List of Mayan languages

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The Mayan languages are a family of languages spoken by the Maya people. The Maya form a group of approximately 7 million people descendant from an ancient Mesoamerican civilization and spread across the modern-day countries of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. They speak descendant languages from their original Proto-Mayan language, and some of their languages were recorded in the form of glyphs of a Mayan script.


The languages are shown along with their population estimates, as available.

Family Branch Subgroups Subgroups Subbranch Language Speakers Estimate Years Countries
Mayan Cholan–Tzeltalan Ch'ol Cholan Chontal 36,500 (2000) Mexico (Tabasco)
Ch'ol 145000145,000 (2000) Mexico (Chiapas)
Chortian Ch'orti' 3000030,000 (2000) Guatemala, Honduras
Ch'olti' 0extinct Guatemala, Belize
Tzeltalan Tzeltal 372000372,000 (2000) Mexico (Chiapas)
Tzotzil 225000225,000 (2000) Mexico (Chiapas)
Huastecan Chicomuceltec 0extinct Mexico (Chiapas), Guatemala (Huehuetenango)
Huastec 131000131,000 (2000) Mexico (San Luis Potosi, Veracruz)
Q'anjobalan–Chujean Chujean Chuj 4300043,000 (1991) Mexico (Chiapas), Guatemala (Huehuetenango)
Tojolab'al 3400034,000 (2000) Mexico (Chiapas)
Q'anjob'alan Q'anjob'al–Jakaltek Jakaltek 90009,000 (1998) Mexico (Chiapas), Guatemala (Huehuetenango)
Q'anjob'al 7800078,000 (1998) - in Guatemala Guatemala (Huehuetenango)
Akatek 5700057,000 (1998) Mexico (Chiapas), Guatemala (Huehuetenango)
Mocho' (Mototzintleco) Mocho' 140 (2000) Mexico (Chiapas)
Quichean–Mamean Greater Mamean Ixilean Awakatek 1800018,000 (1998) Guatemala (Huehuetenango)
Ixil 6900069,000 (1998) Guatemala (El Quiché)
Mamean Mam 540000540,000 (1991–2000) Mexico (Chiapas), Guatemala
Tektitek 50005,000 (2002) Guatemala (Huehuetenango)
Greater Quichean Q'eqchi' Q'eqchi' 800000800,000 (2009) Guatemala, Belize
Poqom Poqomam 4900049,000 (1990–1991) - in Guatemala Guatemala
Poqomchi' 9200092,000 (1998–2000) Guatemala (Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, El Quiché)
Quichean proper Quiche–
Achi 8500085,000 (1990–2000) Guatemala (Baja Verapaz)
K'iche' 23000002.3 million (ca. 2010) Guatemala
Kaqchikel 450000450,000 (1990–1998) Guatemala
Tz'utujil 8400084,000 (1990–1998) Guatemala
Sakapultek Sakapultek 1500015,000 (2006) Guatemala (El Quiché)
Sipakapense Sipakapense 80008,000 (2000) Guatemala (San Marcos)
Uspantek Uspantek 30003,000 (1998) Guatemala (El Quiché)
Yucatecan Mopan–Itza Itza' 0extinct (12 in 1986) Guatemala (El Petén)
Mopan 1400014,000 (2006–2007) Belize, Guatemala (El Petén)
Yucatec–Lacandon Lacandon 560 (2000) Mexico (Chiapas)
Yucatec Maya 770000770,000 (2000) Mexico, Belize

The numbers above are based on Ethnologue estimates. Some are significantly out of date, and some are inaccurate for geopolitical reasons. In the 1980s and early 1990s, there was also significant refugee movement of populations near the border from Guatemala into Mexico, so generally the Mexican numbers above for the cross-border populations may be lower than reality. The numbers may generally reflect a relatively broad definition of language speakers, leading to somewhat higher numbers than other contemporary estimates.

See also[edit]