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The Mayan languages[notes 1] form a language family spoken in Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
and northern Central America. Mayan languages
Mayan languages
are spoken by at least 6 million Maya peoples, primarily in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize
Belize
and Honduras. In 1996, Guatemala
Guatemala
formally recognized 21 Mayan languages by name,[2] and Mexico
Mexico
recognizes eight more within its territory.[notes 2] The Mayan language family is one of the best-documented and most studied in the Americas.[3] Modern Mayan languages
Mayan languages
descend from the Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
language, thought to have been spoken at least 5,000 years ago; it has been partially reconstructed using the comparative method. The proto-Mayan language diversified into at least six different branches: the Huastecan, Quichean, Yucatecan, Qanjobalan, Mamean and Ch'olan-Tzeltalan branches. Mayan languages
Mayan languages
form part of the Mesoamerican language area, an area of linguistic convergence developed throughout millennia of interaction between the peoples of Mesoamerica. All Mayan languages display the basic diagnostic traits of this linguistic area. For example, all use relational nouns instead of prepositions to indicate spatial relationships. They also possess grammatical and typological features that set them apart from other languages of Mesoamerica, such as the use of ergativity in the grammatical treatment of verbs and their subjects and objects, specific inflectional categories on verbs, and a special word class of "positionals" which is typical of all Mayan languages. During the pre-Columbian era of Mesoamerican history, some Mayan languages were written in the logo-syllabic Maya script. Its use was particularly widespread during the Classic period of Maya civilization (c. 250–900). The surviving corpus of over 10,000 known individual Maya inscriptions on buildings, monuments, pottery and bark-paper codices,[4] combined with the rich postcolonial literature in Mayan languages written in the Latin script, provides a basis for the modern understanding of pre-Columbian history unparalleled in the Americas.

Contents

1 History

1.1 Proto-Mayan 1.2 Classic period 1.3 Colonial period 1.4 Modern period

2 Genealogy and classification

2.1 Relations with other families 2.2 Subdivisions

3 Distribution

3.1 Western branch 3.2 Eastern branch 3.3 Yucatecan branch 3.4 Huastecan branch

4 Phonology

4.1 Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
sound system 4.2 Phonological evolution of Proto-Mayan 4.3 Diphthongs

5 Grammar

5.1 Word order 5.2 Numeral classifiers 5.3 Possession 5.4 Relational nouns 5.5 Subjects and objects 5.6 Verbs 5.7 Statives and positionals 5.8 Word formation

6 Mayan loanwords 7 Writing systems

7.1 Glyphic writing 7.2 Colonial orthography 7.3 Modern orthography

8 Literature 9 See also 10 Notes

10.1 Citations

11 References 12 External links

History[edit] Proto-Mayan[edit]

Approximate migration routes and dates for various Mayan language families. The region shown as Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
is now occupied by speakers of the Q'anjobalan branch (light blue in other figures).[notes 3]

Mayan languages
Mayan languages
are the descendants of a proto-language called Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
or, in K'iche' Maya, Nab'ee Maya' Tzij ("the old Maya Language").[5] The Proto-Mayan language
Proto-Mayan language
is believed to have been spoken in the Cuchumatanes highlands of central Guatemala
Guatemala
in an area corresponding roughly to where Q'anjobalan is spoken today.[6] The earliest proposal was that of Sapper (1912) which identified the Chiapas-Guatemalan highlands as the likely "cradle" of Mayan languages was published by the German antiquarian and scholar Karl Sapper.[notes 4] Terrence Kaufman and John Justeson have reconstructed more than 3000 lexical items for the proto-Mayan language.[7] According to the prevailing classification scheme by Lyle Campbell and Terrence Kaufman, the first division occurred around 2200 BCE, when Huastecan split away from Mayan proper after its speakers moved northwest along the Gulf Coast of Mexico.[8] Proto-Yucatecan and Proto-Ch'olan speakers subsequently split off from the main group and moved north into the Yucatán Peninsula. Speakers of the western branch moved south into the areas now inhabited by Mamean and Quichean people. When speakers of proto-Tzeltalan later separated from the Ch'olan group and moved south into the Chiapas
Chiapas
highlands, they came into contact with speakers of Mixe–Zoque languages.[9] According to an alternative theory by Robertson and Houston, Huastecan stayed in the Guatemalan highlands with speakers of Ch'olan-Tzeltalan, separating from that branch at a much later date than proposed by Kaufman.[10] In the Archaic period (before 2000 BCE), a number of loanwords from Mixe–Zoquean languages seem to have entered the proto-Mayan language. This has led to hypotheses that the early Maya were dominated by speakers of Mixe–Zoquean languages, possibly the Olmec.[notes 5] In the case of the Xincan and Lencan languages, on the other hand, Mayan languages
Mayan languages
are more often the source than the receiver of loanwords. Mayan language specialists such as Campbell believe this suggests a period of intense contact between Maya and the Lencan and Xinca people, possibly during the Classic period (250–900).[3] Classic period[edit]

Classic period Maya glyphs in stucco at the Museo de sitio in Palenque, Mexico

During the Classic period the major branches began diversifying into separate languages. The split between Proto-Yucatecan (in the north, that is, the Yucatán Peninsula) and Proto-Ch'olan (in the south, that is, the Chiapas highlands
Chiapas highlands
and Petén Basin) had already occurred by the Classic period, when most extant Maya inscriptions were written. Both variants are attested in hieroglyphic inscriptions at the Maya sites of the time, and both are commonly referred to as "Classic Maya language". Although a single prestige language was by far the most frequently recorded on extant hieroglyphic texts, evidence for at least five different varieties of Mayan have been discovered within the hieroglyphic corpus—an Eastern Ch'olan variety found in texts written in the southern Maya area and the highlands, a Western Ch'olan variety diffused from the Usumacinta region from the mid-7th century on,[11] a Yukatekan variety found in the texts from the Yucatán Peninsula,[12] a Tzeltalan variety found in the Western Lowlands (i.e. Toniná, Pomona), and possibly a highland Maya language belonging to K'ichean major within texts painted on Nebaj ceramics.[citation needed] The reason why only few linguistic varieties are found in the glyphic texts is probably that these served as prestige dialects throughout the Maya region; hieroglyphic texts would have been composed in the language of the elite.[12] Stephen Houston, John Robertson and David Stuart have suggested that the specific variety of Ch'olan found in the majority of Southern Lowland glyphic texts was a language they dub "Classic Ch'olti'an", the ancestor language of the modern Ch'orti' and Ch’olti’ languages. They propose that it originated in western and south-central Petén Basin, and that it was used in the inscriptions and perhaps also spoken by elites and priests.[13] However, Mora-Marín has argued that traits shared by Classic Lowland Maya and the Ch'olti'an languages are retentions rather than innovations, and that the diversification of Ch'olan in fact post-dates the classic period. The language of the classical lowland inscriotions then would have been proto-Ch'olan.[14] Colonial period[edit] During the Spanish colonization of Central America, all indigenous languages were eclipsed by Spanish, which became the new prestige language. The use of Mayan languages
Mayan languages
in many important domains of society, including administration, religion and literature, came to an end. Yet the Maya area was more resistant to outside influence than others,[notes 6] and perhaps for this reason, many Maya communities still retain a high proportion of monolingual speakers. The Maya area is now dominated by the Spanish language. While a number of Mayan languages are moribund or are considered endangered, others remain quite viable, with speakers across all age groups and native language use in all domains of society.[notes 7] Modern period[edit]

Drawing with text written in the Chuj language from Ixcán, Guatemala.

As Maya archaeology advanced during the 20th century and nationalist and ethnic-pride-based ideologies spread, the Mayan-speaking peoples began to develop a shared ethnic identity as Maya, the heirs of the Maya civilization.[notes 8] The word "Maya" was likely derived from the postclassical Yucatán city of Mayapan; its more restricted meaning in pre-colonial and colonial times points to an origin in a particular region of the Yucatán Peninsula. The broader meaning of "Maya" now current, while defined by linguistic relationships, is also used to refer to ethnic or cultural traits. Most Mayans identify first and foremost with a particular ethnic group, e.g. as "Yucatec" or "K'iche'"; but they also recognize a shared Maya kinship.[15] Language has been fundamental in defining the boundaries of that kinship. Fabri writes: "The term Maya is problematic because Maya peoples
Maya peoples
do not constitute a homogenous identity. Maya, rather, has become a strategy of self-representation for the Maya movements and its followers. The Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala
Guatemala
(ALMG) finds twenty-one distinct Mayan languages."[16] This pride in unity has led to an insistence on the distinctions of different Mayan languages, some of which are so closely related that they could easily be referred to as dialects of a single language. But, given that the term "dialect" has been used by some with racialist overtones in the past, as scholars made a spurious distinction between Amerindian "dialects" and European "languages", the preferred usage in Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
in recent years has been to designate the linguistic varieties spoken by different ethnic group as separate languages.[notes 9] In Guatemala, matters such as developing standardized orthographies for the Mayan languages
Mayan languages
are governed by the Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala
Guatemala
(ALMG; Guatemalan Academy of Mayan Languages), which was founded by Maya organisations in 1986. Following the 1996 peace accords, it has been gaining a growing recognition as the regulatory authority on Mayan languages
Mayan languages
both among Mayan scholars and the Maya peoples.[17][18] Genealogy and classification[edit] See also: List of Mayan languages Relations with other families[edit] The Mayan language family has no demonstrated genetic relationship to other language families. Similarities with some languages of Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
are understood to be due to diffusion of linguistic traits from neighboring languages into Mayan and not to common ancestry. Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
has been proven to be an area of substantial linguistic diffusion.[19] A wide range of proposals have tried to link the Mayan family to other language families or isolates, but none is generally supported by linguists. Examples include linking Mayan with the Uru–Chipaya languages, Mapuche, the Lencan languages, Purépecha and Huave. Mayan has also been included in various Hokan and Penutian hypotheses. The linguist Joseph Greenberg included Mayan in his highly controversial Amerind hypothesis, which is rejected by most historical linguists as unsupported by available evidence.[20] Writing in 1997, Lyle Campbell, an expert in Mayan languages
Mayan languages
and historical linguistics, argued that the most promising proposal is the "Macro-Mayan" hypothesis, which posits links between Mayan, the Mixe–Zoque languages
Mixe–Zoque languages
and the Totonacan languages, but more research is needed to support or disprove this hypothesis.[3] In 2015, Campbell noted that recent, yet unpublished, evidence uncovered by David Mora-Marin strengthened the case for a relationship between Mayan and Mixe-Zoquean languages, although he did not yet consider it conclusive.[21] Subdivisions[edit] The Mayan family consists of thirty languages. Typically, these languages are grouped into 5-6 major subgroups (Yucatean, Huastecan, Ch'olan-Tseltalan, Q'anjob'alan, Mamean, and K'ichean).[8][21][22] The Mayan language family is extremely well documented, and its internal genealogical classification scheme is widely accepted and established, except for some minor unresolved differences.[23] One point still at issue is the position of Ch'olan and Q'anjobalan–Chujean. Some scholars think these form a separate Western branch[8] (as in the diagram below). Other linguists do not support the positing of an especially close relationship between Ch'olan and Q'anjobalan–Chujean; consequently they classify these as two distinct branches emanating directly from the proto-language.[24] An alternative proposed classification groups the Huastecan branch as springing from the Ch'olan-Tzeltalan node, rather than as an outlying branch springing directly from the proto-Mayan node.[10][13]

Distribution[edit] See also: List of Mayan languages

Map of areas where the various Mayan languages
Mayan languages
are spoken. Font sizes indicate relative sizes of speaker populations (Yucatec and K'iche' with 900,000 and 400,000 speakers respectively; 100,000–500,000 speakers; 10,000–100,000 speakers; and under 10,000 speakers.)

Studies estimate that Mayan languages
Mayan languages
are spoken by more than 6 million people. Most of them live in Guatemala
Guatemala
where depending on estimates 40%-60% of the population speaks a Mayan language. In Mexico the Mayan speaking population was estimated at 2,5 million people in 2010, whereas the Belizean speaker population figures around 30,000.[22] Western branch[edit] The Ch'olan languages were formerly widespread throughout the Maya area, but today the language with most speakers is Ch'ol, spoken by 130,000 in Chiapas.[25] Its closest relative, the Chontal Maya language,[notes 10] is spoken by 55,000[26] in the state of Tabasco. Another related language, now endangered, is Ch'orti', which is spoken by 30,000 in Guatemala.[27] It was previously also spoken in extreme west of Honduras
Honduras
and El Salvador, but the Salvadorian variant is now extinct and the Honduran one is considered moribund. Ch'olti', a sister language of Ch'orti', is also extinct.[8] Ch'olan languages are believed to be the most conservative in vocabulary and phonology, and are closely related to the language of the Classic-era inscriptions found in the Central Lowlands. They may have served as prestige languages, coexisting with other dialects in some areas. This assumption provides a plausible explanation for the geographical distance between the Ch'orti' zone and the areas where Ch'ol and Chontal are spoken.[28] The closest relatives of the Ch'olan languages are the languages of the Tzeltalan branch, Tzotzil and Tzeltal, both spoken in Chiapas
Chiapas
by large and stable or growing populations (265,000 for Tzotzil and 215,000 for Tzeltal).[29] Tzeltal has tens of thousands of monolingual speakers.[30] Q'anjob'al is spoken by 77,700 in Guatemala's Huehuetenango department,[31] with small populations elsewhere. The region of Q'anjobalan speakers in Guatemala, due to genocidal policies during the Civil War and its close proximity to the Mexican border, was the source of a number of refugees. Thus there are now small Q'anjob'al, Jakaltek, and Awakatek populations in various locations in Mexico, the United States
United States
(such as Tuscarawas County, Ohio[32] and Los Angeles, California[33]), and, through postwar resettlement, other parts of Guatemala.[34] Jakaltek (also known as Popti'[35]) is spoken by almost 100,000 in several municipalities[36] of Huehuetenango. Another member of this branch is Akatek, with over 50,000 speakers in San Miguel Acatán and San Rafael La Independencia.[37] Chuj is spoken by 40,000 people in Huehuetenango, and by 9,500 people, primarily refugees, over the border in Mexico, in the municipality of La Trinitaria, Chiapas, and the villages of Tziscau and Cuauhtémoc. Tojolab'al is spoken in eastern Chiapas
Chiapas
by 36,000 people.[38] Eastern branch[edit] The Quichean– Mamean languages
Mamean languages
and dialects, with two sub-branches and three subfamilies, are spoken in the Guatemalan highlands. Q'eqchi' (sometimes spelled Kekchi), which constitutes its own sub-branch within Quichean–Mamean, is spoken by about 800,000 people in the southern Petén, Izabal and Alta Verapaz
Alta Verapaz
departments of Guatemala, and also in Belize
Belize
by 9,000 speakers. In El Salvador
El Salvador
it is spoken by 12,000 as a result of recent migrations.[39] The Uspantek language, which also springs directly from the Quichean–Mamean node, is native only to the Uspantán
Uspantán
municipio in the department of El Quiché, and has 3,000 speakers.[40] Within the Quichean sub-branch K'iche' (Quiché), the Mayan language with the largest number of speakers, is spoken by around 1,000,000 K'iche' Maya in the Guatemalan highlands, around the towns of Chichicastenango
Chichicastenango
and Quetzaltenango
Quetzaltenango
and in the Cuchumatán mountains, as well as by urban emigrants in Guatemala
Guatemala
City.[31] The famous Maya mythological document, Popol Vuh, is written in an antiquated K'iche' often called Classical K'iche' (or Quiché). The K'iche' culture was at its pinnacle at the time of the Spanish conquest. Q'umarkaj, near the present-day city of Santa Cruz del Quiché, was its economic and ceremonial center.[41] Achi is spoken by 85,000 people in Cubulco
Cubulco
and Rabinal, two municipios of Baja Verapaz. In some classifications, e.g. the one by Campbell, Achi is counted as a form of K'iche'. However, owing to a historical division between the two ethnic groups, the Achi Maya do not regard themselves as K'iche'.[notes 11] The Kaqchikel language is spoken by about 400,000 people in an area stretching from Guatemala
Guatemala
City westward to the northern shore of Lake Atitlán.[42] Tz'utujil has about 90,000 speakers in the vicinity of Lake Atitlán.[43] Other members of the K'ichean branch are Sakapultek, spoken by about 15,000 people mostly in El Quiché
El Quiché
department,[44] and Sipakapense, which is spoken by 8,000 people in Sipacapa, San Marcos.[45] The largest language in the Mamean sub-branch is Mam, spoken by 478,000 people in the departments of San Marcos and Huehuetenango. Awakatek is the language of 20,000 inhabitants of central Aguacatán, another municipality of Huehuetenango. Ixil (possibly three different languages) is spoken by 70,000 in the "Ixil Triangle" region of the department of El Quiché.[46] Tektitek (or Teko) is spoken by over 6,000 people in the municipality of Tectitán, and 1,000 refugees in Mexico. According to the Ethnologue the number of speakers of Tektitek is growing.[47] The Poqom languages are closely related to Core Quichean, with which they constitute a Poqom-K'ichean sub-branch on the Quichean–Mamean node.[48] Poqomchi' is spoken by 90,000 people[49] in Purulhá, Baja Verapaz, and in the following municipalities of Alta Verapaz: Santa Cruz Verapaz, San Cristóbal Verapaz, Tactic, Tamahú
Tamahú
and Tucurú. Poqomam is spoken by around 49,000 people in several small pockets in Guatemala.[50] Yucatecan branch[edit]

The area where Yucatec Maya is spoken in the peninsula of Yucatán

Yucatec Maya (known simply as "Maya" to its speakers) is the most commonly spoken Mayan language in Mexico. It is currently spoken by approximately 800,000 people, the vast majority of whom are to be found on the Yucatán Peninsula.[31][51] It remains common in Yucatán and in the adjacent states of Quintana Roo
Quintana Roo
and Campeche.[52] The other three Yucatecan languages are Mopan, spoken by around 10,000 speakers primarily in Belize; Itza', an extinct or moribund language from Guatemala's Petén Basin;[53] and Lacandón or Lakantum, also severely endangered with about 1,000 speakers in a few villages on the outskirts of the Selva Lacandona, in Chiapas.[54] Huastecan branch[edit] Wastek (also spelled Huastec and Huaxtec) is spoken in the Mexican states of Veracruz
Veracruz
and San Luis Potosí
San Luis Potosí
by around 110,000 people.[55] It is the most divergent of modern Mayan languages. Chicomuceltec
Chicomuceltec
was a language related to Wastek and spoken in Chiapas
Chiapas
that became extinct some time before 1982.[56] Phonology[edit] Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
sound system[edit] Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
(the common ancestor of the Mayan languages
Mayan languages
as reconstructed using the comparative method) has a predominant CVC syllable structure, only allowing consonant clusters across syllable boundaries. Campbell & Kaufman (1985)[21][notes 12] Most Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
roots were monosyllabic except for a few disyllabic nominal roots. Due to subsequent vowel loss many Mayan languages
Mayan languages
now show complex consonant clusters at both ends of syllables. Following the reconstruction of Lyle Campbell and Terrence Kaufman, the Proto-Mayan language
Proto-Mayan language
had the following sounds.[21] It has been suggested that proto-Mayan was a tonal language, based on the fact that four different contemporary Mayan languages
Mayan languages
have tone (Yucatec, Uspantek, San Bartolo Tzotzil[notes 13] and Mocho'), but since these languages each can be shown to have innovated tone in different ways, Campbell considers this unlikely.[21]

Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
vowels

Front Central Back

Short Long Short Long Short Long

High i iː

u uː

Mid e eː

o oː

Low

a aː

Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
consonants

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal

Plain Implosive Plain Ejective Plain Ejective Plain Ejective Plain Ejective Plain

Oral stops p ɓ t tʼ tʲ tʲʼ k kʼ q qʼ ʔ

Affricates

t͡s t͡sʼ t͡ʃ t͡ʃʼ

Fricative

s ʃ x

h

Nasals m n

ŋ

Liquids

l   r

Glides

j w

Phonological evolution of Proto-Mayan[edit] Main article: Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
language The classification of Mayan languages
Mayan languages
is based on changes shared between groups of languages. For example, languages of the western group (such as Huastecan, Yucatecan and Ch'olan) all changed the Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
phoneme */r/ into [j], some languages of the eastern branch retained [r] (K'ichean), and others changed it into [tʃ] or, word-finally, [t] (Mamean). The shared innovations between Huastecan, Yucatecan and Ch'olan show that they separated from the other Mayan languages before the changes found in other branches had taken place.[57]

Reflexes of Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
*[r] in daughter languages

Proto-Mayan Wastek Yucatec Mopan Tzeltal Chuj Q'anjob'al Mam Ixil K'iche' Kaqchikel Poqomam Q'eqchi'

*[raʔʃ] "green" [jaʃ] [jaʔʃ] [jaʔaʃ] [jaʃ] [jaʔaʃ] [jaʃ] [tʃaʃ] [tʃaʔʃ] [raʃ] [rɐʃ] [raʃ] [raʃ]

*[war] "sleep" [waj] [waj] [wɐjn] [waj] [waj] [waj] [wit] (Awakatek) [wat] [war] [war] [wɨr] [war]

The palatalized plosives [tʲʼ] and [tʲ] are not found in any of the modern families. Instead they are reflected differently in different branches, allowing a reconstruction of these phonemes as palatalized plosives. In the eastern branch (Chujean-Q'anjobalan and Ch'olan) they are reflected as [t] and [tʼ]. In Mamean they are reflected as [ts] and [tsʼ] and in Quichean as [tʃ] and [tʃʼ]. Yucatec stands out from other western languages in that its palatalized plosives are sometimes changed into [tʃ] and sometimes [t].[58]

Reflexes of Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
[tʲʼ] and [tʲ][59]

Proto-Mayan Yucatec Q'anjob'al Popti' Mam Ixil K'iche' Kaqchikel

*[tʲeːʔ] "tree" [tʃeʔ] [teʔ] [teʔ] [tseːʔ] [tseʔ] [tʃeːʔ] [tʃeʔ]

*[tʲaʔŋ] "ashes" [taʔn] [tan] [taŋ] [tsaːx] [tsaʔ] [tʃaːx] [tʃax]

The Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
velar nasal *[ŋ] is reflected as [x] in the eastern branches (Quichean–Mamean), [n] in Q'anjobalan, Ch'olan and Yucatecan, [h] in Huastecan, and only conserved as [ŋ] in Chuj and Jakaltek.[57]

Reflexes of Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
[ŋ][59]

Proto-Mayan Yucatec Q'anjobal Jakaltek Ixil K'iche'

*[ŋeːh] "tail" [neːh] [ne] [ŋe] [xeh] [xeːʔ]

Diphthongs[edit] Vowel quality is typically classified as having monophthongal vowels. In traditionally diphthongized contexts, Mayan languages
Mayan languages
will realize the V-V sequence by inserting a hiatus-breaking glottal stop or glide insertion between the vowels. Some K'ichean-branch languages have exhibited developed diphthongs from historical long vowels, by breaking /e:/ and /o:/.[60] Grammar[edit] The morphology of Mayan languages
Mayan languages
is simpler than that of other Mesoamerican languages,[notes 14] yet its morphology is still considered agglutinating and polysynthetic.[61] Verbs are marked for aspect or tense, the person of the subject, the person of the object (in the case of transitive verbs), and for plurality of person. Possessed nouns are marked for person of possessor. In Mayan languages, nouns are not marked for case and gender is not explicitly marked. Inanimate nouns are not gendered, but, if necessary, the gender of animate nouns may be specified by the prefix.[citation needed] Word order[edit] Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
is thought to have had a basic verb–object–subject word order with possibilities of switching to VSO in certain circumstances, such as complex sentences, sentences where object and subject were of equal animacy and when the subject was definite.[notes 15] Today Yucatecan, Tzotzil and Tojolab'al have a basic fixed VOS word order. Mamean, Q'anjob'al, Jakaltek and one dialect of Chuj have a fixed VSO one. Only Ch'orti' has a basic SVO word order. Other Mayan languages allow both VSO and VOS word orders.[62] Numeral classifiers[edit] In many Mayan languages, counting requires the use of numeral classifiers, which specify the class of items being counted; the numeral cannot appear without an accompanying classifier. Some Mayan languages, such as Kaqchikel, do not use numeral classifiers. Class is usually assigned according to whether the object is animate or inanimate or according to an object's general shape.[63] Thus when counting "flat" objects, a different form of numeral classifier is used than when counting round things, oblong items or people. In some Mayan languages
Mayan languages
such as Chontal, classifiers take the form of affixes attached to the numeral; in others such as Tzeltal, they are free forms. Jakaltek has both numeral classifiers and noun classifiers, and the noun classifiers can also be used as pronouns.[64] The meaning denoted by a noun may be altered significantly by changing the accompanying classifier. In Chontal, for example, when the classifier -tek is used with names of plants it is understood that the objects being enumerated are whole trees. If in this expression a different classifier, -ts'it (for counting long, slender objects) is substituted for -tek, this conveys the meaning that only sticks or branches of the tree are being counted:[65]

Semantic differences in numeral classifiers (from Chontal)

untek wop (one-tree Jahuacte) "one jahuacte tree" unts'it wop (one-stick jahuacte) "one stick from a jahuacte tree"

un- tek wop un- ts'it wop

one- "plant" jahuacte tree one- "long.slender.object" jahuacte tree

Possession[edit] The morphology of Mayan nouns is fairly simple: they inflect for number (plural or singular), and, when possessed, for person and number of their possessor. Pronominal possession is expressed by a set of possessive prefixes attached to the noun, as in Kaqchikel ru-kej "his/her horse". Nouns may furthermore adopt a special form marking them as possessed. For nominal possessors, the possessed noun is inflected as possessed by a third-person possessor, and followed by the possessor noun, e.g. Kaqchikel ru-kej ri achin "the man's horse" (literally "his horse the man").[66] This type of formation is a main diagnostic trait of the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area and recurs throughout Mesoamerica.[67] Mayan languages
Mayan languages
often contrast alienable and inalienable possession by varying the way the noun is (or is not) marked as possessed. Jakaltek, for example, contrasts inalienably possessed wetʃel "my photo (in which I am depicted)" with alienably possessed wetʃele "my photo (taken by me)". The prefix we- marks the first person singular possessor in both, but the absence of the -e possessive suffix in the first form marks inalienable possession.[66] Relational nouns[edit] Mayan languages
Mayan languages
which have prepositions at all normally have only one. To express location and other relations between entities, use is made of a special class of "relational nouns". This pattern is also recurrent throughout Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
and is another diagnostic trait of the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area. In Mayan most relational nouns are metaphorically derived from body parts so that "on top of", for example, is expressed by the word for head.[68] Relational nouns are possessed by the constituent that is the reference point of the relation, and the relational noun names the relation. Thus in Mayan one would say "the mountain's head" (literally "its head the mountain") to mean "on (top of) the mountain". Thus in the Classical Quiché of the Popol Vuh
Popol Vuh
we read u-wach ulew "on the earth" (literally "its face the earth").[citation needed] Subjects and objects[edit] Mayan languages
Mayan languages
are ergative in their alignment. This means that the subject of an intransitive verb is treated similarly to the object of a transitive verb, but differently from the subject of a transitive verb.[69] Mayan languages
Mayan languages
have two sets of affixes that are attached to a verb to indicate the person of its arguments. One set (often referred to in Mayan grammars as set A) indicates the person of subjects of intransitive verbs, and of objects of transitive verbs. They can also be used with adjective or noun predicates to indicate the subject.[70]

Set A

Usage Example Language of example Translation

Subject of an intransitive verb x-ix-ok Kaqchikel "You [plural] entered"

Object of a transitive verb x-ix-ru-chöp Kaqchikel "He/she took you [plural]"

Subject of an adjective predicate ix-samajel Kaqchikel "You [plural] are hard-working."

Subject of a noun predicate 'antz-ot Tzotzil "You are a woman."

Another set (set B) is used to indicate the person of subjects of transitive verbs (and in some languages, such as Yucatec, also the subjects of intransitive verbs, but only in the incompletive aspects), and also the possessors of nouns (including relational nouns).[notes 16]

Set B

Usage Example Language of example Translation

Subject of a transitive verb x-ix-ru-chöp Kaqchikel "He/she took you guys"

Possessive marker ru-kej ri achin Kaqchikel "the man’s horse" (literally: "his horse the man")

Relational marker u-wach ulew Classical Quiché "on the earth" (literally: "its face the earth", i.e. "face of the earth")

Verbs[edit] In addition to subject and object (agent and patient), the Mayan verb has affixes signalling aspect, tense, and mood as in the following example:

Mayan verb structure

Aspect/mood/tense Class A prefix Class B prefix Root Aspect/mood/voice Plural

k- in- a- ch'ay -o

Incompletive 1st person sg. Patient 2nd person sg. Agent hit Incompletive

(K'iche') kinach'ayo "You are hitting me"

Tense systems in Mayan languages
Mayan languages
are generally simple. Jakaltek, for example, contrasts only past and non-past, while Mam has only future and non-future. Aspect systems are normally more prominent. Mood does not normally form a separate system in Mayan, but is instead intertwined with the tense/aspect system.[71] Kaufman has reconstructed a tense/aspect/mood system for proto-Mayan that includes seven aspects: incompletive, progressive, completive/punctual, imperative, potential/future, optative, and perfective.[72] Mayan languages
Mayan languages
tend to have a rich set of grammatical voices. Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
had at least one passive construction as well as an antipassive rule for downplaying the importance of the agent in relation to the patient. Modern K'iche' has two antipassives: one which ascribes focus to the object and another that emphasizes the verbal action.[73] Other voice-related constructions occurring in Mayan languages
Mayan languages
are the following: mediopassive, incorporational (incorporating a direct object into the verb), instrumental (promoting the instrument to object position) and referential (a kind of applicative promoting an indirect argument such as a benefactive or recipient to the object position).[74] Statives and positionals[edit] In Mayan languages, words are usually viewed as belonging to one of four classes: verbs, statives, adjectives, and nouns.[citation needed] Statives are a class of predicative words expressing a quality or state, whose syntactic properties fall in between those of verbs and adjectives in Indo-European languages. Like verbs, statives can sometimes be inflected for person but normally lack inflections for tense, aspect and other purely verbal categories. Statives can be adjectives, positionals or numerals.[75] Positionals, a class of roots characteristic of, if not unique to, the Mayan languages, form stative adjectives and verbs (usually with the help of suffixes) with meanings related to the position or shape of an object or person. Mayan languages
Mayan languages
have between 250 and 500 distinct positional roots:[75]

Telan ay jun naq winaq yul b'e.

There is a man lying down fallen on the road.

Woqan hin k'al ay max ek'k'u.

I spent the entire day sitting down.

Yet ewi xoyan ay jun lob'aj stina.

Yesterday there was a snake lying curled up in the entrance of the house.

In these three Q'anjob'al sentences,the positionals are telan ("something large or cylindrical lying down as if having fallen"), woqan ("person sitting on a chairlike object"), and xoyan ("curled up like a rope or snake").[76] Word formation[edit] Compounding of noun roots to form new nouns is commonplace; there are also many morphological processes to derive nouns from verbs. Verbs also admit highly productive derivational affixes of several kinds, most of which specify transitivity or voice.[77] Some Mayan languages
Mayan languages
allow incorporation of noun stems into verbs, either as direct objects or in other functions. However, there are few affixes with adverbial or modal meanings.[citation needed] As in other Mesoamerican languages, there is widespread metaphorical use of roots denoting body parts, particularly to form locatives and relational nouns[78] such as Tzeltal/Tzotzil ti' na "door" (lit. "mouth of house"), or Kaqchikel chi ru-pam "inside" (lit. "mouth its-stomach").[citation needed] Mayan loanwords[edit] A number of loanwords of Mayan or potentially Mayan origins are found in other languages, principally Spanish, English, and some neighboring Mesoamerican languages. In addition, Mayan languages
Mayan languages
borrowed words, especially from Spanish.[79] A Mayan loanword is "cigar". "Sic" is Mayan for "tobacco" and "sicar" means "to smoke tobacco leaves". This is the most likely origin for cigar and thus cigarette.[80] The English word "hurricane", which is a borrowing from the Spanish word huracán is considered to be related to the name of Maya storm deity Jun Raqan. However, it is probable that the word passed into European languages from a Cariban language or Taino.[81] Writing systems[edit]

Yucatec Maya writing in the Dresden Codex, ca. 11–12th century, Chichen Itza

Page 9 of the Dresden Codex
Dresden Codex
showing the classic Maya language written in Mayan hieroglyphs (from the 1880 Förstermann edition)

The complex script used to write Mayan languages
Mayan languages
in pre-Columbian times and known today from engravings at several Maya archaeological sites has been deciphered almost completely. The script is a mix between a logographic and a syllabic system.[82] In colonial times Mayan languages
Mayan languages
came to be written in a script derived from the Latin alphabet; orthographies were developed mostly by missionary grammarians.[83] Not all modern Mayan languages
Mayan languages
have standardized orthographies, but the Mayan languages
Mayan languages
of Guatemala
Guatemala
use a standardized, Latin-based phonemic spelling system developed by the Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala
Guatemala
(ALMG).[17][18] Orthographies for the languages of Mexico
Mexico
are currently being developed by the Instituto Nacional de Lenguas Indígenas (INALI).[21][84] Glyphic writing[edit] Main article: Maya script

Two different ways of writing the word b'alam "jaguar" in the Maya script. First as logogram representing the entire word with the single glyph B'ALAM, then phonetically using the three syllable signs b'a, la, and ma.

Three ways to write b'alam using combinations of the logogram with the syllabic signs as phonetic complements.

The pre-Columbian Maya civilization
Maya civilization
developed and used an intricate and fully functional writing system, which is the only Mesoamerican script that can be said to be almost fully deciphered. Earlier-established civilizations to the west and north of the Maya homelands that also had scripts recorded in surviving inscriptions include the Zapotec, Olmec, and the Zoque-speaking peoples of the southern Veracruz
Veracruz
and western Chiapas
Chiapas
area—but their scripts are as yet largely undeciphered. It is generally agreed that the Maya writing system was adapted from one or more of these earlier systems. A number of references identify the undeciphered Olmec
Olmec
script as its most likely precursor.[85][86] In the course of the deciphering of the Maya hieroglyphic script, scholars have come to understand that it was a fully functioning writing system in which it was possible to express unambiguously any sentence of the spoken language. The system is of a type best classified as logosyllabic, in which symbols (glyphs or graphemes) can be used as either logograms or syllables.[82] The script has a complete syllabary (although not all possible syllables have yet been identified), and a Maya scribe would have been able to write anything phonetically, syllable by syllable, using these symbols.[82] At least two major Mayan languages
Mayan languages
have been confidently identified in hieroglyphic texts, with at least one other language probably identified. An archaic language variety known as Classic Maya predominates in these texts, particularly in the Classic-era inscriptions of the southern and central lowland areas. This language is most closely related to the Ch'olan branch of the language family, modern descendants of which include Ch'ol, Ch'orti' and Chontal. Inscriptions in an early Yucatecan language (the ancestor of the main surviving Yucatec language) have also been recognised or proposed, mainly in the Yucatán Peninsula
Yucatán Peninsula
region and from a later period. Three of the four extant Maya codices
Maya codices
are based on Yucatec. It has also been surmised that some inscriptions found in the Chiapas highlands
Chiapas highlands
region may be in a Tzeltalan language whose modern descendants are Tzeltal and Tzotzil.[28] Other regional varieties and dialects are also presumed to have been used, but have not yet been identified with certainty.[12] Use and knowledge of the Maya script
Maya script
continued until the 16th century Spanish conquest at least. Bishop Diego de Landa Calderón
Diego de Landa Calderón
of the Catholic Archdiocese of Yucatán
Catholic Archdiocese of Yucatán
prohibited the use of the written language, effectively ending the Mesoamerican tradition of literacy in the native script. He worked with the Spanish colonizers to destroy the bulk of Mayan texts as part of his efforts to convert the locals to Christianity
Christianity
and away from what he perceived as pagan idolatry. Later he described the use of hieroglyphic writing in the religious practices of Yucatecan Maya in his Relación de las cosas de Yucatán.[87] Colonial orthography[edit] Colonial orthography is marked by the use of c for /k/ (always hard, as in cic /kiik/), k for /q/ in Guatemala
Guatemala
or for /k’/ in the Yucatán, h for /x/, and tz for /ts/; the absence of glottal stop or vowel length (apart sometimes for a double vowel letter for a long glottalized vowel, as in uuc /u’uk/), the use of u for /w/, as in uac /wak/, and the variable use of z, ç, s for /s/. The greatest difference from modern orthography, however, is in the various attempts to transcribe the ejective consonants.[88] In ca. 1550, Francisco de la Parra invented distinctive letters for ejectives in the Mayan languages
Mayan languages
of Guatemala, the tresillo and cuatrillo (and derivatives). These were used in all subsequent Franciscan writing, and are occasionally seen even today. In 1605, Alonso Urbano doubled consonants for ejectives in Otomi (pp, tt, ttz, cc / cqu), and similar systems were adapted to Mayan. Another approach, in Yucatec, was to add a bar to the letter, or to double the stem.[88]

Phoneme Yucatec Parra

pʼ pp, ꝑ, ꝑꝑ, 𝕡*

tʼ th, tħ, ŧ tt, th

tsʼ ɔ, dz ꜯ

tʃʼ cħ ꜯh

kʼ k ꜭ

*Only the stem of 𝕡 is doubled, but that is not supported by Unicode. A ligature ꜩ for tz is used alongside ꜭ and ꜫ. The Yucatec convention of dz for /tsʼ/ is retained in Maya family names such as Dzib. Modern orthography[edit] Main article: Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala

Dinner menu in Kaqchikel, Antigua, Guatemala

Since the colonial period, practically all Maya writing has used a Latin alphabet. Formerly these were based largely on the Spanish alphabet and varied between authors, and it is only recently that standardized alphabets have been established. The first widely accepted alphabet was created for Yucatec Maya by the authors and contributors of the Diccionario Maya Cordemex, a project directed by Alfredo Barrera Vásquez and first published in 1980.[notes 17] Subsequently, the Guatemalan Academy of Mayan Languages (known by its Spanish acronym ALMG), founded in 1986, adapted these standards to 22 Mayan languages
Mayan languages
(primarily in Guatemala). The script is largely phonemic, but abandoned the distinction between the apostrophe for ejective consonants and the glottal stop, so that ejective /tʼ/ and the non-ejective sequence /tʔ/ (previously t' and t7) are both written t'.[89] Other major Maya languages, primarily in the Mexican state of Chiapas, such as Tzotzil, Tzeltal, Ch'ol, and Tojolab'al, are not generally included in this reformation, and are sometimes written with the conventions standardized by the Chiapan "State Center for Indigenous Language, Art, and Literature" (CELALI), which for instance writes "ts" rather than "tz" (thus Tseltal and Tsotsil). In Mexico, names of archaeological sites and other items of historical record retain the colonial spellings, rather than the revised orthography.[citation needed] One element of the revised orthographies that is not widely accepted, especially outside the Guatemalan context, is the conversion of proper nouns (such as names of archaeological sites, modern settlements, and cultures). Thus, the Cordemex continues to use the term "Yucatán" (rather than "Yukatan") in its preface, despite the fact that its orthography does not utilize a "c", and most scholarly archaeological texts continue to print the original spellings for archaeological sites and cultures that have been canonized in the literature over the centuries.[citation needed] Literature[edit] Main article: Mesoamerican literature From the classic language to the present day, a body of literature has been written in Mayan languages. The earliest texts to have been preserved are largely monumental inscriptions documenting rulership, succession, and ascension, conquest and calendrical and astronomical events. It is likely that other kinds of literature were written in perishable media such as codices made of bark, only four of which have survived the ravages of time and the campaign of destruction by Spanish missionaries.[90] Shortly after the Spanish conquest, the Mayan languages
Mayan languages
began to be written with Latin letters. Colonial-era literature in Mayan languages include the famous Popol Vuh, a mythico-historical narrative written in 17th century Classical Quiché but believed to be based on an earlier work written in the 1550s, now lost. The Título de Totonicapán and the 17th century theatrical work the Rabinal
Rabinal
Achí are other notable early works in K'iche', the latter in the Achí dialect.[notes 18] The Annals of the Cakchiquels from the late 16th century, which provides a historical narrative of the Kaqchikel, contains elements paralleling some of the accounts appearing in the Popol Vuh. The historical and prophetical accounts in the several variations known collectively as the books of Chilam Balam
Chilam Balam
are primary sources of early Yucatec Maya traditions.[notes 19] The only surviving book of early lyric poetry, the Songs of Dzitbalche by Ah Bam, comes from this same period.[91] In addition to these singular works, many early grammars of indigenous languages, called "artes", were written by priests and friars. Languages covered by these early grammars include Kaqchikel, Classical Quiché, Tzeltal, Tzotzil and Yucatec. Some of these came with indigenous-language translations of the Catholic catechism.[83] While Mayan peoples continued to produce a rich oral literature in the postcolonial period (after 1821), very little written literature was produced in this period.[92][notes 20] Because indigenous languages were excluded from the education systems of Mexico
Mexico
and Guatemala
Guatemala
after independence, Mayan peoples remained largely illiterate in their native languages, learning to read and write in Spanish, if at all.[93] However, since the establishment of the Cordemex [94] and the Guatemalan Academy of Mayan Languages (1986), native language literacy has begun to spread and a number of indigenous writers have started a new tradition of writing in Mayan languages.[84][93] Notable among this new generation is the K'iche' poet Humberto Ak'ab'al, whose works are often published in dual-language Spanish/K'iche' editions,[95] as well as K'iche' scholar Luis Enrique Sam Colop (1955–2011) whose translations of the Popol Vuh into both Spanish and modern K'iche' achieved high acclaim.[96] See also[edit]

Mayan Sign Language Cauque Mayan (mixed language)

Notes[edit]

^ In linguistics, it is conventional to use Mayan when referring to the languages, or an aspect of a language. In other academic fields, Maya is the preferred usage, serving as both a singular and plural noun, and as the adjectival form. ^ Achi' is counted as a variant of K'iche' by the Guatemalan government. Counting Achi' there are 30 living Mayan languages. ^ Based on Kaufman (1976). ^ see attribution in Fernández de Miranda (1968, p. 75) ^ This theory was first proposed by Campbell & Kaufman (1976) ^ The last independent Maya kingdom (Tayasal) was not conquered until 1697, some 170 years after the first conquistadores arrived. During the Colonial and Postcolonial periods, Maya peoples
Maya peoples
periodically rebelled against the colonizers, such as the Caste War of Yucatán, which extended into the 20th century. ^ Grenoble & Whaley (1998) characterized the situation this way: " Mayan languages
Mayan languages
typically have several hundreds of thousands of speakers, and a majority of Mayas speak a Mayan language as a first language. The driving concern of Maya communities is not to revitalize their language but to buttress it against the increasingly rapid spread of Spanish ... [rather than being] at the end of a process of language shift, [ Mayan languages
Mayan languages
are] ... at the beginning."Grenoble & Whaley (1998), pp. xi-xii ^ Choi (2002) writes: "In the recent Maya cultural activism, maintenance of Mayan languages
Mayan languages
has been promoted in an attempt to support 'unified Maya identity'. However, there is a complex array of perceptions about Mayan language and identity among Mayans who I researched in Momostenango, a highland Maya community in Guatemala. On the one hand, Mayans denigrate K'iche' and have doubts about its potential to continue as a viable language because the command of Spanish is an economic and political necessity. On the other hand, they do recognize the value of Mayan language when they wish to claim the 'authentic Mayan identity'. It is this conflation of conflicting and ambivalent ideologies that inform language choice..." ^ See Suárez (1983) chapter 2 for a thorough discussion of the usage and meanings of the words "dialect" and "language" in Mesoamerica. ^ Chontal Maya is not to be confused with the Tequistlatecan languages that are referred to as "Chontal of Oaxaca". ^ The Ethnologue considers the dialects spoken in Cubulco
Cubulco
and Rabinal to be distinct languages, two of the eight languages of a Quiché-Achi family. Raymond G., Gordon Jr. (ed.). Ethnologue, (2005). Language Family Tree for Mayan, accessed March 26, 2007. ^ Proto-Mayan
Proto-Mayan
allowed roots of the shape CVC, CVVC, CVhC, CVʔC, an CVSC (where S is /s/, /ʃ/, or /x/)); see England (1994), pp. 77 ^ Campbell (2015) mistakenly writes Tzeltal for Tzotzil, Avelino & Shin (2011) states that the reports of a fully developed tone contrast in San Bartolome Tzotzil are inaccurate ^ Suárez (1983, p. 65) writes: "Neither Tarascan nor Mayan have words as complex as those found in Nahuatl, Totonac or Mixe–Zoque, but, in different ways both have a rich morphology." ^ Lyle Campbell (1997) refers to studies by Norman and Campbell ((1978) "Toward a proto-Mayan syntax: a comparative perspective on grammar", in Papers in Mayan Linguistics, ed. Nora C. England, pp. 136–56. Columbia: Museum of Anthropology, University of Missouri) and by England (1991). ^ Another view has been suggested by Carlos Lenkersdorf, an anthropologist who studied the Tojolab'al language. He argued that a native Tojolab'al speaker makes no cognitive distinctions between subject and object, or even between active and passive, animate and inanimate, seeing both subject and object as active participants in an action. For instance, in Tojolab'al rather than saying "I teach you", one says the equivalent of "I-teach you-learn". See Lenkersdorf (1996, pp. 60–62) ^ The Cordemex contains a lengthy introduction on the history, importance, and key resources of written Yucatec Maya, including a summary of the orthography used by the project (pp. 39a-42a). ^ See Edmonson (1985) for a thorough treatment of colonial Quiché literature. ^ Read Edmonson & Bricker (1985) for a thorough treatment of colonial Yucatec literature. ^ See Gossen (1985) for examples of the Tzotzil tradition of oral literature.

Citations[edit]

^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Mayan". Glottolog
Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Spence et al. 1998. ^ a b c Campbell (1997, p. 165) ^ Kettunen & Helmke 2005, p. 6. ^ England 1994. ^ Campbell 1997, p. 165. ^ Kaufman & with Justeson 2003. ^ a b c d Campbell & Kaufman 1985. ^ Kaufman 1976. ^ a b Robertson & Houston 2002. ^ Hruby & Child 2004. ^ a b c Kettunen & Helmke (2005, p. 12) ^ a b Houston, Robertson & Stuart 2000. ^ Mora-Marín 2009. ^ Choi 2002. ^ Fabri 2003, p. 61. n1. ^ a b French (2003) ^ a b England (2007), pp. 14, 93 ^ Campbell, Kaufman & Smith-Stark 1986. ^ Campbell 1997, pp. passim. ^ a b c d e f Campbell 2015. ^ a b Bennett, Coon & Henderson 2015. ^ Law 2013. ^ Robertson 1977. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), (2005). Ethnologue report on Ch'ol de Tila, Ethnologue report on Ch'ol de Tumbalá, both accessed March 07, 2007. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), (2005). Ethnologue report on Chontal de Tabasco, accessed March 07, 2007. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), (2005). Ch'orti': A language of Guatemala. Ethnologue.com, accessed March 07, 2007. ^ a b Kettunen & Helmke 2005, p. 12. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), (2005) Family Tree for Tzeltalan accessed March 26, 2007. ^ Lewis, M. Paul, Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). "Tzeltal" Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Eighteenth edition, (2015). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. ^ a b c Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.). Ethnologue, (2005). ^ Solá 2011. ^ Popkin 2005. ^ Rao 2015. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), (2005). Gordon (2005) recognizes Eastern and Western dialects of Jakaltek, as well as Mocho' (also called Mototzintlec), a language with less than 200 speakers in the Chiapan villages of Tuzantán and Mototzintla. ^ Jakaltek is spoken in the municipios of Jacaltenango, La Democracia, Concepción, San Antonio Huista
San Antonio Huista
and Santa Ana Huista, and in parts of the Nentón
Nentón
municipio. ^ Lewis, M. Paul, Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). "Akateko" Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Eighteenth edition, (2015). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), (2005) Tojolabal: A language of Mexico. and Chuj: A language of Guatemala. Archived 2007-10-01 at the Wayback Machine. both accessed March 19, 2007. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), (2005). Ethnologue report on Q'eqchi, accessed March 07, 2007. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), (2005) Ethnologue report for Uspantec, accessed March 26, 2007. ^ Edmonson 1968, pp. 250–251. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), (2005). Family Tree for Kaqchikel, accessed March 26, 2007. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), (2005). Ethnologue report on Eastern Tz'utujil, Ethnologue report on Western Tz'utujil Archived 2007-04-10 at the Wayback Machine., both accessed March 26, 2007. ^ Lewis, M. Paul, Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). "Sakapulteko" Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Eighteenth edition, (2015). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. ^ Lewis, M. Paul, Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). "Sipakapense" Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Eighteenth edition, (2015). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), (2005) Ethnologue report on Nebaj Ixil Archived 2008-05-04 at the Wayback Machine., Chajul Ixil Archived 2006-12-08 at the Wayback Machine. & San Juan Cotzal Ixil, accessed March 07, 2008. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), (2005) Ethnologue report for Tektitek, accessed March 07, 2007. ^ Campbell 1997, p. 163. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), (2005). Ethnologue report on Eastern Poqomam, Ethnologue report on Western Poqomchi', both accessed March 07, 2007. ^ Lewis, M. Paul, Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). "Poqomam" Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Eighteenth edition, (2015). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. ^ Población hablante de lengua indígena de 5 y más años por principales lenguas, 1970 a 2005 Archived 2007-08-25 at the Wayback Machine. INEGI ^ Lewis, M. Paul, Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). "Maya, Yucatec" Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Eighteenth edition, (2015). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. ^ There were only 12 remaining native speakers in 1986 according to Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.). Ethnologue, (2005). ^ Lewis, M. Paul, Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). "Lacandon" Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Eighteenth edition, (2015). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. ^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.). Ethnologue (2005). ^ Campbell & Canger 1978. ^ a b England (1994), pp. 30–31 ^ England 1994, p. 35. ^ a b Adapted from cognate list in England (1994). ^ England 2001. ^ Suárez 1983, p. 65. ^ England 1991. ^ See, e.g., Tozzer (1977 [1921]), pp. 103, 290–292. ^ Craig 1977, p. 141. ^ Example follows Suárez (1983), p. 88 ^ a b Suárez (1983), p. 85 ^ Campbell, Kaufman & Smith-Stark 1986, pp. 544–545. ^ Campbell, Kaufman & Smith-Stark 1986, pp. 545–546. ^ Coon 2010, pp. 47–52. ^ Suárez 1983, p. 77. ^ Suaréz (1983), p. 71. ^ England 1994, p. 126. ^ Campbell (1997), p. 164 ^ England 1994, p. 97–103. ^ a b Coon & Preminger 2009. ^ England 1994, p. 87. ^ Suárez 1983, p. 65–67. ^ Campbell, Kaufman & Smith-Stark 1986, p. 549. ^ Hofling, Charles Andrew (2011). Mopan Maya-Spanish-English Dictionary. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press. p. 6. ISBN 1607810298.  ^ Cigar, Online Etymology Dictionary. ^ Read & González (2000), p.200 ^ a b c Kettunen & Helmke (2005), p. 6 ^ a b Suárez 1983, p. 5. ^ a b Maxwell 2011. ^ Schele & Freidel 1990. ^ Soustelle 1984. ^ Kettunen & Helmke 2005, pp. 7–8. ^ a b Arzápalo Marín (2005) ^ Josephe DeChicchis, "Revisiting an imperfection in Mayan orthography" Archived 2014-11-03 at the Wayback Machine., Journal of Policy Studies 37 (March 2011) ^ Coe 1987, p. 161. ^ Curl 2005. ^ Suárez 1983, pp. 163–168. ^ a b Maxwell 2015. ^ Barrera Vásquez, Bastarrachea Manzano & Brito Sansores 1980. ^ "Humberto Ak´abal" (in Spanish). Guatemala
Guatemala
Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes. March 26, 2007. Archived from the original on February 14, 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-23.  ^ "Luis Enrique Sam Colop, 1955–2011 American Indian Studies". Ais.arizona.edu. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 

References[edit]

Arzápalo Marín, R. (2005). "La representación escritural del maya de Yucatán desde la época prehispánica hasta la colonia: Proyecciones hacia el siglo XXI". In Zwartjes; Altman. Missionary Linguistics
Linguistics
II: Orthography and Phonology. Walter Benjamins.  Avelino, H.; Shin, E. (2011). "Chapter I The Phonetics of Laryngalization in Yucatec Maya". In Avelino, Heriberto; Coon, Jessica; Norcliffe, Elisabeth. New perspectives in Mayan linguistics. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.  Barrera Vásquez, Alfredo; Bastarrachea Manzano, Juan Ramón; Brito Sansores, William (1980). Diccionario maya Cordemex : maya-español, español-maya. Mérida, Yucatán, México: Ediciones Cordemex. OCLC 7550928.  (in Spanish) (in Yukatek Maya) Bennett, Ryan; Coon, Jessica; Henderson, Robert (2015). "Introduction to Mayan Linguistics" (PDF). Language and Linguistics
Linguistics
Compass.  Bolles, David (2003) [1997]. "Combined Dictionary–Concordance of the Yucatecan Mayan Language" (Revized ed.). Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI). Retrieved 2006-12-12.  (in Yukatek Maya) (in English) Bolles, David; Bolles, Alejandra (2004). "A Grammar
Grammar
of the Yucatecan Mayan Language" (revised online edition, 1996 Lee, New Hampshire). Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI). The Foundation Research Department. Retrieved 2006-12-12.  (in Yukatek Maya) (in English) Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics
Linguistics
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(PDF). Texas Linguistic Forum 45: Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Symposium about Language and Society—Austin, April 12–14. pp. 22–31. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-03-19.  Coe, Michael D. (1987). The Maya (4th revised ed.). London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27455-X.  Coe, Michael D. (1992). Breaking the Maya Code. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05061-9. OCLC 26605966.  Coon, Jessica (2010). "Complementation in Chol (Mayan): A Theory of Split Ergativity" (electronic version). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2010-07-15.  Coon, J.; Preminger, O. (2009). "Positional roots and case absorption". In Heriberto Avelino. New Perspectives in Mayan Linguistics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 35–58.  Craig, Colette Grinevald (1977). The Structure of Jacaltec. University of Texas Press.  Curl, John (2005). Ancient American Poets. Tempe, AZ: Bilingual Press. ISBN 1-931010-21-8.  Dienhart, John M. (1997). "The Mayan Languages- A Comparative Vocabulary". Odense University. Archived from the original (electronic version) on 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2006-12-12.  Edmonson, Munro S. (1968). "Classical Quiché". In Norman A. McQuown (Volume ed.). Handbook of Middle American Indians, Vol. 5: Linguistics. R. Wauchope (General Editor). Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 249–268. ISBN 0-292-73665-7.  Edmonson, Munro S. (1985). "Quiche Literature". In Victoria Reifler Bricker (volume ed.). Supplement to the Handbook of Middle American Indians, Volume 3. Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-77593-8.  Edmonson, Munro S.; Bricker, Victoria R. (1985). "Yucatecan Mayan Literature". In Victoria Reifler Bricker (volume ed.). Supplement to the Handbook of Middle American Indians, Volume 3. Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-77593-8.  England, Nora C. (1994). Autonomia de los Idiomas Mayas: Historia e identidad. (Ukuta'miil Ramaq'iil Utzijob'aal ri Maya' Amaaq'.) (in Spanish) (2nd ed.). Guatemala
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External links[edit]

Maya civilization Maya architecture Maya calendar Mayan languages Maya mythology Maya peoples Maya religion Maya society

Huastec test of at Wikimedia Incubator

Yucatec Maya test of at Wikimedia Incubator

Ch'ol test of at Wikimedia Incubator

Tzeltal test of at Wikimedia Incubator

Mam test of at Wikimedia Incubator

Kaqchikel test of at Wikimedia Incubator

The Guatemalan Academy of Mayan Languages – Spanish/Mayan site, the primary authority on Mayan Languages (in Spanish) Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions Program at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions, Volumes 1–9. Published by the Peabody Museum Press and distributed by Harvard University Press Swadesh lists for Mayan languages
Mayan languages
(from Wiktionary's Swadesh-list appendix) Mayan languages
Mayan languages
and linguistics books from Cholsamaj Online bibliography of Mayan languages
Mayan languages
at the University of Texas Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan Mayan-Spanish dictionary (Spanish)

v t e

Mayan languages

Huastecan

Chicomuceltec Wastek (Huastec)

Yucatecan

Itza' Lacandon Mopan Yucatec Maya

Cholan–Tzeltalan

Ch'ol

Chontal Ch'ol Ch’olti’ Ch’orti’

Tzeltalan

Tzeltal Tzotzil

Q'anjobalan–Chujean

Chujean

Chuj Tojolab'al

Q'anjob'alan–Jakaltek

Akatek Jakaltek Q'anjob'al

Mototzintleco

Mocho’

Mamean

Ixilean

Awakatek Ixil

Mamean

Mam Tektitek

Greater Quichean

Q'eqchi Poqomam

Poqomchi'

Quichean proper

Achi K'iche' Kaqchikel Tz'utujil

Sakapultek Sipakapense Uspantek

Italics indicate extinct languages

v t e

Language families of Mesoamerica

Demonstrated families

Chibchan Jicaquean Lencan Mayan Misumalpan Oto-Manguean Tequistlatecan Totozoquean (Mixe–Zoque, Totonacan) Uto-Aztecan Xincan

Isolates

Cuitlatec Huave Purépecha (Alagüilac?)

Proposed macrofamilies

Hokan Macro-Mayan Macro-Chibchan Penutian Tolatecan

Linguistic areas

Mesoamerican language area

v t e

List of primary language families

Africa

Afro-Asiatic Austronesian Khoe Kx'a Niger–Congo Nilo-Saharan? Tuu Mande? Songhay? Ijaw? Ubangian? Kadu?

Isolates

Bangime Hadza Jalaa Sandawe Kwadi? Laal? Shabo?

Sign languages

Arab BANZSL French Lasima Tanzanian Others

Europe and Asia

Afro-Asiatic Ainu Austroasiatic Austronesian Chukotko-Kamchatkan Dravidian Eskimo–Aleut Great Andamanese Hmong–Mien Hurro-Urartian Indo-European Japonic Kartvelian Koreanic Mongolic Northeast Caucasian Northwest Caucasian Ongan Sino-Tibetan Tai–Kadai Tungusic Turkic Tyrsenian Uralic Yeniseian Yukaghir Dené–Yeniseian? Altaic? Austronesian–Ongan? Austro-Tai? Sino-Austronesian? Digaro? Kho-Bwa? Siangic? Miji? Vasconic?

Isolates

Basque Burushaski Elamite Hattic Kusunda Nihali Nivkh Sumerian Hruso? Miju? Puroik?

Sign languages

BANZSL French German Japanese Swedish Chinese Indo-Pakistani Arab Chiangmai–Bangkok Others

New Guinea and the Pacific

Arai–Samaia Arafundi Austronesian Baining Binanderean–Goilalan Border Bulaka River Central Solomons Chimbu–Wahgi Doso–Turumsa East Geelvink Bay East Strickland Eleman Engan Fas Kaure–Kosare Kiwaian Kutubuan Kwomtari Lakes Plain Lower Mamberamo Lower Sepik Madang Mairasi North Bougainville Pauwasi Piawi Ramu Senagi Sentani Sepik Skou South Bougainville Teberan Tor–Kwerba–Nimboran Torricelli Trans-Fly Trans–New Guinea Turama–Kikorian West Papuan Yam Yawa Yuat North Papuan? Northeast New Guinea? Papuan Gulf?

Isolates

Abinomn Anêm? Ata? Kol Kuot Porome Taiap? Pawaia Porome Sulka? Tambora Wiru

Sign languages

Hawai'i Sign Language Others

Australia

Arnhem/Macro-Gunwinyguan Bunuban Darwin River Eastern Daly Eastern Tasmanian Garawan Iwaidjan Jarrakan Mirndi Northern Tasmanian Northeastern Tasmanian Nyulnyulan Pama–Nyungan Southern Daly Tangkic Wagaydyic Western Daly Western Tasmanian Worrorran Yangmanic (Wardaman)

Isolates

Giimbiyu Malak-Malak Marrgu Tiwi Wagiman

North America

Algic Alsea Caddoan Chimakuan Chinookan Chumashan Comecrudan Coosan Eskimo–Aleut Iroquoian Kalapuyan Keresan Maiduan Muskogean Na-Dene Palaihnihan Plateau Penutian Pomoan Salishan Shastan Siouan Tanoan Tsimshianic Utian Uto-Aztecan Wakashan Wintuan Yokutsan Yukian Yuman–Cochimí Dené–Yeniseian? Hokan? Penutian?

Isolates

Chimariko Haida Karuk Kutenai Seri Siuslaw Takelma Timucua Waikuri Washo Yana Yuchi Zuni

Sign languages

Inuit (Inuiuuk) Plains Sign Talk Others

Mesoamerica

Chibchan Jicaquean Lencan Mayan Misumalpan Mixe–Zoque Oto-Manguean Tequistlatecan Totonacan Uto-Aztecan Xincan Totozoquean?

Isolates

Cuitlatec Huave Tarascan/Purépecha

Sign languages

Plains Sign Talk Mayan Others

South America

Arawakan Arauan Araucanian Arutani–Sape Aymaran Barbacoan Boran Borôroan Cahuapanan Cariban Catacaoan Chapacuran Charruan Chibchan Choco Chonan Guaicuruan Guajiboan Jê/Gê Harákmbut–Katukinan Jirajaran Jivaroan Kariri Katembri–Taruma Mascoian Matacoan Maxakalian Nadahup Nambikwaran Otomákoan Pano-Tacanan Peba–Yaguan Purian Quechuan Piaroa–Saliban Ticuna–Yuri Timotean Tiniguan Tucanoan Tupian Uru–Chipaya Witotoan Yabutian Yanomaman Zamucoan Zaparoan Chimuan? Esmeralda–Yaruro? Hibito–Cholón? Lule–Vilela? Macro-Jê? Tequiraca–Canichana?

Isolates (extant in 2000)

Aikanã? Alacalufan Andoque? Camsá Candoshi Chimane Chiquitano Cofán? Fulniô Guató Hodï/Joti Irantxe? Itonama Karajá Krenak Kunza Leco Maku-Auari of Roraima Movima Mura-Pirahã Nukak? Ofayé Puinave Huaorani/Waorani Trumai Urarina Warao Yamana Yuracaré

See also

Language isolates Unclassified languages Creoles Pidgins Mixed languages Artificial languages List of sign languages

Families with more than 30 languages are in bold. Families in italics have no living members.

v t e

Maya civilization

History

Preclassic Maya Classic Maya collapse Spanish conquest

Chiapas Guatemala Petén Yucatán

Topics

Architecture

E-Group Triadic pyramid Twin-pyramid complex

Art

Graffiti

Ceramics Cities Cuisine Dance Economy

Trade Maritime trade

Languages

Classic Script List

Mayanist Medicine Music Mythology Numerals People Sites Stelae Textiles Warfare

Society

Childhood Women

Midwifery

Religion

Priesthood Sacrifice Human sacrifice Death rituals

Social classes

Ajaw Rulers

Households

Calendar

Ajaw Baktun Haab' K'atun K'in Tun Tzolk'in Winal

Literature

Annals of the Cakchiquels Chilam Balam Codices

Dresden Grolier Madrid Paris

Popol Vuh Rabinal
Rabinal
Achí Ritual of the Bacabs Songs of Dzitbalche Título C'oyoi Título de Totonicapán

Deities

Classic Bacab Chaac Death gods God L Goddess I Hero Twins Howler monkey gods Itzamna Ixchel Jaguar gods K'awiil Kinich Ahau Maize god Mam Moon goddess Yopaat

Post-Classic Acat Ah-Muzen-Cab Akna Chin Hunab Ku Ixtab Kukulkan Yum Kaax

Popol Vuh Awilix Camazotz Hun Hunahpu Huracan Jacawitz Q'uq'umatz Tohil Vucub Caquix Xmucane and Xpiacoc Xquic Zipacna

Kings

B'alaj Chan K'awiil Ha' K'in Xook Itzam K'an Ahk II K'ak' Tiliw Chan Yopaat K'inich Janaab' Pakal K'inich Yat Ahk II K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo' K'inich Yo'nal Ahk I Uaxaclajuun Ub'aah K'awiil Yo'nal Ahk III Yuknoom Ch'een II Yuknoom Yich'aak K'ahk'

Queens

Lady Eveningstar Lady of Itzan Lady of Tikal Lady Xoc Sak K'uk' Wak Chanil Ajaw Yohl Ik'nal

Authority control

LCCN: sh85082405 GND: 4120250-8 BNF: cb12650307r (data) NKC: ph291

.