|Native to||Guatemala and Mexico|
|Region||Huehuetenango Chiapas Veracruz|
|9,610 in Guatemala; 1,997 in Mexico (2003 census)|
|Regulated by||Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala|
Awakatek (also known as Aguateco, Awaketec, Coyotin, Chalchitec,and Balamiha, and natively as Qa'yol) is a Mayan language spoken in Guatemala, primarily in Huehuetenango and around Aguacatán. The language only has fewer than 10,000 speakers, and is considered vulnerable by UNESCO. In addition, the language in Mexico is at high risk of endangerment, with fewer than 2,000 speakers in the state of Campeche in 2010 (although the number of speakers was only 3 as of 2000 ).
Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 17.2 million, it is the most populated country in Central America. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City.
Huehuetenango is one of the 22 departments of Guatemala. It is situated in the western highlands and shares borders with Mexico in the north and west; with El Quiché in the east, with Totonicapán, Quetzaltenango, and San Marcos to the south. The capital is the city of Huehuetenango.
Aguacatán is a municipality in the Guatemalan department of Huehuetenango. It is situated at 1,670 metres (5,480 ft) above sea level. It has a population of 41,000. It covers an area of 300 km².
Awakatek is closely related to Ixil and the two languages together form the sub-branch Ixilean, which together with the Mamean languages, Mam and Tektitek, form a sub-branch Greater-Mamean, which again, together with the Greater-Quichean languages, ten Mayan languages, including Kʼicheʼ, form the branch Quichean–Mamean.
Ixil (Ixhil) is one of the 21 different Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala. According to historical linguistic studies Ixil emerged as a separate language sometime around the year 500AD. It is the primary language of the Ixil people, which comprises the three towns of San Juan Cotzal, Santa Maria Nebaj, and San Gaspar Chajul in the Guatemalan highlands. There is also an Ixil speaking migrant population in Guatemala City and the United States. Although there are slight differences in vocabulary in the dialects spoken by people in the three different Ixil towns, they are all mutually intelligible and should be considered dialects of a single language.
Mam is a Mayan language spoken by about half a million Mam people in the Guatemalan departments of Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, San Marcos, and Retalhuleu, and the Mexican state of Chiapas. Thousands more make up a Mam diaspora throughout the United States and Mexico, with notable populations living in Oakland, California and Washington, D.C.
Classified under the Mamean branch family of languages, Tektitek is a Mayan language spoken by the Tektitan people of Huehuetenango, Guatemala. It is very closely related to the Mam language. A number of Tektitek speakers have settled in Mexico. Due to the close proximity of Huehuetenango to the Mexican border the speakers of the language have appropriated aspects of Mexican Spanish into the language. While 4,900 speakers were recorded in 2010 by Ethnologue, Juventino de Jesus Perez Alonzo estimated that there were just 2,000 speakers of the language left at that time. He noted however, that measures are being taken to teach the children in Huehuetenango the Tekitek language. According to the Endangered Languages Project, the language is currently threatened. Little is known about the culture, but there are resources that provide vocabulary as well as other educational tools.
The Awakatek people themselves refer to their language as qaʼyol, literally meaning 'our word'. They also call themselves qatanum, which means 'our people' and is distinct from the word Awakatec, which is used in Spanish in reference to the municipality of Aguacatán (which means place of abundant avocados and refers to agricultural production and not specifically to the indigenous people).
There are four diphthongs: ay/aj/, ey/ej/, oy/oj/, uy/uj/.
|Ejective||pʼ /pʼ/||tʼ /tʼ/||kʼ/kʼ/||kyʼ/kʼʲ/|
The coronal ejectives may be allophonically pre-voiced.[ citation needed ]
Coronal consonants are consonants articulated with the flexible front part of the tongue. Among places of articulation, only the coronal consonants can be divided into as many articulation types: apical, laminal, domed, or subapical as well as different postalveolar articulations : palato-alveolar, alveolo-palatal and retroflex. Only the front of the tongue (coronal) has such dexterity among the major places of articulation, allowing such variety of distinctions. Coronals have another dimension, grooved, to make sibilants in combination with the orientations above.
The Mayan languages form a language family spoken in Mesoamerica and northern Central America. Mayan languages are spoken by at least 6 million Maya peoples, primarily in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize and Honduras. In 1996, Guatemala formally recognized 21 Mayan languages by name, and Mexico recognizes eight more within its territory.
The Maya peoples are an ethnolinguistic group of indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica. They inhabit southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. "Maya" is a modern collective term for the peoples of the region, however, the term was not used by the indigenous populations themselves since there never was a common sense of identity or political unity among the distinct populations, societies and ethnic groups because they each had their own particular traditions, cultures and historical identity.
Mesoamerican languages are the languages indigenous to the Mesoamerican cultural area, which covers southern Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize and parts of Honduras and El Salvador and Nicaragua. The area is characterized by extensive linguistic diversity containing several hundred different languages and seven major language families. Mesoamerica is also an area of high linguistic diffusion in that long-term interaction among speakers of different languages through several millennia has resulted in the convergence of certain linguistic traits across disparate language families. The Mesoamerican sprachbund is commonly referred to as the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area.
The Chʼol (Chol) language is a member of the western branch of the Mayan language family used by the Chʼol people in the Mexican state of Chiapas. There are two main dialects:
Tzotzil is a Maya language spoken by the indigenous Tzotzil Maya people in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Most speakers are bilingual in Spanish as a second language. In Central Chiapas, some primary schools and a secondary school are taught in Tzotzil. Tzeltal is the most closely related language to Tzotzil and together they form a Tzeltalan sub-branch of the Mayan language family. Tzeltal, Tzotzil and Chʼol are the most widely spoken languages in Chiapas.
The Kaqchikel language is an indigenous Mesoamerican language and a member of the Quichean–Mamean branch of the Mayan languages family. It is spoken by the indigenous Kaqchikel people in central Guatemala. It is closely related to the Kʼicheʼ (Quiché) and Tzʼutujil languages.
Akateko (Acateco) is a Mayan language spoken by the Akateko people primarily in the Huehuetenango Department, Guatemala in and around the municipalities of Concepción Huista, Nentón, San Miguel Acatán, San Rafael La Independencia and San Sebastián Coatán. A number of speakers also live in Chiapas, Mexico. It is a living language with 58,600 speakers in 1998, of which 48,500 lived in Guatemala and the remaining in Mexico.
Chuj is a Mayan language spoken by around 40,000 members of the Chuj people in Guatemala and around 3,000 members in Mexico. Chuj is a member of the Qʼanjobʼalan branch along with the languages of Tojolabʼal, Qʼanjobʼal, Akateko, Poptiʼ, and Mochoʼ which, together with the Chʼolan branch, Chuj forms the Western branch of the Mayan family. The Chujean branch emerged approximately 2,000 years ago. In Guatemala, Chuj speakers mainly reside in the municipalities of San Mateo Ixtatán, San Sebastián Coatán and Nentón in the Huehuetenango Department. Some communities in Barillas and Ixcán also speak Chuj. The two main dialects of Chuj are the San Mateo Ixtatán dialect and the San Sebastián Coatán dialect.
Many different languages are spoken in Mexico. The indigenous languages are from eleven distinct language families, including four isolates and one that immigrated from the United States. The Mexican government recognizes 68 national languages, 63 of which are indigenous, including around 350 dialects of those languages. The large majority of the population is monolingual in Spanish. Some immigrant and indigenous populations are bilingual, while some indigenous people are monolingual in their languages. Mexican Sign Language is spoken by much of the deaf population, and there are one or two indigenous sign languages as well.
Tojolabal is a Mayan language spoken in Chiapas, Mexico. It is related to the Chuj language spoken in Guatemala. Tojolabal is spoken especially in the departments of the Chiapanecan Colonia of Las Margaritas by about 20,000 people.
Itzaʼ is a critically endangered Mayan language spoken by the Itza people near Lake Peten Itza in north-central Guatemala. The language has only about 1,000 speakers, all older adults.
Proto-Mayan is the hypothetical common ancestor of the 30 living Mayan languages, as well as the Classic Maya language documented in the Maya inscriptions. While there has been some controversy with Mayan subgrouping, there has been a general agreement that the following are the main five subgroups of the family: Huastecan, Yucatecan, Cholan-Tzeltalan, Kanjobalan-Chujean, and Quichean-Mamean.
Huave is a language isolate spoken by the indigenous Huave people on the Pacific coast of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The language is spoken in four villages on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, in the southeast of the state, by around 18,000 people. The Huave people of San Mateo del Mar, who call themselves Ikoots, meaning "us," refer to their language as ombeayiiüts, meaning "our language". In San Francisco del Mar, the corresponding terms are Kunajts ("us") and umbeyajts. The term "Huave" is thought to come from the Zapotec languages, meaning "people who rot in the humidity", according to the 17th-century Spanish historian Burgoa. However, Martínez Gracida (1888) claims the meaning of the term means 'many people' in Isthmus Zapotec, interpreting hua as "abundant" and be as a shortened form of binni ("people"). The etymology of the term requires further investigation. Neither of the above etymologies is judged plausible by Isthmus Zapotec speakers.
Qʼanjobʼal is a Mayan language spoken primarily in Guatemala and part of Mexico. According to 1998 estimates compiled by SIL International in Ethnologue, there were approximately 77,700 native speakers, primarily in the Huehuetenango Department of Guatemala. Municipalities where the Qʼanjobʼal language is spoken include San Juan Ixcoy, San Pedro Soloma, Santa Eulalia, Santa Cruz Barillas (Yalmotx), San Rafael La Independencia, and San Miguel Acatán. Qʼanjobʼal is taught in public schools through Guatemala's intercultural bilingual education programs.
The Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala, or ALMG is a Guatemalan organisation that regulates the use of the 22 Mayan languages spoken within the borders of the republic. It has expended particular efforts on standardising the various writing systems used. 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.
The ChʼolanAKACholan–Tzeltalan languages are a branch of the Mayan family of Mexico. These languages break into six sections being Cholan and Tzeltalan. Cholan has then two subsections being Western Cholan and Chʼoltiʼan; these composing the two larger sections of slight linguistic differences portrayed by Kuryłowicz's Fourth Law of Analogy. The language Tzeltalan also breaks up into sections; Tzendal, Tzotzil, and Wastekan. These subsections differ by similar linguistic differences.
Kʼicheʼ, or Quiché, is a Maya language of Guatemala, spoken by the Kʼicheʼ people of the central highlands. With over a million speakers, Kʼicheʼ is the second-most widely spoken language in the country after Spanish. Most speakers of Kʼicheʼ languages also have at least a working knowledge of Spanish.
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