Culture Corner: Spotlight on Mayan Mexico

maya1Okay, so about 1/4 of all Spanish speakers are in Mexico and virtually all Mexicans speak the language but there is more to Mexico’s linguistic portfolio than meets the ear. In fact, there are 68 linguistic groups, 364 varieties of indigenous languages, a smattering of Plattdeutsch-speaking Mennonites and a village that speaks a Venetian dialect!  

If you are heading to the Yucatan, in addition to Spanish, if you really want to impress the natives, you might also want to pick up a few Mayan words.  There are hundreds of thousands of native speakers and they take great pride in their language and culture. And who can blame them! The Mayans have a long history of fighting for their self-determination including a drawn out bid for independence that echoes even today.  In the beautiful colonial town of Merida, for example, all of the streets are numbered instead of having the traditional Spanish names you see in most Mexican cities. A vestige of the Mayan resistance to fully accept Mexico’s colonial culture.

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