“Cracking the Code,” Learn how to read and speak Mayan based off of Stela 3

I’ve been extremely busy this last week. Busy with finals and organizing my graduation ceremonies to keep up with blogging. I finally got some time to catch up, take a deep breath and dive into the backlog of anthropology news. I’ve found some interesting things and will blog about it now that my life isn’t in overdrive.

For those interested in Mesoamerican linguistics, is this interactive exercise in learning how to read and speak in Mayan. I found it off of Digg and it comes from the “Cracking the Code” initiative which I mentioned in April. This exercise is based off of Stela 3, which is currently on found on a pyramid at the Maya site of Piedras Negras in northwestern Guatemala, more information about Stela 3 can be found here. In this excercise, you’ll see ancient Maya glyphs from Stela 3 on the left and to the right are the phonetic transcriptions of the glyph and sound bite (spoken by Barbara MacLeod). Accompanying notes help translate each glyph’s meaning. You’ll get a good taste of how the language sounds and flows, as well as some insight into hieroglyphic languages.

Here’s a screenshot of the interactive Flash application:

6 thoughts on ““Cracking the Code,” Learn how to read and speak Mayan based off of Stela 3

  1. I’m very interested in Mayan Glyphs, because I’m fluent in Tzotzil (also spelled “Tsotsil”), one language that belongs to the Mayan Linguistic family. I’m not a native speaker though, but I’ve been translating several texts with some native speakers into that language. One of the texts we’ve working on is the famous Popol Vuh.

    After reading the Michael Coe’s book “Cracking the Maya Code”, a new idea started to take form in my mind: what possibilities have we to “resurrect” classical Maya Writing? Not all the Maya Syllabary Grid is been completed until now. The modern Tzotzil language fits perfectly that writing system, for it comes from the same origin. Can you help me or can you help me to contact someone who can give me some information of any kind about this issue? For I’m not only interested in reading Maya, but writing it in a modern way. Of course we prefer phonetic glyphs rather that logographic, for those are more practical to write modern concepts. Who knows? Maybe logographic ones can be used too. I will appreciate any comment about this.

    1. Are you familar with the annual Mayan Glyph Conference that has been occuring in at the University of Texas in Austin for the last 30plus years. It inculdes a series of week long workshop and training sessions that are for beginning , intermediate and adavaced student of the mayan glyphs. The web site


      should lead you to the manuals and materials for studing the glyphs – If you can’t find the matearils let me know and I can send you some.

  2. Alfonso Jasso, I have a lot of material for learning mayan writing and glyphs; I am learning it also. I have received help from many professional experts, who have gave me a lot of material. So if you are still interested in learning send me a message to my alternate e-mail : sicologia30000@hotmail.com
    Or if you have some useful material for learning mayan glyphs writing send me a message I will appreciate your help.

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