Learn its origins and pronunciation 

Are you ready to learn what is the Mayan language?

Did you know Mayan language is one of the oldest in Mexico? Currently, there are more than 800,000 inhabitants who still speak it and preserve its richness. The entire Mayan language is made from 31 different dialects, and only two of them have been considered “dead”.

The two “dead” dialects are Chicomucelteco and Cholti, while the other 29 continue to be a form of communication between the communities that share Mayan culture as heritage.

READ MORE: MAP OF THE MOST SPOKEN INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES IN MEXICO

In Mexico, Mayan language is spoken in states such as Quintana Roo, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatán, Tabasco, as well as some variants in Veracruz and San Luis Potosí. The Mayan language is part of the culture in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

All these dialects can be grouped into five subfamilies:

Ch’ol – tzotzil

Ch´ol, Chontal de Tabasco, Chorti, Tzetzal and Tzotzil.

Huasteca

Chicomucelteco and Huasteco

Yucatecan

Itzá, Lacandón, Maya Mopán and Maya Yucateco

Chujeana-Kanjobal

Chuj, Jacalteco, Kanjobal, Motozintleco and Tojolobal

Quicheana-Mameana

Aguacateco, Cakchiquel, Ixil, Kekchí, Mam, Pokomam, Pokomchí and Quiché.

All of these variants of the Mayan language are descendants of a language called Protomaya that’s estimated to be 5,000 years old. It emerged in Mesoamerica and divided into several Mayan languages, but it preserved much of its pronunciation. 

All these changes were due to various geographical factors, human movements, as well as time factors. 

The Mayan language is based on monosyllabic morphemes, that is words or elements for their formation. In this language, gender does not exist, although there are prefixes to indicate animate, sacred, or inanimate gender. There are also no articles, and for example, many of its verbs also work as pronouns.  

As in Spanish, Mayan is composed of consonants and vowels, which have two tones; one high and one low.  

These words can be glottalized, which means the sound produced comes from the glottis, an opening in the larynx where the vocal cords meet. These words are written with this spelling sign (‘), called glottal. 

Although it seems as a complex language, the truth is that Mayan is easy to learn. On the Internet, you can find various dictionaries from Mayan-Spanish created by educational institutions such as the Autonomous University of Yucatán (UADY). 

So, to start practicing we have chosen some very simple phrases that you can learn and surprise everyone who accompanies you on your next trip to a place where the Mayan language is spoken:

What is Mayan language?

  

What is Mayan language?
What is Mayan language?

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