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The combination of consonant-vowel syllabic glyphs and logographs in a

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The combination of consonant-vowel syllabic glyphs and logographs in a  [#permalink]

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The combination of consonant-vowel syllabic glyphs and logographs in ancient Mayan gave the scribes a variety of choices with which to write the words of their texts in detail. For example, one very common honorific title in Maya texts is ahaw, meaning ―lord‖ or ―noble.‖ Ahaw may be written in logographic form as a head in profile, with the distinctive headband or scarf that marked the highest nobility in Maya society. But it is also possible to write the word as a combination of three phonetic, syllabic signs: a-ha-wa. Likewise, the word pakal (―shield‖) can be indicated by a depiction of a shield or by the combination of syllabic elements pa-ka-la.

Mayan signs are by nature highly pictorial, often representing in considerable detail animals, people, body parts and objects of daily life. The pictorial principle is taken to the extreme in inscriptions composed of ―full-figure‖ glyphs, in which individual signs and numbers become animated and are shown interacting with one another. None of this should be taken to mean that the Maya only wrote in simple pictures. The Maya wrote both logographically and phonetically, and within their phonetic system alone, the Maya had multiple options. All English words
are formed from various combinations of only 26 phonetic signs. By contrast, all Maya words can be formed from various combinations of nearly 800 consonant-vowel glyphs, each representing a full syllable. Sounds are formed by combining a particular consonant with one of the five vowels (hence a syllabary, rather than an alphabet).

Because many Maya signs remain undeciphered, it‘s not possible to state precisely the relative proportions of logographic and syllabic signs. But a significant number of the logograms have been deciphered and the number of deciphered syllabic signs keeps growing. Epigraphers have filled more than half of the syllabic grid, meant to plot the consonants of the spoken Maya language against its vowels and thus represents the totality of signs needed to write the language. It must be remembered that the discovery of the structure of the syllabic elements—Knorozov‘s main contribution—was made a little more than 30 years ago. Furthermore, the consonant-vowel syllables that are already understood are the common ones.

Nonetheless, the pace of phonetic decipherment is bound to increase in the coming years as more resources are trained on it. One aspect of Maya writing that may complicate this progress is the fact that different signs can be allographs. Such equivalences are common in Maya texts (there are at least five different signs that could be chosen to represent the Maya syllable ba). Each scribe chose from several different signs to convey the sounds. In evaluating a particular phonetic interpretation of a syllable, it‘s helpful to identify as many as possible of the variant forms; so the process of recognizing allographs depends on the slow work of comparing many texts in order to find variant spellings of the same word.
1. The author mentions Knorozov in the third paragraph in order to:
A. prove that the recent discovery of Maya signs has led to its lack of decipherment.
B. offer an explanation for what may appear to be a relative paucity in the completion of the Maya sign syllabic grid.
C. argue that expert linguists have been stymied in their attempts to decipher and understand many allographic Maya signs.
D. show how the understanding of other linguistic structures may improve the comprehension of Maya syllabic signs.
E. weaken the argument stated in the previous paragraph

2. As used in the passage by the author, the term ―logographic‖ most closely refers to:
A. a written phonetic representation of a word.
B. a syllabic division of an individual word.
C. an imagistic representation of an idea.
D. a visual picture of an idiomatic phrase.
E. the process of designing a logo

3. The author of the passage would be LEAST likely to agree with which of the following statements?
A. Languages whose writing is composed of pictorial signs can demonstrate a remarkable degree of complexity and detail.
B. Linguistic signs based on syllabic or phonetic coding may be easier to decipher than those based on visual images.
C. Logographic languages are restricted to the expression of simple ideas because of their emphasis on image.
D. The existence of allographs in Maya signs indicates the complexity of this linguistic system.
E. The Mayans made use of both logographics as well as phonetics


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Re: The combination of consonant-vowel syllabic glyphs and logographs in a  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2018, 07:44

Topic and Scope

- The author discusses the nature and in particular the complexity
of Maya writing.

Mapping the Passage


¶1 explains that pictoral and phonetic representations in Maya writing can often be
used interchangeably for the same word.
¶2 points out that in the system of Maya writing signs can be either pictoral or
phonetic.
¶3 describes progress in deciphering the ―syllabic grid.‖
¶4 suggests that the speed of decipherment will increase, but may be slowed down by
allographs, different signs that represent the same sound.
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Re: The combination of consonant-vowel syllabic glyphs and logographs in a  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2018, 07:46

Answers and Explanations


1)

As usual, use your map to get a rough prediction. Knorozov is mentioned in ¶3, which deals with progress in detangling the syllabic grid. A check of the passage shows that his purpose is to illustrate just this. (B) fits.
(A): Distortion. The author isn‘t trying to prove that Mayan signs have done anything, only to detail progress. This choice is too extreme.
(B): The correct answer
(C): Distortion. The author argues in ¶4 that allographic signs might make decipherment a longer process, but doesn‘t argue that it‘s stymied the experts.
(D): Out of Scope. The author doesn‘t discuss other linguistic structures, and so this can be safely eliminated as being outside the passage‘s scope.
(E): This does not weaken anything mentioned earlier in the passage.

2)

Go back to ¶2, where the author says in line 17 that the Maya wrote both ―logographically and phonetically.‖ Since the phonetic symbols are described as syllabic sounds made of consonants and vowels, logographs must be the other type of representation: pictoral symbols. The author backs this up with examples throughout the passage. (C) simply paraphrases the idea of pictoral representation.
(A): Opposite. This is phonetics, the other way Mayans wrote.
(B): Opposite. As above, this is an example of phonetic communication.
(C): The correct answer
(D): Distortion. Though logographs are visual representations, the author never suggests that they can represent an entire phrase, but rather only a single word.(E): Incorrect. Takes the meaning too literally.

3)

Paraphrase the author‘s main idea: Mayan writing is complex for several reasons but is steadily being deciphered. Based on this, the author would disagree with (C): Mayan writing doesn’t convey simple writing, the author would argue, because it‘s more than just ―simple picture writing.‖
(A): Opposite. This is the opposite of the correct answer: the author would argue that Mayan is just such a language, and that it can indeed represent complexity.
(B): Out of Scope. The author never makes this comparison, and so it‘s impossible to say whether the author would agree with this statement or not.
(C): The correct answer
(D): Opposite. This summarizes the point of ¶4: allographs add a layer of complexity to the language that makes deciphering it more difficult.
(E): Opposite. This is mentioned in the second paragraph.
Strategy Point:
Remember that questions asking for a statement that the author would be least
likely to agree with may contain wrong answers that are Out of Scope, even though
most wrong answer choices will be things that the author does agree with.

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Re: The combination of consonant-vowel syllabic glyphs and logographs in a  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2018, 19:32
Hi Guys,

I have a query regarding Q3

Answer choice (B) - Linguistic signs based on syllabic or phonetic coding may be easier to decipher than those based on visual images.
is marked incorrect. This means author agrees with this. May I know which section of passage helps to retrieve the relevant information.

Thanks..
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Re: The combination of consonant-vowel syllabic glyphs and logographs in a &nbs [#permalink] 29 Oct 2018, 19:32
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