Aztec writing and language

aztec technology

To make the situation clearer, Aztec warriors are shown with the captives along with the destroyed temple. The previous examples are taken from the Codex Mendoza, and they provide both the Aztec and Spanish versions of the information they are conveying.

Aztec writing translation

Aztec Writing The Aztecs wrote using symbols called glyphs or pictographs. Phonogram A phonogram is the closest we get to an Aztec alphabet. An example of the Aztec pictographs The Aztec Codices The Aztec Codices were essentially long books written on strips of paper, the Aztecs took great pride in them and carefully folded each Codice into a tube with wood covering each end. These drawings were used to disseminate information and knowledge which was passed in the oral and pictographic form from previous generations to the next ones. The most important calendrical cycle observed by the Aztecs was the day sacred calendar, called tonalpohualli in Nahuatl. Because of the way the math worked out, only four day signs, namely Calli, Tochtli, Acatl, and Tecpatl, could be part of a year's name, and hence they were called "year bearers". The ideographic nature of the writing is apparent in abstract concepts, such as death, represented by a corpse wrapped for burial; night, drawn as a black sky and a closed eye; war, by a shield and a club; and speech, illustrated as a little scroll issuing from mouth of the person who is talking. It was an adapted form of the previous writing systems that existed in Central Mexico, in particular the Zapotec writing whose influence can be seen in the first Oaxacan inscriptions. The city is famous for its magnificent ruins, which are among some of the best preserved in all of Mexico. These codices serve as a basis for most of the study about the Ancient Aztec Empire, and feature a mix of images and Aztec writing. Sometimes the phonetic glyphs serve to complement logograms, in that they spell out one or more syllables of the logogram. One of the main connections between the Aztec and the other societies of Mesoamerica can best be seen in language.

As the renewed Nahuatl is being taught, a new way of writing it is coming into use, in an attempt to unite the various dialects with a common writing system. Classical Nahuatl is the name of the language that was spoken by the people of the Aztec empire.

Classical Nahuatl was used as a literary language with works such as poetry, history, and administrative documents written around the 16th and 17th centuries. Like other Mesoamerican scripts, the core of Nahuatl writing consists of a set of calendrical signs and a vigesimal number system.

aztec writing and language

It can be indicated by h, j, ' or a grave accent, e. In these cases, a logogram was used for its phonetic value instead of its meaning in order to represent another root, suffix, or syllable which sounded identical to the logogram.

The Spanish missionaries introduced the Latin alphabet then taught the language as far as the Honduras and El Salvador. Once again the grammatical ending -c is omitted.

This means that the Aztec wrote using images that represented the different words or themes of which they wished to express.

Mayan written language

All the years are painted in a sequence and most of the years are generally in a single straight line that reads continually from left to right. The calendar had days. Note that while logograms are transcribed using upper-case letters, phonetic signs are transcribed with lower-case letters. Note that logograms are transcribed using bold upper case letters in their root forms, meaning the unchanging part of the word. The glyphs would be used to remind you of various aspects of the story, and you would have to fill in the blanks. Macuilxochic is composed of the roots macuil-li "five", represented by five dots , xochi-tl "flower", represented by the logogram XOCHI , and the suffix -c "place" which is omitted. They performed the New Fire Ceremony on this day. The system the Aztecs used was through the use of pictures and symbols for their alphabet and vocabulary. This system was used for the calculation of tax and tribute which was important for the empire. If you say the word the picture represents, and put it together with others, you can get words and sentences totally unrelated to the objects the pictures look like. Pictographs were used for recording important events, tracing genealogies of the ruling class, recording court processing, and for other details. The ending -tlan is once again omitted. To indicate that the multiple glyphs forming a number belong to a single sign group, a line is drawn to connect all the glyphs.
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Aztec Empire for Kids: Writing and Technology