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Notwithstanding his pretensions, Dr. Brinton does not know Maya, even remotely. If any further proof were needed of the truth of this assertion, it would be found in this simple sentence, "Pixe avito xnoch cizin," printed in his book (p. 174), as it is here, in italics; as is also his Spanish translation, which, with cause, I omit. He has copied both, original and translation, from a manuscript by a native of Tihosuco, named Zetina, who, it seems, was not over particular in the choice of his language. I wish to believe that the learned Professor of Linguistics is but little better acquainted with the Spanish tongue than with the Maya, else how does he dare call particular attention, by printing them in italics, to words that no gentleman would use in refined society?—words that, besides, are not a correct translation of what was probably intended to be conveyed in the Maya; the exact rendering of which in that tongue would be, "Pixe a ito, xnoch cizin," whilst the intention of Señor Zetina was to write, “Pixe a uitho, xnoch cizin." Like the majority of his countrymen, he did not know how to write correctly his mother tongue. It must be confessed very few do.

The first lesson in Maya taught to pupils is the letters of the alphabet and their proper pronunciation. At the same time they are told that several of the characters forming part of the Latin alphabet are not used in the Maya; among these the letter v.


1 Avito is not a Maya word. It has no meaning in that language.

I might be censured for publishing this sentence, which is a verbatim translation of Dr. Brinton's Spanish. My excuse for doing so is to show that the learned doctor does not know Maya, which is an unknown language outside of the countries where it is spoken; I do not therefore run the risk of shocking the sense of propriety or decency of my readers in this or in European countries.

Dr. Brinton is evidently ignorant of this elementary fact. Throughout his book, whenever he has had occasion to mention the Maya word for man, he has invariably spelled it vinic. This is Quiché. The Maya orthography of the word is uinic.

and the other

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the letters v and u were used indifferently one for the other. Thus it is that Landa, Cogolludo, Torquemada, Las Casas, writers of those times wrote both uinic and vinic. quite different, however, in our day.

It is

It is evident that the learned Professor of Linguistics does not know which is the right word in Maya for "man," any better than he knows what was the true name for each of the cardinal points among the Mayas, although Landa gives them very explicitly. Shall it be said of Dr. Brinton as of the wooden saints, He has eyes but sees not? Or has he also, perchance, the pretension of being better informed on that subject than the author of "Las Cosas de Yucatan"? In every one of his books he assigns a different name to each of said points, in the hope of perhaps hitting, in one at least, on the right name.

For instance, in his book "Myths of the New World,” article "Quiché Legends" (p. 82), he magistrally informs his readers: "The four known by the names of Kan, Muluc, Ix, Cauac, represent respectively the east, north, west, and south. As in Oriental symbolism, the east was yellow, the south red, the west black, the north white." These were the names of the guardians of the pillars that sustained the vault of heaven.2 In his "Essays of an Americanist" (p. 204), the author seems 1 D. G. Brinton, Essays of an Americanist, pp. 176, 254, 438, et passim. 2 Ibid., Myths of the New World, p. 82.

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to indorse Prof. Cyrus Thomas's interpretation of the Maya signs for the cardinal points. In that case he would take Muluc to be the north, Cauac the south, Ix the east, and Kan the west;1 but he does not know that the signs he reproduces are not the names of the cardinal points, nor even of the genii, guardians of the same, but of certain localities situated in the direction of said points. Again, in another of his works, 'Hero Myths," the learned doctor, following Bishop Landa's assertion that in his day the Mayas assigned Kan to the south, Muluc to the east, Ix to the north, and Cauac to the west, informs his readers that such were the true respective names of the cardinal points. But he probably reasoned, What did Bishop Landa know of Oriental symbolism? So he casts aside Landa's positive teachings, with the result that, today, he does not know which are really the names of said cardinal points. As for me, I positively affirm that it can be demonstrated that Bishop Landa has transmitted to us the correct name of each point, and that they agree with those given by the authors of the various Maya books and inscriptions known to us, notwithstanding the learned Dr. Brinton's opinion.s

On October 16, 1887, I wrote to him that, as I was writing a review of what had been done in the decipherment of the Maya inscriptions and books, I would be very glad, so as not to misrepresent him, if he would be kind enough to tell me which of the names he looked upon as the real one given by the Mayas to each particular cardinal point, as it was impossible to find out his opinion from his own works.

'D. G. Brinton, Essays of an Americanist, p. 204.

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