Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Olmec did not speak Mixe-Zoque

Some researchers assume that since Mixe-Zoquan is spoken in the Olmec heartland today, this language was spoken by the ancient inhabitants of Olman: the Olmecs, in ancient times.

But the location of Mixe-Zoquan speakers in this region today does not mean it was spoken in the region in the past. Today it is spoken in the Tuxtla Mountains.The Otomanguean family include Zapotec, Mixtec and Otomi to name a few.

The hypothesis that the Olmec spoke an Otomanguean language is not supported by the contemporary spatial distribution of the languages spoken in the Tabasco/Veracruz area.Thomas Lee in R.J. Sharer and D. C. Grove (Eds.), Regional Perspectives on the Olmecs , New York: Cambridge University Press (1989, 223) noted that
"...closely Mixe, Zoque and Popoluca languages are spoken in numerous villages in a mixed manner having little or no apparent semblance of linguistic or spatial unity. The general assumption made by the few investigators who have considered the situation, is that the modern linguistic pattern is a result of the disruption of an Old homogeneous language group by more powerful neighbors or invaders...."

If this linguistic evidence is correct, many of the languages in the Otomanguean family are spoken by people who may have only recently settled in the Olmec heartland, and may not reflect the people that invented the culture we call Olmecs today.

Moreover if the Olmec had spoken a Mixe-Zoquean language and gave the Maya writing they should have influenced the Mayan language. This is not the case.

Brown has suggested that the Mayan term for writing c'ib' diffused from the Cholan and Yucatecan Maya to the other Mayan speakers. This term is 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 family.

Mixe tradition also suggest that another people lived in the Olmec heartland when they arrived in the area. In "The Mixe of Oaxaca: Religion, Ritual, and Healing", by Frank J. Lipp it is noted that:
"The elders say that there was a people who possessed considerable knowledge and science and that they could make children sick by simply looking at them. At one time they came from a part of Veracruz and took up residence here. However, they spoke a different language. Clearly, they were also Mixe but their language was very modified, and we did not understand the words they spoke"(p.77).

This group was probably the Mande speaking Olmec.Finally, the Mixe hypothesis is not supported by the evidence for the origin of the Mayan term for writing. The Mayan term for writing is not related to Zoque.

In summary Mayan tradition makes it clear that they got writing from another Meso-American group. Landa 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. Brown has suggested that the Mayan term c'ib' diffused from the Cholan and nYucatecan Maya to the other Mayan speakers. This term is 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 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, and 3) there is no such thing as "pre-Proto-Zoque" falsifies the hypothesis that the Mixe were the Olmec people. This evidence makes it clear that the Olmec were called Xiu, and they did not speak Mixe languages.

Due to the lack of evidence for a Mixe origin of the Olmec writing Houston and Coe believe that that the Olmec must of spoken another language. They suggest that the language may have been Huastec .

The Huastec hypothesis is not supported by the linguistic evidence. Swadesh provides linguistic evidence that 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.This linguistic evidence is supplemented by Amerindian traditions regarding the landing of colonist from across the Atlantic in Huasteca .


Marco Peter said...

Hi Clyde,
Is that profile pic you superimposed over one of the Olmec head statues?
I'm not a student of anthropology, but am never the less very interested in the idea that african and other caucasian groups from the very distant past, visited, settled and influenced south american populations.
I wonder where the advanced technology came from for their counting system and knowledge of stella procession.
Marco Peter, Pokhara, Nepal.

Unknown said...

Hi Marco,
Their Counting System, And Knowledge Of Stella Procession Came From The Fact That They Were/ Are Ancient Nubun (Negroid) Scientists From Another Greater Star System Who Built Pyramids All Over The World, Teaching And Civilizing
The Other Races,In Particular On The Cycles Of Absolute Nature Dealing With Natural Time. Leaving With Us The So-Called "Mayan" Calendar, Which Is Pointing Out/To The Fact The We Live In A Binary Star System. Forcing Humans To Adapt To An Enlarged Electromagnetic Spectrum, And The Eventual Extinction Of All Melanin Deficient Beings. Research This In Earnest, For It Is All Fact.(Google: Walter Cruttenden)

Unknown said...


Marco Borg said...

Ha, Ha! Put it to two-note music!!

Marco Borg said...

I don't think melanin is great. I think it stinks. The under-parts of my hands and feet are melanin-deficient. So is half my lower-lip. Kareem, can you tell me how to get a Michael Jackson look without spending too much money? He looked so much better than his brothers.

Unknown said...

...Friend I'll Put It To 8 Notes(Octave)..Every Human Has This Necessary Cosmic Substance,Which Determines Your Attunement To The Life Giving Sun(s)----The Creators And Controllers Of The Cosmos. It Also Directs Your Activities On The Spiritual,Mental,And Physical Levels. (When Not Interfered With Through Toxic Dysfunctional Living.)It Doesnt Get Any More Wonderous Than That! And Further More Marco..If You Really Want The Michael Jackson Look, I Suggest You Swallow A Whole Bottle Of Chlorox,Then Gently Lie Down To Die. Either Way You'll Get Your Wish. Who Knows? You Might Look Better Than Mike Jacko Himself!!

Unknown said...

..Oh I Also Forgot To Add That The More Of This Cosmic Dust(MELANIN) You Have In Your Being, The Closer You Are To Nature. Ever Wondered What The Rape And Pillaging Of Mother Earth By Melanin Recessives Was All About? Well Probably Not..Hey, Only Fools Duck When The Truth Is Thrown At Them! Get Your Mind Right And Get Ready For Whats About To Go Down