Kaqchikel will stretch your understanding of the diversity of human language. The Mayan languages, including Kaqchikel, have several unique features which most speakers of European languages have never encountered. It is spoken today by more than 500,000 speakers in dozens of municipalities throughout central Guatemala, mostly in the departments of Guatemala, Sacatepéquez, Chimaltenango, Sololá, Escuintla, and Suchitepéquez. Kaqchikel is the Mayan language most commonly encountered by travelers to Guatemala, since it is the language spoken in the most popular tourist destinations, such as Antigua and Panajachel.

Among all the Mayan languages, Kaqchikel has the advantage of being one of the best studied. There are many resources available, including various grammars and dictionaries in both English and Spanish, as well as numerous video and audio recordings. The study of Kaqchikel is relatively easy for students, even for those who are studying at the university level without direct access to native speakers in Guatemala
KQKL 110 Elementary Kaqchikel Maya I
An orientation to Kaqchikel Maya language and culture for beginning students. Includes elements of grammar, conversation, and composition. Kaqchikel is the first language of approximately 500,000 people of highland Guatemala and one of roughly 30 Mayan languages. LEC.
Fall 2019
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC Tummons, Emily
TuTh 01:00-02:15 PM LEA 1131 - LAWRENCE
3 29005
KQKL 114 Elementary Kaqchikel Maya II
Continuation of KQKL 110. Prerequisite: Completion of KQKL 110 or equivalent. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2019 semester.

KQKL 230 Intermediate Kaqchikel Maya I
Continuation of KQKL 114. Prerequisite: Completion of KQKL 114 or equivalent. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2019 semester.

KQKL 234 Intermediate Kaqchikel Maya II
Continuation of KQKL 230. Prerequisite: Completion of KQKL 230 or equivalent LEC.
Fall 2019
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC Tummons, Emily
TuTh 11:00-12:15 PM FR 113 - LAWRENCE
3 29006

External Resources:

Kaqchikel Maya Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

 A short list of how vowels, consonants, and dipthongs in Kaqchikel are pronounced. The list provides an example of how the various letters are written as well as examples of how the sound may come across in English words.

Grammar of the Cakchiquel (Kaqichikel) Language

This guide explains the grammatical structure of Kaqchikel. It discusses how the different parts of speech work within the language as well as how to use different tenses within the Kaqchikel language.

Kaqchikel Study Abroad Opportunities:


Mayan Language Institute in Guatemala; Tulane University

The Mayan Language Institute is a six-week intensive language immersion program in Kaqchikel Maya and K’iche’ Maya. Students study with both U.S. faculty and native speakers and participate on cultural activities, lectures, discussions, and excursions.
Students pursuing Kaqchikel Maya will spend six weeks in Antigua and will be responsible for finding their own local lodging accommodations and meals. Classes in Antigua will take place at the Proyecto Lingüístico Francisco Marroquín (PLFM), a language school founded in 1969 whose mission is to teach, investigate, and preserve Mayan languages and culture.

Mayan Language Institute- Summer 2019; Vanderbilt University 

The Mayan Language Institute Program is an intensive summer language and culture program in K’iche’ and Kaqchikel in Antigua, Guatemala from June 16- July 27, 2019.
The goal of the institute is to help students develop and advance proficiency in their chosen language and to gain a better understanding of the cultural and political contexts that have affected the historical development and preservation of the language. Students study with both U.S. faculty and native speakers. In addition to language study, students participate in cultural activities, lectures, discussions, and excursions. Undergraduate students may study one of the languages at the beginner, intermediate, or advanced level. Graduate students must be prepared to study at the intermediate or advanced level.

Culture, Diversity, and Education at Casa Herrera; University of Texas at Austin

The Culture, Diversity, and Education at Casa Herrera Program takes place in Antigua, Guatemala from July 9- August 16, 2019. This program is offered as a Summer Session II program that explores the complex relationship between education and larger society. Revolving around Guatemalan cultures, students will be immersed in the language, while living with local host families. Students will spend time in local schools and undertake an ESL internship at a preschool, while learning about the cultural and social context of education in Guatemala and the U.S. Student develop and deliver ESL lessons to Maya children, explore Maya villages, and take a second course in either Spanish or a Mayan language (intermediate Spanish language proficiency required) taught by a local faculty.
The deadline to apply is February 15, 2019.

These courses meets all requirements for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships. Applications are due March 1, 2019. Enrollment is limited, so students should apply early.

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