Peninsular Maya is one of the predominant languages, but it is not the only one that can be found on a trip on the new train. Unfortunately, most are at high risk of disappearing.
Mexico’s linguistic diversity is one of the richest in the world. The Mayan Train will connect the indigenous peoples of the entire Mexican southeast and its route will be able to hear voices from at least 10 different languages. Unfortunately, practically all of them are in danger of disappearing.
To carry out the work, the federal government carried out an indigenous consultation. This involved distributing information about the project in at least five languages: Totsil, Peninsular Maya, Tzeltal, Ch’ol, and Spanish. But on the Mayan Train route there are more indigenous peoples with their own language, here are 10 examples of the diversity that can be found along the way:
Jakaltecos . In the last census carried out by the Inegi in 2010, 602 speakers of Jakalteko-Popti’ were registered. Jakalteko-Popti’ is considered a language at very high risk of disappearance, according to the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI).
Q’anjob’ales. There are also speakers of this language in Campeche, Chiapas and Quintana Roo. In total, there are almost 10,000 speakers of this language in the region.
Ixils. In 2010, only 83 speakers of the two variants of this language were counted.
Mayas or maayat’aan. It is the second most spoken indigenous language in Mexico, after Nahuatl. According to the INPI, all the indigenous languages of the country are at risk of disappearing, although with different degrees of danger. In the case of the maya, the risk is not immediate.
It only owns one variant and is located mainly in Yucatan and Campeche. There is an official writing standard for this language, the same one that was already published by the National Institute of Indigenous Languages.
Kaqchikeles. Its speakers can be found in both Quintana Roo and Campeche. But in 2010 there were only 103 speakers of this language, the sister of Tz’utujil, which is spoken on the other side of the border, in Guatemala.
K’iches. The K’iche’ linguistic grouping is spoken in the states of Campeche, Chiapas and Quintana Roo, belonging to the nuclear K’ichean branch of the Mayan linguistic family.
Q’eqchis. Q’eqchi is a language that belongs to the Mayan family and is the only language of the K’ichean branch of the family that is spoken in Mexico. According to the last census carried out by the Inegi, there are around 1,279 Q’eqchi’ speakers.
Chujes. Chuj belongs to the Mayan family, the sister language of Chuj is Tojolabal. It is spoken in Chiapas, Campeche and Quintana Roo. The name with which the speakers call the language is koti’. In the last census there were 2,632 Koti’ speakers.
Moms. Mam is spoken in Chiapas, Campeche and Quintana Roo. In the most recent census carried out by Inegi in 2010, 10,467 Mam speakers were registered. This grouping together five variants:
Akatecos . Actually, the speakers of this indigenous people name their own language Kuti’, which belongs to the Mayan family. Its sister languages are Q’anjob’al and Jakalteko. Until 2005, only 532 speakers distributed in Campeche, Chiapas and Quintana Roo were counted.