The name Tojolabal derives from the phrase [tohol aˈbal], meaning "right language". Nineteenth century documents sometimes refer to the language and its speakers as "Chaneabal" (meaning "four languages", possibly a reference to the four Mayan languages -- Tzotzil, Tzeltal, Tojolabal, and Chuj -- spoken in the Chiapas highlands and nearby lowlands along the Guatemala border).
Anthropologist Carlos Lenkersdorf has claimed several linguistic and cultural features of the Tojolabal, primarily the language's ergativity, show that they do not give cognitive weight to the distinctions subject/object, active/passive. This he interprets as being evidence in favor of the controversial Sapir-Worf hypothesis.
Tojolab'al-language programming is carried by the CDI's radio station XEVFS, broadcasting from Las Margaritas.