Page:Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx.djvu/80

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language for the benefit of students? Are we not told that Bishop Landa acquired a great proficiency in it? Was he not for many years a teacher of it? Has he not composed a grammar of that tongue for the use of his pupils? What right, then, have men in our age, innocent of all knowledge of Maya language, even as spoken to-day, however great may be their attainments in any other branch of learning, to pass judgment on, worse still, to condemn, a learned teacher of that language, charging him with ignorance and incompetency, simply because he assigns various meanings to a character?

Perhaps Mr. Champollion le jeune will be branded in like manner, because he tells us that the Egyptians represented indifferently the vowels A, I, 0, E by the character feather? [1] "We see effectively," says the learned discoverer of the Egyptian alphabet, "the leaf or feather as their homophones, to mean, according to the occasion, an A, an I, an E, and even an O, as the א (aleph) of the Hebrews. So do we find in the Egyptian tongue, written with Coptic letters, a dialect that uses indifferently α for ο, where the other two write ο only, and ε where the other two write α. We have in the same dialect αβε and οβεSitire; ακε — "reed," "rush," Juncus.[2]

  1. Champollion le jeune, Précis du Système hiéroglyphique des Anciens Egyptiens, p. 111, Paris, 1828.
  2. Aké is likewise a word belonging to the Maya language. As in Egyptian, it means a "reed," a "rush," a "withe." It was the name of an ancient city the ruins of which still exist near Tixkokob, in Yucatan, on the property of Dn. Alvaro Peon. It was also a family name, as can be seen (in Appendix, note ii.) from a baptismal certificate signed by Father Cogolludo, taken from an old baptismal register found in the convent of Cacalchen. The original is now in possession of the Right Rev. Dn. Crecencio Carillo y Ancona, present bishop of Yucatan, who has kindly allowed me to make a photographic copy of Father Diego de Cogolludo's autograph.