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Mayan Writing
The Maya were one of the only Native American groups to develop a system or writing.  There is some evidence that asserts the borrowing of ideas for the system from the Olmec.  This has yet to be scientifically proven to my knowledge, so the credit here shall remain with the Mayan.

Pictographs are a very basic system of writing and almost universally the first type developed by a culture.  The Mayan system probably began in this way, but eventually progressed into a syllabic system.  This type of system made each vowel and consonant combination a separate and specific symbol.  Finally, the system combines syllables into complex pictographs known as hieroglyphics. (Glyphs for short).

Once this level of sophistication is attained, any language can be written using the same symbols as long as the types of sounds match the Mayan sounds.  This is common for most languages with only a few exceptions.

Here is a picture of a Mayan scribe.  A scribe is someone who knows how to write.  This was quite an accomplishment because Mayan symbols are extemely hard to differentiate.  To the untrained eye they appear to be complex bubble letters.  Here is a scribe who might have been seen recording astronomical or religious information with his porcupine quill pen.

Mayan Symbols are called "Glyphs".  These symbols are either carved into stone, or written on Mayan books called "Codices". These were vividly colored and lengthy histories, stories, legends, and astronomical data combined for centuries.  With such a wealth of knowledge one can easily see the advanced civilization with which we are dealing.  Unfortunately, this knowledge has not survived.  Spanish priests and missionaries were responisible for its preservation and its destruction.
Initially, the priests were actively attempting to translate the codices into Spanish.  As the attempts at covervsion were not completely extinguishing the older "pagan" religion, and the codices contained religious ritual directions, the priests gathered the codices together and burned them.  There are 4 codices, of countless hundreds, which survive today.  We know little of the Mayan civilization when we had an excellent opportunity to know much. best sources of glyphs today are found on stone carvings in Mayan ruins.  Here is an example.
Mayan Stone Carving

Hot Mayan Links
Writing for the serious student-
Write your name in Mayan Glyphs-
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