A number of phonemic contrasts are represented inconsistently or not represented at all by colonial orthography:

  1. It does not represent consistently the various glottal phonemes and features:
    1. /h/ is rendered consistently only at the syllable onset.
    2. /ʔ/ is not rendered at all.
    3. Glottalized vowels are not distinguished from plain vowels.
  2. Two further phonemic contrasts in vowels are not represented:
    1. Long vowels are not consistently distinguished from short vowels.
    2. Tone is not marked.

This leads to a high amount of homography, which often renders it difficult to understand the accounts of the conjugation.

The first two grammars, by Coronel and San Buenaventura, are very similar.

  1. They presuppose Latin morphological categories and recognize only their counterparts in Maya.
  2. They lack a phonology.
  3. They lack a syntax: nothing on complex nominal constructions, grammatical relations, prepositions; only fortuitous examples of complex sentences ...
  4. The largest part of the description consists of comments on the use of unclassified words and formatives.

The grammar by Beltrán is much more systematic and complete. It is the first one which analyzes the categories of the language and formulates general rules.

With very few exceptions – with the lexical fields among them –, the approach of these grammars is consistently semasiological. Nonetheless, none of them makes any reference to contemporary texts composed in Maya.

Secondary literature

Tozzer, Alfred M. 1921, A Maya grammar, with bibliography and appraisement of the works noted. Cambridge, MA: Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University (Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 9) (New York: Kraus Reprint Corporation, 1927; New York: Dover Publications, 1977); pp. 7-14, 137-207.

Bolles, David 1997, Combined Dictionary–Concordance of the Yucatecan Mayan Language. http://www.famsi.org/reports/96072/index.html

Bolles, David 2003, The Mayan Franciscan Vocabularies: A Preliminary Survey. http://www.famsi.org/research/bolles/franciscan/index.html

Barrera Vásquez, Alfredo et al. 1980, Diccionario maya Cordemex. Maya-español/español-maya. Mérida, Yucatán: Ed. Cordemex; pp. 17a - 28a.