Mayan Languages

The Mayan languages (alternatively: the languages of the Mayas) form a language family spoken in Mesoamerica and northern Central America. Mayan languages are spoken by at least 6 million indigenous Maya, primarily in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize and Honduras. In 1996, Guatemala formally recognized 21 Mayan languages by name, and Mexico recognizes eight more.

The Mayan language family is one of the best documented and most studied in the Americas. Modern Mayan languages descend from Proto-Mayan, a language thought to have been spoken at least 5,000 years ago; it has been partially reconstructed using the comparative method.

Mayan languages form part of the Mesoamerican Linguistic 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 Mayan hieroglyphic script. Its use was particularly widespread during the Classic period of Maya civilization (c. 250–900 AD). The surviving corpus of over 10,000 known individual Maya inscriptions on buildings, monuments, pottery and bark-paper codices, 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.

Read more about Mayan LanguagesHistory, Grammar, Mayan Loanwords, Writing Systems, Literature

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Mexican Spanish - Phonetics - Consonants - Fricatives
... Spanish dialects (, ), Mexican Spanish also has mostly in words from indigenous languages ... as ‹x›, is commonly found in words of Nahuatl or Mayan languages such as Xola ... This is identical to the Mayan pronunciation of the dorsal fricative which, contrary to the Spanish romanization ‹x›, in Mayan languages is commonly represented by ‹j› ...
Mayan Languages - Literature
... From the Classic period to the present day, a body of literature has been written in Mayan languages ... Shortly after the Spanish conquest, the 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 ...
List Of Numbers In Various Languages - New World Language Families - Mayan Languages
... Proto-Mayan *juun *kaa’b’ *oohx *kang- *ho?- *wahq- *huq- *waqshaq- *b'eleng- *laxung Language 10 ... Huastec Mayan hun tzab ox tze b ...
Academia De Lenguas Mayas De Guatemala
... Guatemala, or ALMG (may be translated into English as Guatemalan Academy of Mayan Languages) is a Guatemalan organisation that regulates the use of the 21 Mayan ... Another of its functions is to promote Mayan culture, which it does by providing courses in the country's various Mayan languages and by training Spanish-Mayan interpreters ...

Famous quotes containing the word languages:

    The very natural tendency to use terms derived from traditional grammar like verb, noun, adjective, passive voice, in describing languages outside of Indo-European is fraught with grave possibilities of misunderstanding.
    Benjamin Lee Whorf (1897–1934)