- Indiana Jones: "It's an extinct Latin American language. Pre-Columbian syllabic base. See? Diagonal stresses on the ideograms. Definitely Koihoma."
- Mutt Williams: "You speak it?"
- Indiana Jones: "Nobody speaks it. It hasn't been heard aloud in 3,000 years. Might be able to read a bit, though, if I walk it through Mayan first."
- ―Indiana Jones and Mutt Williams[src]
Koihoma was an extinct Latin American language. Its written form used ideograms for its syllables.
History[edit | edit source]
In 1957, Harold Oxley wrote a cryptic letter in this language. It contained a riddle which when solved would reveal the location of the Crystal Skull of Akator at Orellana's grave. He sent the note to Marion Ravenwood, who mailed it to her son Mutt Williams, who gave it to Indiana Jones.
After escaping from some KGB agents on the Marshall College campus, Jones began to decipher the note, and, using Heyerdahl's treatise on Mesoamerican langugages, realized that it was in Koihoma, and marveled at Oxley's cleverness to encode a message in a dead language. Unable to read Koihoma directly, Jones used the Mayan language to help him with the translation.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
Koihoma, as depicted in the film, appears to be a combination of two languages: the language's name (Koihoma) is a real language of Peru, and a Mesoamerican written language.
The real world Koihoma language was once spoken in the regions of northeastern Peru/southern Colombia, and was not related to the Mayan language at all, but possibly a Witotoan language. It is not likely to have a pre-Columbian written form. Koihoma is regarded as extinct in the 20th century, but may have lasted longer than the 3,000 years that Jones notes.
There are several extinct Mesoamerican languages that had developed their own syllabic writing systems, some of which would be connected to the Mayan writing system.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull novel
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull comic