Published January 26, 2018
This video was recorded by Lindsay Williams in Pajumujuyup, Guatemala, where Carlos lives and works. K’iche’ is spoken by at least two million people, primarily in the Central American nation of Guatemala, and by diaspora communities worldwide. It is the second-most widely spoken language in Guatemala after Spanish, and the most widely spoken Mayan language of any country. It has been a literary language since at least the 16th century CE, when it featured prominently in Classical Mayan literature, such as the Popol Vuh, as well as other religious, mythological, and historical texts. Following the Spanish Conquest of America and subsequent centuries of Spanish-only education, literacy in K’iche decreased and remains relatively low today; however, thanks to the work of cultural activists, it has been recognized as an official minority language by the Guatemalan government. As a result, it is increasingly taught in schools and features ever more prominently in local media.