Thursday, July 17, 2008

Olmec/Mande related to Mixe and Mayan Languages

Some Olmec became part of the Mixe nation and thus were recognized as Mixe, eventhough they spoke a different language. The best representative of this reality were probably the Otomi speakers.

Mayan tradition make it clear that they got writing from another Meso-American group. Tozzer noted that the Yucatec Maya claimed that they got writing from a group of foreigners called Tutul Xiu from Nonoulco (Tozzer, 1941). Xiu is not the name for the Zoque, Mexicans or Toltecs.
The fact that there is no evidence that 1)the Zoque were in the ancient Olmec land 3200 years ago, 2)there is no Zoque substrate language in Mayan, 3) you can not read the Epi-Olmec inscriptions using the Justenson and Kaufman method, an 4)there is no such thing as "pre-Proto-Zoque" falsifies Justenson and Kaufman hypothesis that the Olmec were Mixe speakers.

Brown has suggested that the Mayan term c'ib' diffused from the Cholan and Yucatecan Maya to the other Mayan speakers. This term is probably not derived from Mixe-Zoque. If the Maya had got writing from the Mixe-Zoque, the term for writing would Probably be found in a Mixe-Zoque language. The research indicates that no word for writing exist in this language.
Due to the lack of evidence for a Mixe origin of the Olmec writing Houston and Coe (2003) believe that that the Olmec must of spoken another language. They suggest that the language may have been Huastec (Houston & Coe, 2003).

The Huastec hypothesis is not supported by the linguistic evidence. The linguistic evidence suggest that around 1200 B.C., when the Olmec arrived in the Gulf, region of Mexico a non-Maya speaking group wedged itself between the Huastecs and Maya. (Swadesh 1953) .This linguistic evidence is supplemented by Amerindian traditions regarding the landing of colonist from across the Atlantic in Huasteca .

A study of the Mixe languages make it clear that they were influenced by the Mande speaking Olmecs.

Mixe ...................Malinke-Bambara

Cahp heaven sa

ci squach si

su night suco:n to leave ta, tyo it place taKahp small town ka, suffix joined to the name of a localitykam planting field ga, gba, kako/ku head ku(n) koh to plant, build ko ‘to create’ko:ng king, lord ko ‘person deserving respect’koya tomato koyakok maize flower kakats black maize kakushi calendar priest jose ‘priest of a cult’may ‘to divine’ ma ‘happy issue; to understand’koya tomato koyakok maize flower kakats black maize kakushi calendar priest jose ‘priest of a cult’may ‘to divine’ ma ‘happy issue; to understand’ni:p to plant mgba po:b white bo, po (superlative of white)poh,po’ wind fo ‘arid air’purap cultivating tool faalo , faaro ‘hoe’shi day,sun si-soro
It is interesting to note that the so-called Mixe loan words found in the Mayan languages show correspondence to Malinke-Bambara terms.

Mayan....Mixe-Zoquean...English..Malinke-Bambara*pat.................bark, skin.......fatachowen...pMZ. *cawi.....monkey.......sulame'.... pZO..*m 'a....deer.....m'na 'antelope'....pZO..*sah......... 'insect wing'c'iwan...pMi...*ciwa.....squash........ SI koya... Mi...koya........tomato......koya to'.....pMi...:to:h.....rain......tyo, dyo 'precipitation,2
This list of words make it clear that the so-called Mixe loan words in the Mayan languages may be the result of a Mande substratum in these languages.
The Mixe make it clear that cultivation takes place on the humid bottom land they call ta : k kam /b]. This Mixe word can not be explained in Mixe-Zoque. But when we look at this word from the perspective of the Olmec language we find that it comes from three Malinke-Bambara words [b]ta ka ga 'this is the place of cultivation':
ta 'place'ka 'to be'ga 'terrain of cultivation, act of planting, to plant'
The loans in Mixe make it clear that they were probably hunter-gatherers when the Olmec (Malinke-Bambara) speaking people carne to Qaxaca in search of minerals to make their giant heads and jade for their many artifacts.
The Mixe appear to have used the loan ko 'head of something' , to construct many words in Mixe. For example:
Mixe..............................Bambarako ca'ny 'chief snake'......kun-sa 'head snake'kocu 'of the night'........ku su 'head night'kodung 'mayor'................ku(n)dugu 'head of land, chief'

The Mixe term for calendar priest or kushi is probably also a loan from Olmec. The Olmec (Malinke-Bambara) term for 'time' is sinye and san means 'year, sky'. Thissuggest that the Mixe term kushi 'calendar priest, head priest', may come from the combination of Olmec ko 'head' and sinye 'time' or ko-sinye 'head time (keeper)'.
The Mixe nativization of ko-sinye > kushi , would not be too surprising, since the Mixe,if they were originally hunter-gatherers would have had no need for a person to recordthe seasons " a calendar priest", until they began the domestication of the cropsintroduced to Qaxaca by the Olmec people when they settled the region to exploit the richmineral deposits found in this part of Mexico.
Otomi is considered a Mixe-Zoque language. Otomi were described by the early Europeans as Negroes.
This is interesting because Dixon (1923) and Marquez (1956, pp.179-180) claimed that the Otomi had probably mixed in the past with Afficans. Quatrefages (1889, pp.406-407) alsobelieved that Afficans formerly lived in Florida, the Caribbean and Panama.
It is interesting to note that the Otomi language is genetically related to Olmec/Mande.
In both Olmec/Manding and Otomi the words are formed by adding two different terms together or an affix. Manual Orozco (p.129)records ka-ye as the Otomi word for 'holy man'. This term is formed by ka 'holy' and ye 'man'. Another word is da-ma 'mature woman'. This word is formed by ma 'woman' and da 'mature,ripe'.
Otomi and Olmec/Manding share grammatical features. The Otomi ra 'the', as in ra c,'the cold' agrees with the Manding -ra suffix used to form the present participle e.g., kyi-ra 'the envoy'.
The Otomi use of bi to form the completed action agrees with the Manding verb 'to be'hi. For example, Otomi hi du 'it died' and hi zo-gi 'he left it" ,is analogous to Manding a bi sa. Otomi da is used to form the incomplete action e.g., ci 'eat': daci 'he will eat'. This agrees with the Manding da, la affix which is used to form the factitive or transitive value e.g., la bo 'to take the place'. In addition Otomi ? no , is the completive e.g., bi ?no mbo ra'he was inside his house'. This shows affinity to the Manding suffix of the present participle -no, e.g., ji la-sigi-no 'dormant water'.
The Mezquital Otomi pronominal system shows some analogy to that of Manding, but Neve y Molina's, Otomi pronouns show full agreement:
First Second ThirdOtomi ma i,e aManding n', m' i,e a
Here are a few other Malinke- Bambara and Otomi cognate terms from the basic vocabulary:
English ......Otomi...... Mandingson/daughter... t?i,ti...... de,dieyes ..........da............ dobrother........ ku.......... korosister....... nkhu........... ben-klip........... sine ...........sinemouth.......... ne ..............neman........... ta/ye........... tye/kye
The Otomi and Manding languages also have similar syntax e.g., Otomi ho ka ra 'ngu'he makes the houses', and Manding a k nu 'he makes the family habitation (houses)'.
In conclusion, the widespread adoption of Olmec/ Malinke-Bambara lexical and grammatical features in the Mayan, Mixe languages indicate a close relationship among the speakers of these languages in Pre-Classic Mexico. The shareddiffused grammatical, lexical and phonological features discussed in this paper are probably the result from an extended period of bilingualism in ancient Mexico involving the Malinke-Bambara speaking Olmecs, and their Mayan and Mixe neigbors.
The comparison of Yucatec and Mixe to the Malinke-Bambara languages is a valid way to illustrate the ancient relationship between the Pre-Classic Maya and Olmec people who spoke a Manding language related to Malinke-Bambara.
It is clear that the Mixe were hunter-gathers when they came in contact with the olmecs. The genetic relationship between Otomi and Olmec/Mande make it clear that the so Olmec speakers became part of the Mixe nationality. As a result, when Lipp records the tradition of people entering the Mixe region who spoke a Mixe language different from their own they were accurately speaking about the Olmec whoes descendants are the Otomi speakers.
References:Delafosse, M. (1899). Vai leur langue et leur systeme d'ecriture", L' Anthropologie,10, .Delafosse, M. (1955). *La Langue Mandingue et ses Dialectes (Malinke, Bambara,Dioula). Vol I. Intro. Grammaire, Lexique Francais-Mandingue). Paris: Librarie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner.Justeson,S., William, N.M., Campbell, L, kaufman, T.S., The Foreign impact on Lowland Mayan languages and Script. Middle American Research Institute, Publication 53. New Orleans: Tulane University, 1985.Kaufman, T. (1976). Archaeological and inguistic correlations in Mayaland and associated areas of Meso-America. World Archaeology, 8, lO1-118.Manuel Orozcoy y Berra's Geografia da las lenguas y Carta Ethgrafica de Mexico, 1975.Scotton,C.M. & Okeju,J (1973). Neighbors and lexical borrowings. Language. 49,871-889.Sharer,RJ (1996). Diversity and Continuity in Maya civilization: Quirigua as a case study", in (Ed.) T. Patrick Culbert, Classic Maya Political History, (p.187). New York: Cambridge University Press.Swadesh, M. (1953). The Language of the Archeological Haustecs.Swadesh,M. Alvarez, C. and Bastarrachea, JR (1970). "Diccionario de Elementos del Maya Yucatec Colonial. Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico Centro de Estudios Mayas..

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