to correct the text from a parallel passage in another 

manuscript. In the case of such a correction, however, the reader is referred to a foot- 

note in which the corrected word or phrase is given as it is actually written in the 
manuscript. Sometimes a passage is obscure because of the omission of a word or




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