Yucatec Maya (Màaya t’àan)
Yucatec Maya is a Mayan language spoken by about 800,000 – 1.2 million
people in Mexico and Belize. It is spoken mainly in Yucatan in Mexico, and
there are also speakers in parts of Campeche, Tabasco, Chiapas, and Quintana
Roo states in Mexico, and in northern Belize and Guatemala.
A form of proto-Yucatecan was written with the Mayan script from about
the 3rd century BC, and the Yucatec Maya speakers continued to use the
script until the 16th century. Recently some Yucatecs have started
learning and usign the script once more.
After the Spanish conquest of Yucatan in the 16th century, a version
of the Latin alphabet based on Spanish orthography of that time was
developed to write Yucatec Maya. A new orthography, which is used in
textbooks and offical documents, was developed by linguists of the
Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala (ALMG) in 1984.
A number of dictionaries in Yucatec Maya have been published, the first
of which, by Juan Pio Perez, appeared in 1898.
A number of radio stations in Mexico broadcast programmes in Yucatec
Yucatec alphabet and pronunciation
- There are a number of different ways to represent Yucatec Maya
with the Latin alphabet. This one comes mainly from
- Yucatec Maya has two tones: a high tone, sometimes represented with
an acute accent (á), and a low tone, sometimes represented with a
grave accent (à). Short vowels have a neutral tone, long vowels
can have a high or low tone.
Tuláakal wíinik ku síijil jáalk’ab yetel keet
u tsiikul yetel Najmal Sijnalil, beytun xan na’ata’an sijnalil yetel no’oja’anil
u tuukulo’, k’a’abet u bisikuba bey láaktzilil yetel tuláakal
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)