A Linguistic Look at the Olmecs

  title={A Linguistic Look at the Olmecs},
  author={Lyle Campbell and Terrence S. Kaufman},
  journal={American Antiquity},
  pages={80 - 89}
This paper explores the hypothesis that the archaeological Olmecs, at least in part, were speakers of Mixe-Zoquean languages. The hypothesis is supported by not only geographical and temporal correlation, but by Mixe-Zoquean loan words in other Mesoamerican languages, many of which refer to things diagnostic of the Mesoamerican culture area. Also the cultural inventory revealed in Proto-Mixe-Zoquean vocabulary provides additional support. 
Mixe-Zoquean Languages
Nahuatl -ka words: evidence for a proto-Uto- Aztecan derivational pattern
This paper argues that typological characteristics for morphological construction are reflected within a given language's lexicon. Since it provides internal etymologies for Nahuatl, the existence of
Olmec Proto-Mixe-Zoquean: Can You Dig It?
Wichmann's (1995) reconstruction of Proto-Mixe-Zoquean (PMZ) uses data from 39 sources, from 18 sources, to propose a glottochronological dating of 1500 BCE for PMZ.
The origin of writing systems: Preclassic Mesoamerica
Abstract This paper focuses on the origins of Mesoamerican writing, analyzing remains of precursor systems in terms of the linguistic and graphic resources for the emergence of written language. This
On Proto-Languages and Archaeological Cultures: pre-history and material culture in the Tukanoan Family
This work analyzes the cultural history of the Tukanoan family by attempting the reconstruction of 107 words related to the material culture shared by Amazonian peoples, especially in the Northwest
Proto-Uto-Aztecan: A Community of Cultivators in Central Mexico?
Authorities on the origin and history of Uto-Aztecan have held that speakers of the protolanguage were foragers who lived in upland regions of Arizona, New Mexico, and the adjacent areas of the
Areal Linguistics and Middle America
Middle America (also called Mesoamerica, henceforth MA), as a product of the culture area concept, is only one of the approximately 35 areas into which most anthropologists (and others) interested in
Meso-America as a linguistic area
That Meso-America constitutes a legitimate linguistic area has been questioned. To address this question, concepts of 'areal linguistics' are here surveyed and refined. Proposed Meso-American areal
Diphrastic Kennings on the Cascajal Block and the Emergence of Mesoamerican Writing
This article examines a potential ‘throne–mat’ kenning in the Middle Formative period Olmec writing on the Cascajal Block, an incised serpentine slab dated to c. 900 bc . It is suggested that signs
Olmec archaeology: A half century of research and its accomplishments
The Olmec of Mexico's southern Gulf coast (3100-2450 B.P.) are the most famed of Formative period Mesoamerica's early complex cultures, and are particularly noted for their elaborate stone monuments.


Teco: A New Mayan Language
  • T. Kaufman
  • Linguistics
    International Journal of American Linguistics
  • 1969
* I spent the month of December 1967 in Motozintla, a town in SE Chiapas (Mexico) which lies about 10 miles from the Guatemala border. In the summer of 1967 I had done 2 months of field work with
Mayan Loan Words in Xinca
  • Lyle Campbell
  • Linguistics
    International Journal of American Linguistics
  • 1972
Xinca is a language of the Santa Rosa Department of southeastern Guatemala. It is unaffiliated with other languages, although the suggestion that Lenca may be related seems plausible. Xinca is still
The Prehistory of the Southeastern Maya Periphery
THE VERITABLE EXPLOSION of archaeological research activity in the Maya area during the past 15 years has affected primarily the core areas of prehistoric Maya cultural development: the highlands of
The Last Lenca
  • Lyle Campbell
  • Linguistics
    International Journal of American Linguistics
  • 1976
ye/ becomes Mc/e:/.7 Thus, these words attest the pre-Micmac sequences */-ikwe: ye-k/ and */-ikwe:ye-ya:n/ respectively. The most plausible reconstruction for (2) is thus PA */-i:nkwe:ye-/ have such
Serie de Vocabularios Indigenas 'Mariano Silva yAceves' 7. Institute Lingiiistico de Verano
    , and B . Stoudt 1965 Vocabulario Mixteco
    • America ' s first civilization : discovering the Olmec
    • 1968
    Some recent hypotheses on Mayan diversification. Language Behavior Research Lab, Working Paper 26. Berkeley. 1969b Teco-a new Mayan language
    • International Journal of American Linguistics
    • 1969