Back in 1996 I made notes about an interesting substitution set that pointed to a reading BIX for a logogram shown here, which makes an appearance in a few inscriptions from Yaxchilan, La Corona, Dos Pilas, Coba, as well as a few others. This value may well have been noted by others back around the same time, if not before, but I thought I would post my old hand-written note summarizing the evidence (having just now found them in an old notebook).
The sign was used to write the intransitive verb bix, “to go,” in a small variety of settings. This verb root can be traced historically to proto-Ch’olan *bix (Kaufman and Norman 1980) and in ancient texts it appears on Dos Pilas HS 4 (see page bottom) as BIX-ya, for bix-iiy, “he went” (in reference to the fleeing of the local ruler Bahlaj Chan K’awiil from Dos Pilas). Spelled BIX-ya or bi-xi-ya, the same verb was used in temporal expressions ho’ bix-iiy, “five days ago” or wuk bix-iiy, “seven days ago” (see top examples on page below). A variant form of this verb is bix-Vn, “to go, go away,” which appears in Colonial Ch’olti’ and in the glyphs as well. Several examples occur in the texts of La Corona (spelled BIX-na 0r, for the compl,tive, BIX-ni-ya), where they refer to the journeys of the young noble K’inich ? Yook from his home to Calakmul (Chihknahb). A related example turned up long after I wrote those original old notes, on Panel 1 from La Corona (at right), discovered in 2005 by Marcello Canuto. There we read bix-Vn chihknahb, “he goes to Chihknahb” (the same expression appears on Panel 2, but with a different date — see “Site Q” examples illustrated at the middle of the page).
My favorite example of these “go” verbs comes from Altar de Sacrificios, where on Panel 2 we have bi-xi-ni-ya, for bix-Vn-iiy, “he went away.” Rather than referring to a journey in the real world, this is a citation of a local ruler’s death (cited in more conventional terms on Stela 4, an associated inscription).
I’m as yet unsure what if any semantic distinction existed between between the verbs bix and bix-Vn, and they may just be regional variants. The bix root is likely based on the noun *bih, “road,” and I find it interesting that this etymology is graphically reflected in the logogram sign itself, which incorporates an infixed BIH/bi element.
Here are my old scribbles on this stuff from 1996:
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