Maya Vocabulary①

This is the list of the vocabulary that may be useful for note-taking in Maya civilization class. Created based on the lesson on January 15th, 2020. Please ignore my Japanese. 


Zinacantán (シナカンタン)

This volume of Maya book focusses on Zinacantán. The place called Chamula, the San Juan Chamula, is Zinacantán.

Map showing languages of the Mayan family

This is not exactly same map that shown in the class but it gives a general sense. 


Maya Language Tree and Related Vocabulary

There are about thirty Mayan languages that spoken today. The languages and families mentioned in class were followings.


Yucatec Maya is spoken all over the Yucatan area of Mexico, also in Belize(ベリー) and Guatemala. There are related language called, Lakantun(ラカンドン), Itza'(イッツァ), and Mopan(モパン). They are same family. 

Ch’ol Family (チョウ ファミリー)

Ch’ol Family is divided into Ch’ol(チョール), Chontal(チョタール), Ch’orti'(チョッティ), and Ch’olti'(チョルティ) which has died. Ch’orti'(チョッティ) is a direct descendant of the Classic Maya language and thus it is closest language to the classic Mayan. (これ合ってる?)


Small town in Guatemala. Some of the speaker of Ch’orti’ language still lives there. 


Pretty small family and there is not much speaker.


For Mamean language Family, Mam(マァム)is the largest language. 


Largest language family. Incorporates most of the highland Guatemala. Kaqchikel(キャチケル) and K’iche(キィチェ) are two largest Maya group.

Q’echi’ and Yukatec, for exaple, is very different and it is like comparing Spanish and German. Very distinct languages and they may share few words but it sounds very different. 
[K’iche’ speaker]
[Yucatecan speaker]

Cycle of 400 years is important in Maya Calendar.

There is different Stelaes, written in different languages. 

Lingua franca(リングワ・フランカ)

Emerged during the medieval time. Lingua franca is a language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different. Classic Choltian was like lingua franca, and thus most text is written in this language. It was not the language for everyone, but elite people spoke this language to communicate. 

Lingua franca - Wikipedia




Especially in highland, every single Maya language and even Maya town has a speciality. 

Milpa(ミルパァ) and Symbiosis(シンビオーシス)

Milpa is a field. Traditional milpa has three sisters: corn, squash, and beans. They grow very well together. Bean and Squash feed each other in terms of the nutrients that they incorporate. Corn grows little earlier, which allows beans starts to grow. Squash keep the soil moist too. Symbiosis is chilli pepper, that grows in highland. Every single string of chilli come from America continent. Peper corn is the only chilli available in Asia before chilli pepper arrive there from America. Chilli pepper is grown in garden because we don’t need much. Typically, men do growing and women do selling by carrying stuff.  


From technological standpoint, it is similar to dumpling. 


Very important food at Highland Guatemala. People like to eat stuu beans and fried plantane(ストゥビーンとフライドプランテェィン) together.