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LANGUAGES

Mayan Languages

In Guatemala there are over 20 Mayan languages still actively spoken today by over 6 million people. Here is some information on the more prominent languages for which we provide services.

 

Q’eqchi’ 

 

Q’eqchi’ (pronounced Kek-chee, sometimes also spelled Kekchi), is one of the more prominent Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala. Speakers of this language are located in the central highlands of Alta Verapaz and the forests of Petén.  Q’eqchi’ is a descendant of the K’iche’ language family group, but the languages are very different today. Some speakers also live in Belize. Contact us to get connected with our Q’eqchi’ interpreters!

K'iche'

 

K’iche’ (pronounced Kee-chay, also spelled Quiché) is the largest Mayan language still spoken today. Speakers of K’iche’ live predominantly in the western highlands of Quetzaltenango, Quiché, and other areas. After Spanish, K’iche’ in the most predominantly spoken language in Guatemala. K’iche’ is the parent language for many other languages, such as Q’eqchi’, Kaqchikel, Tz’utujil, Achi’, Poqomchi’, and others. 

 

Q'anjob'al

Q’anjob’al (pronounced Kan-ho-bal, also spelled Kanjobal) is spoken primarily in Huehuetenango. It is the parent language for the Q’anjob’alan languages, which include Chuj, Akateko, and Popti’ (also known as Jakalteko)

 

Akateko

Akateko (pronounced Ah-kah-teh-ko) is closely related to Q’anjob’al. Until the 1970’s it was considered a dialect of Q’anjob’al, until linguists realized that it has a grammar distinct from Q’anjob’al. There are around 55,000 speakers of Akateko today. 

Mam

Mam is a language spoken by over half a million speakers throughout Guatemala. There are at least three major variants of Mam that are not necessarily mutually intelligible, so it's important for this language to determine a person's area of origin to be able to find the right interpreter. There are large communities of Mam speakers here in the United States.

Chuj

Chuj (pronounced Choo), is also a member of the Q’anjob’alan branch of languages. There are around 50,000 speakers in Guatemala with growing communities throughout the United States. 

Kaqchikel

Kaqchikel is closely related to K'iche', but they are not mutually intelligible. It has around half a million native speakers in the areas of Sololá, Chimaltenango, and Sacatepéquez in Guatemala. 

 

Popti' (Jakalteko)

Popti’ (pronounced pop-tee), also known as Jakalteko (pronounced ha-kal-teh-ko), is a Q’anjob’alan language spoken by approximately 90,000 people in Guatemala. 

Ixil

 

Ixil (pronounced ee-sheel), is spoken by inhabitants of the three towns of San Juan Cotzal, Santa Maria Nebaj, and San Gaspar Chajul in Guatemala. Ixil is the native language of around 120,000 individuals.

 

Other Central/ South American Languages we service:

Achi*

Aymara (Bolivia)*

Amuzgo*

Awakateko (Aguakateko)*

Ch’orti’*

Chalchiteko*

Chinanteco*

Chatino*

Cora*

Garífuna*

Miskito (Honduras)*

Mixe*

Mixteco*

Mopan*

Nahuatl*

Poqomam*

Poqomchi’*

Quechua*

Quichua*

Sakapulteco*

Sipakapense*

Tarasco (Purépecha)*

Tojolabal*

Trique/Triqui*

Tz’utujil*

Tzeltal*

Tzotzil*

Uspanteko*

Yucatec Maya*

Zapoteco*

Zoque*

 

*These languages will often require a Spanish<>English relay interpreter. 

 

 

Other Indigenous/Rare languages:

Amharic

Bambara

Chuukese

Dinka

Fulani (Pulaar/Fula/Fulfulfde)

Karen (S’gaw Karen)

Karenni (Kayah)

Kinyarwanda

Kiswahili

Lingala

Malinke (Malinka)

Maninka (Mandingo)

Marshallese

Navajo

Rohingya

Sichuanese

Tedim

Tigrinya

Uzbek

Wolof

Yoruba

Zomi

Other languages:

Arabic

Armenian

Cantonese

Dari

Farsi

French

Kurdish

Georgian

Haitian Creole

Hindi

Nepali

Mandarin

Pashto

Portuguese

Romanian

Russian

Somali

Spanish

Swahili

Turkish

Ukrainian

Urdu

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