Kaqchikel is one of approximately thirty Mayan languages spoken in Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, and, increasingly, the United States. Of the twenty-two Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala, Kaqchikel is one of the four "mayoritarios," those with the largest number of speakers. About half a million people living in the central highlands between Guatemala City and Lake Atitlán speak Kaqchikel. And because native Kaqchikel speakers are prominent in the field of Mayan linguistics, as well as in Mayan cultural activism generally, Kaqchikel has been adopted as a Mayan lingua franca in some circles.
This innovative language-learning guide is designed to help students, scholars, and professionals in many fields who work with Kaqchikel speakers, in both Guatemala and the United States, quickly develop basic communication skills. The book will familiarize learners with the words, phrases, and structures used in daily communications, presented in as natural a way as possible, and in a logical sequence. Six chapters introduce the language in context (greetings, the classroom, people, the family, food, and life) followed by exercises and short essays on aspects of Kaqchikel life. A grammar summary provides in-depth linguistic analysis of Kaqchikel, and a glossary supports vocabulary learning from both Kaqchikel to English and English to Kaqchikel. These resources, along with sound files and other media on the Internet at ekaq.stonecenter.tulane.edu, will allow learners to develop proficiency in all five major language skills—listening comprehension, speaking, reading, writing, and sociocultural understanding.