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Session of september 30

Informative note of M. Philippe Nondédéo, under the patronage of M. Nicolas GRIMAL : « Naachtun : organisation, essor et histoire d’une capitale régionale maya ».

Abstract : Located in the heart of the Maya lowlands, close to the Guatemala border with Mexico, the Maya city of Naachtun emerges more and more as a regional capital that played a significant role in the political history of this region during the Classic period (AD 150-950). Situated between the two superpowers of that period —Calakmul to the north and Tikal to the south—, and seat of the powerful but poorly known “Bat” kingdom, Naachtun reveals progressively its political history closely linked with that of these two entities, specifically its active involvement in the Conquest of Tikal in 378 AD by a military expedition organized from the distant Mexican city of Teotihuacan. Since 2010, a multi-disciplinary and international French-Guatemalan team tries to understand the social and political organization of this city during its millennia-old occupation as well as the management of its local resources (water and soils supply, agrarian practices, among others) through intensive excavations and environmental studies carried out by a great number of specialists in archaeology and in related disciplines (artifacts study (ceramic, lithic, figurines,…), epigraphy, archaeozoology (fauna and mollusks), physical anthropology and bio-anthropology, geography-hydrography, sedimentology, paleo-ecology and charcoal analysis.
In this presentation, we will provide a brief overview of the project’s lines of investigations focusing on some significant progress on Naachtun political history, key factors of its evolution and the local resources management we are actually able to trace.

Keywords : Maya lowlands, archaeology, Naachtun, “bat kingdom”, Classic Period

Lectures of M. Viktor Porkhomovsky, under the patronage of M. Christian ROBIN : « The Oral and the Written from Synchronic and Diachronic Perspective ».

Abstract : The aim of the present paper is to present the diversity and the correlation of the essential elements of the oral and the written. Our study is based on the data from Afro-Asiatic (Hamito-Semitic) family, which includes the languages with the longest written traditions in history, on the one hand, and numerous unwritten languages, on the other.
The process of transition from the oral to the written in the situations of creation and adaptation of the written language is the best object for a comparative analysis of the various aspects in the functioning of the oral and the written, since this transition period renders specific features of both paradigms more transparent. Three aspects have been examined in our study: symbolic, ritual, and structural. Our typological model of the ways of creation and diffusion of writing comprises five main types. This model is based on two binary oppositions:

  1. Creation versus borrowing of writing.
  2. Existence versus absence of writing in a particular socio-linguistic milieu in the time period of creation or borrowing of a new writing system.

Symbolic importance of writing systems in different situations is demonstrated on various examples with a special focus on three Hausa writing systems (Hausa belongs to the Chadic branch of Afro-Asiatic language family.)
The ritual aspect of oral traditions and information structures of oral ritual texts are examined in the present paper. The data was taken from Socotri ritual songs and texts contained in the Biblia Hebraica. (Socotri is an unwritten Semitic language of the island of Socotra). In the closing passage of the paper the structural aspect is analyzed within the framework of syntactic constructions. The correlation of parataxis and hypotaxis, the degrees of subordination, the volume of sentences and nominal groups are used as the indices of the structural opposition of the oral and the written. This is corroborated by the results of statistic analysis of the inception and evolution of the written norm in Hausa.

Keywords : oral, writing, parataxis, hypotaxis, information structure


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