The Mayan language is being rejuvenated in the Mayan culture and throughout the region. Like other indigenous languages, it was shunned upon to speak Maya at school, in public places or with friends as the indigenous groups did not want to be discriminated against. Like Native American cultures in Canada and the US, ancient languages are being taught in cultural centers, schools and colleges to revive the traditions for these cultures.
Five Mayan Words you can use while visiting Tulum
When people travel they like to have some basic language skills that they can use in the country that they are visiting. More and more visitors to the Tulum area are learning a few Mayan, not Spanish, words to enhance their traveling experience in this Mayan community.
1. Thank you – Dios bo’otik (Spanish- Gracias)
2. You are welcome – Mixba’al (De Nada)
3. No – Ma’ (Spanish – No)
4. What is your name? – Bix a k’aaba ? (Spanish – Como se llama)
5. How are you? – Bix yanilech? (Spanish – Como esta?)
There is no direct translation for the word Hello in Maya so there is an equivalent Ba’ax ka wa’alik which means what do you say. There is also not a direct translation for the word Yes. A Maya would rephase the sentence to confirm a thought or idea in the positive.
Pronunciation of Mayan letters and vowels
Most letters are pronounced as in English, except that the following are always pronounced as follows:
a, like the a in father. (short a)
b, silent if at the end of a word, pronounced if in the interior of the word.
e, as the a in lake. (long a)
i, as the ee in feel. (long e)
o, as the o in bowl. (short o)
x, the sh as in show.
- Some consonants have an accent mark after them and are pronounced quickly with quick expulsion of air. The best way to describe this is form the letters in your mouth as you normally would, but at the very beginning, force them out quickly.
- Pronouns, I, you , we , they, are single letters in most cases. I is In, you is A, he, she and they are U.
if you try to speak the language but totally fumble, mayan people just respect that you are trying. Mexicans also are very gracious when you are trying to speak Spanish and do not pronounce or use the correct word. It is this patience and graciousness that is found to be most appealing in the Mexican culture. Just try and see the reaction that you receive.
Join us on Facebook and try and write or speak those words on your profile and see who responds…in Maya! The video below shows you how Maya is pronounced so you can practice before you come to Tulum.