Published November 26, 2019
This video was recorded by Ross in Chiapas, Mexico. Lacandon is part of the Yucatecan branch of the Mayan language family. The native name is Jach-t’aan, meaning 'true language'. The Lacandon people live along the Usumacinta River in the Mexican state of Chiapas and are indirect descendants of the ancient Mayans -- scholarship has indicated that various lowland Mayan refugees from Spanish colonial occupation fled into the rainforest (now known as the Lacandon jungle) during the conquest in the 15th and 16th centuries, and the Lacandon people are the result of their cultural intermixing. Although the Lacandon language nearly disappeared in the mid twentieth century, it is now spoken by around 600 people in the northeastern part of Chiapas in southern Mexico. The majority speak the northern dialect, with the remaining speaking a mutually intelligible southern dialect. Most speakers of Lacandon also speak Spanish, and due to extensive trading with other Maya in the region, have adopted words from Ch'ol and Tzeltal.