Converting Words: Maya in the Age of the Cross (The by William F. Hanks

By William F. Hanks

This pathbreaking synthesis of background, anthropology, and linguistics provides an remarkable view of the 1st 2 hundred years of the Spanish colonization of the Yucatec Maya. Drawing on a rare variety and intensity of resources, William F. Hanks files for the 1st time the an important position performed by means of language in cultural conquest: how colonial Mayan emerged within the age of the move, the way it used to be taken up via local writers to develop into the language of indigenous literature, and the way it eventually turned the language of uprising opposed to the approach that produced it. Converting phrases includes unique analyses of the linguistic practices of either missionaries and Mayas-as present in bilingual dictionaries, grammars, catechisms, land files, local chronicles, petitions, and the forbidden Maya Books of Chilam Balam. Lucidly written and vividly unique, this significant paintings provides a brand new method of the research of spiritual and cultural conversion that would remove darkness from the heritage of Latin the United States and past, and may be crucial analyzing throughout disciplinary boundaries.

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Extra resources for Converting Words: Maya in the Age of the Cross (The Anthropology of Christianity)

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16 Thus in Yucatán the lengua is always a European capable of interpreting between Maya and Spanish. 18 The same valuation is evident in the staffing of the Yucatecan missions. 19 In short, competence in Maya was a form of capital and a justification for claims to authority. Accordingly, the religious did a variety of things to demonstrate their own expertise in Maya and to use it in their writings. Missionary lenguas wrote dictionaries, vocabularies, artes (practical grammars), grammars, lexicons, in short, a whole range of linguistic studies.

This fact has consequences for historical research, of which two are worth underscoring here. First, the missionary linguistic works are far from mere descriptions; they are codifications of an ongoing process of linguistic conversion. Second, the evangelical works were far from innocent translations of doctrine. Rather, they embodied and helped propagate the emergent version of Maya that was to be the product of reducción. This new translingual Maya had a pervasive impact on written genres produced by Maya authors themselves.

In Yucatán this bore primarily on the northwestern region of the peninsula, where the resettlement was concentrated and most of the missions were established. ” 10 This consisted in the transformation of Maya language from the pagan, idolatrous code that (to Spanish ears) it had been into a revised Map 1. Colonial Yucatán (after Farriss 1984) Introduction 7 and reordered language fitted to the discursive practices of an emerging community of Christian Indios. In concrete terms, this entailed creating in Maya very powerful discourse markers such as the cross, the quadrilateral spatial grid (oriented from east to west), dates, titles, signatures, and the naming of places and persons.

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