2. Februar 2021
The use of punctuation marks has not been documented for classic Maya hieroglyphic writing so far. However, we know from colonial Yucatec dictionaries of the 16th and 17th century that there was a term for inserting such marks. Two dictionaries, the San Francisco dictionary and the Diccionario de la Lengua Maya by Juan Pio Pérez mention terms such as t'a h ts'ib "tilde, puntos en la escritura" and u t'ahal sabak, which are compounds based on the nouns t'ah "drops of a liquid", sabak "ink" and tz'ib "writing" respectively. Thunil dzib “drop writing” was another word for “punto en escritura”. Colonial Yucatec scribes thus had access to a philological terminology, but we do not know for sure whether these concepts already existed in the pre-Hispanic period, or whether they are the result of contact with European scribal practice. Only a few authors have so far commented on the topic of punctuation in the Maya script, including Martha Macri and Matthew Looper, who deny the existence of punctuation or signs indicative of reading known from the Maya script.