Hypertextuality, Complexity, Creativity: Using Linguistic Software Tools to Uncover New Information about the Food and Drink of Historic Mayans


  • Rose Lema Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalapa




bromatology, fractals, hypertext, lexias, three-body theory, Mayan culture, creativity


In this essay on natural language I present a computer-supported study of words, sentences and hypertexts concerning bromatology (the study of food and drink) in a XVI century Maya-Spanish Calepin—the most complete and extended dictionary ever written on the culture of the constructors of the wonderful and prestigious Mayan cities of Uxmal, Kalakmul, Chichén-Itzá (ARZÁPALO, 1995). For constructing a complex corpus, I apply concepts of the three-body and the fractal dimension theories (POINCARÉ, 1908; MANDELBROT, 1975). First, I register an initial body of text by simply searching via the find key for abbreviations of bromatology and botany already recorded by the citation word in the Calepin. Then, I arbitrarily shorten the Spanish form corresponding to tasty and gather it through the whole dictionary. This way I obtain three bodies of interpretative meaning, lexias (BARTHES, 2002). Second, I establish the second and the third dimensional hypertextual relations between the gleaned words or sentences of text as well as their co-occurrences by using the comprehensive linguistics software, Tropes, a lexical and content analysis mixed tool, which brings up the qualitative and quantitative data pertinent to the research. Third, to bring back the colonial Maya voices of the Calepin, I surf the Internet and add to both written bodies of text a third text composed of beautiful colored images presenting food, drinks and tasty dishes that are still enjoyed by the Maya today and have been appreciated for almost five centuries. Notwithstanding the above, neither one of the three bodies (corpora) nested fractally one inside the other is exhaustive. Nonetheless, the study of their interrelations could lead to the deepening of our knowledge on the complex juxtaposition between Siglo de Oro and Maya languages and cultures in the Yucatán Peninsula.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1202215


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Author Biography

Rose Lema, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalapa

Rose LEMA is a Linguistics and Anthropology professor at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Mexico City. Her PhD dissertation deals with issues on Maya Culture. Her actual research method has a base in prospective convergence of the following fields: Chaos theory, complexity, creativity, transdisciplinarity, qualitative analysis, art, cultural studies, humanities and social sciences, semiotics, discourse analysis, ethnography, ethnoecology, postmodern anthropology. She has published books and articles in Germany, France and Mexico. She has given many presentations at conferences in Australia, Europe and the Americas.




How to Cite

Lema, R. (2012). Hypertextuality, Complexity, Creativity: Using Linguistic Software Tools to Uncover New Information about the Food and Drink of Historic Mayans. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-13.2.1852



Creativity and New Tools in Qualitative Computing