Psycholinguistic and psychological foundations of the decoding of the Maya writing (to the 100th anniversary of the birth of Yuri Knorozov)

Keywords: Yuri Knorozov, Maya, writing, decipherment, psycholinguistic and psychological analysis


The article is devoted to the psycholinguistic and psychological grounds for the interest in the language and culture of the Maya people by Yuri Knorozov, a genius native of Kharkiv. It was Knorozov who deciphered the Mayan script, which made it possible to read Mayan books, inscriptions on monuments, and continue to replenish the treasury of knowledge about this people.

The figure of the scientist and his research methods have been largely distorted in a number of scientific works and in the media. This article refutes these insinuations and explains the prerequisites for Yurii Knorozov's interest in Maya writing. Such a study is being conducted for the first time.

The origins of Knorozov's interest in Mayan culture lie in his childhood. Yurii's parents used a deeply thought-out system of child-rearing, developing a love of literature and art in their children.  Yurii Knorozov's children's drawings have been preserved, some of which are illustrations to Konstantin Balmont's works about Mexico, primarily about the history, mythology, and archaeological sites of the Maya. The family used to write coded notes to each other. In the future, this helped Yurii Knorozov to find a system for deciphering Mayan hieroglyphics.

During his student years, Knorozov began researching Mayan books. He developed a method of positional statistics and cross-reading, identifying 355 hieroglyphs; he also discovered the sign-phonetic syllable relationship in Mayan writing.

Yurii Knorozov's scientific heritage, research methods, and biographical facts require further analysis. The figure of the scientist and his works should be popularized in Ukraine.


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Author Biography

Iryna Kononenkо, University of Warsaw

Doctor of Philology (Ukraine), Habilitated Doctor (Poland), Professor of the Department of Ukrainian Studies, Faculty of Applied Linguistics


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How to Cite
KononenkоI. (2023). Psycholinguistic and psychological foundations of the decoding of the Maya writing (to the 100th anniversary of the birth of Yuri Knorozov). The Journal of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Series “Philology”, (93), 90-97.