What Is the Mayan Language?


Quick Answer

The Mayan languages are the family of Mesoamerican languages spoken by the Maya people. At least 6 million indigenous Maya speak Mayan today, mostly in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize and Honduras. As of 2015, Guatemala and Mexico together formally recognize 29 Mayan Languages.

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Mayan languages descended from Proto-Mayan, believed to have been spoken in central Guatemala, where it first began to split in 2200 B.C. The Mayan script, a mix between logographic and syllabic systems, is the only Mesoamerican script to be nearly deciphered completely. Of the Mayan languages today, some have a verb-subject-object order, some have a verb-object-subject order, and some have both. Only one has a subject-verb-object order.

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