Sunday, September 25, 2011

Water Fight on the River - Round Eight

8. Question. Was the River Sidon on a linguistic/cultural boundary?

8. Answer. No, the text of the Book of Mormon indicates that by the time of Alma II and Helaman I, people on both sides of the river spoke a common language and shared a similar material culture.
8. Exhibits. We established previously that the Mezcalapa-Grijalva was a major boundary between Mayan and non-Mayan speakers. See the article "Water Fight on the River - Round Seven" in this blog. Another view of this boundary shows the extent of Mayan language distribution. Note the isolates in the El Tajin area near Papantla in northern Veracruz.
Mayan language distribution in Mesoamerica.
The southern heart of the Usumacinta River basin is generally regarded as the original home land of the Mayan language.
Mayan language migrations out from the linguistic core.
The Usumacinta is the Mayan river par excellence. The Mezcalapa-Grijalva has been and continues to be a Zoque river at many times in many places. This is the reason the densely forested area in the Usumacinta basin of Mexico and Guatemala is often called the "Selva Maya" or "Mayan Jungle," while the Uxpanapa - Chimalapas forest that straddles Oaxaca, Veracruz and Chiapas south and west of the Mezcalapa-Grijalva River is often called the "Selva Zoque" or "Zoque Jungle."
Selva Zoque south & west of the Mezcalapa-Grijalva River.
8. Conclusion. The Mezcalapa-Grijalva does not fit this criterion. In many places it is and has been a linguistic and cultural boundary between the Mayan and Zoque worlds. The Usumacinta fits well. Advantage Usumacinta.
8. Running Score. Mezcalapa-Grijalva 0. Usumacinta 8.