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I've been working on revamping the Aztec writing system page with all the latest research that have fallen into my grubby hands. The first addition is the Aztec syllabary. Instead of simply copying what's in the research papers, I have gone out and found the actual examples of the glyphs in various 16th century manuscripts whenever possible. 

Obviously I didn't jetset around the world to gaze upon these gems. A lot of ancient books and manuscripts are now digitally scanned and places on online archives. They are absolutely invaluable tools for both serious researchers as well as casual amateurs. 

So here's the Aztec syllabary. It's pretty big in real life, so it's quarter size here. Click on it to see the bigger version.

I am also going to have a chart of logograms and explanation on how the various glyphs are put together.  Another new section would be the area calculations that involved trigonometry and fractional numbers.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 21st, 2008 03:57 am (UTC)
would u happen to know how to write yaretzi in aztec see that my daughters name but dont know how to write it in aztec i wanna do a tattoo with her name
Oct. 22nd, 2008 02:09 am (UTC)
Re: hi
A phonetic rendering would be difficult right now. First, we don't know what are the phonograms for "ya" and "tzi". Also, there's no "r" sound in Nahuatl, and even if we use the nearest sound, "tl", we still don't know the glyph for "tle".

However, if you tell me the meaning of your daughter's name, I could potentially translate it into Aztec. It wouldn't read "Yaretzi", but it would mean that.
Feb. 19th, 2011 11:45 pm (UTC)
Re: hi
Yaretzi means "you will always be loved" but i want to find out the symbol or image for the name.
Nov. 21st, 2008 12:57 am (UTC)
I love this
Do you have more info on what this syllabary is based on? I.e. why you chose these glyphs to represent the syllables?

I know Nahuatl can have consonants at the end of a syllable, is it correct to assume that there are potential ambiguities?

I think this is great. I wonder if these could be simplified so as to make hand writing and software fonts viable.

Good work - I can't wait to see what comes next.
Nov. 21st, 2008 06:28 pm (UTC)
Re: I love this
This is the actual Aztec/Nahuatl syllabary being discovered and reconstructed by a number of Mesoamerican archaelogists. I didn't create them out of thin air. What I did was to use actual glyphs found in ancient manuscripts as they had color and thus make a more dramatic representation.

Nahuatl certainly has consonants at the end of syllables but unlike Maya writing, as far as current research knows, Nahuatl simply discard these ending consonants. There isn't a lot of possibilities for ambiguities because more often than not there'd be logograms associated with the syllabic signs and thus you know for a fact what the glyphs mean.

Nov. 24th, 2008 12:48 am (UTC)
Re: I love this
Ah, I get it, and I'll read the article. It sounds fascinating.

I was under the impression that the Maya (and perhaps the Zapotec) were the only pre-columbian civilizations that possessed a phonetic writing system. It always seemed troubling to me. How do you administrate a vast empire with only logographic writing?

Btw - do you know were to find a complete list of Aztec glyphs? I've searched the internet but can only find subsets.

Nov. 26th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC)
Merry Christmas
Hello, you site is very funny he told me to cheer up .. Merry Christmas.
Jesse Alcala
Aug. 12th, 2016 02:35 am (UTC)
Modernize it! lol
I really wish I was a better linguist. I've always wanted to make a syllabary for Nahuatl based off of the older one. One that like Hiragana(for Japanese) is easy to write, though maybe a bit difficult to learn. So that we could have a system that is ours, and based off of our historical writing. I've tried several times, but I've never been able to finish it and be happy.

Maybe a better linguist might have this idea, or stumble upon this comment and try their hand at a proposal. Hopefully one day, that'd be cool. :D
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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