Modern Mayan Language Resources

Category: Q’eqchi’ Language

Mayan Languages in Belize

The most recent Population and Housing Census of Belize (2010) reports three Mayan languages in use in the country: Q’eqchi’, Mopan, and Yucatec. While there were only about 2,500 hundred speakers of Yucatec Mayan remaining in Belize, for Q’eqchi’ and Mopan the numbers are much larger. Most Q’eqchi’ speakers are concentrated in the southernmost district of Toledo, while Mopan speakers are reported in significant numbers in Toledo but also in Stann Creek district as well. Total Q’eqchi’ speakers were reported at 17,581 (13,597 in Toledo) and total Mopan speakers of 10,649 (about half of which live in Toledo as well.) All told, the population of the Toledo district of Belize is reported to be about two-thirds Mayan-speaking (68.4%).

Attached is a one-page summary of the rural villages of the Toledo District with information about their ethnicity and economic activities taken from the 2000 national census and subsequent reports. A majority of the villages are mostly or partly Q’eqchi’-speaking. Note: the largest town in Toledo is Punta Gorda (not included in the table of rural villages below), which itself has a very diverse population of about 5,500.

Audio files of Q’eqchi’ phrases uploaded

Voice recordings of 160 basic phrases in both Q’eqchi’ and English were recently uploaded to the experimental online version of the Q’eqchi’ ~ English dictionary project. They can be accessed by following this link: and then navigating to the Category titled “Kok’ Raqal Aatin / Basic Phrases” in the left-side pane (the fifth category up from the bottom). The phrases that appear in the category in the right-side pane will show a speaker icon for each entry which can be clicked to listen to the audio file.

Note: Not all browsers support the plug-in technology used with these recordings. If you get a message that it won’t work in your browser, your best bet is to try another browser that supports this type of playback.

Aajel ru ninb’antioxi re Laj Juan Carlos Coy (Fundación San Mateo, Senahú) ut re Lix Po (Julian Moon li xk’ab’a’ sa’ Inkles) intenq’ankil rik’ineb’ li xyaab’asinkil li kok’ raqal aatin sa’ Q’eqchi’ ut sa’ Inkles—chaab’ilex laa’ex!

New Version of Q’eqchi’ ~ English Dictionary Available

Q’eqchi’ Mayan Dictionary
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on White paper
492 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0692602096 (Custom)
ISBN-10: 0692602097
BISAC: Foreign Language Study / Native American Languages

This dictionary builds upon the Q’eqchi’ Mayan Thematic Dictionary previously published from this database. In this version the arrangement of entries in the Q’eqchi’-to-English section is presented alphabetically rather than by theme. This approach offers advantages to native Q’eqchi’ speakers learning English in that one can more easily locate the Q’eqchi’ word in question and learn its English equivalent(s).

There are three principal sections in this dictionary:

• Section I contains a simple introduction to Q’eqchi’ orthography and pronunciation for English speakers that are new to Q’eqchi’, as well as a comprehensive overview of Q’eqchi’ grammar that outlines the principal parts of speech and how they are formed into proper inflections, conjugations, and sentences. This grammar is new to this version of the dictionary and as far as I can tell it is the only Q’eqchi’ grammar written in English available in print.

• Section II is an alphabetical list of Q’eqchi’ words followed by their parts of speech and English equivalent(s). Many of the entries are illustrated. This section also contains a number of new and updated entries not found in the first edition of the Q’eqchi’ Mayan Thematic Dictionary.

• Section III is a reversal index that contains an alphabetical listing of the English words corresponding to all of the Q’eqchi’ entries in Section II.

The dictionary also includes helpful notes on grammatical usage and evidence for borrowed words where possible. In addition, this version includes entries for many Q’eqchi’ place names and their etymologies and English meanings. While not yet complete, these entries are not found in the first edition of the Q’eqchi’ Mayan Thematic Dictionary.

Q’eqchi’ Mayan Love Poem

In preparing for an upcoming trip to Guatemala I recently came across a collection of poems written in Q’eqchi’. Some of them are really sweet and I translated a few of the best ones into English. Here is one that I thought I might save for couples until Valentine’s Day…but then I thought to myself that perhaps singles would appreciate it just as much. So in consideration of ‘Singles Day’ here is a little Q’eqchi’ love poem. (I don’t know who wrote it, but the English translation is mine.)


At xsum li waam,

K’ajo’ laatuulanil…

Jo’ jun li mukuy naq narupik

Chi ru li loq’laj choxa, laach’ool

Chan chan tawi’ li tuuxil noq’,

Ut li xnaq’ laawu nalemtz’unk jo’

Junaq li ch’ina’usil uutz’u’uj.


Li xnaq’ laawu chan chan tawi’

Li xkji’al li kab’

Xb’aan naq naxsahob’resi li waam.


Ut li waam napisk’ok sa’ xna’aj

Naq nakatwil, xb’aan naq maa’ani chik

Junaq jo’ laa’at, jo’kan naq nakatinra

Ut nank’e laaloq’al.



O my soul mate,

How delicate you are…

Like a pigeon flying

Across the sacred sky, your heart

Like a puff of cotton,

Your eyes shining like

Some beautiful flower.


Your eyes, likewise,

As sweet as honey,

Are the savor of my soul.


My heart leaps in its cage

At your sight, for there is no one else

Quite like you, and so I love you

And sing your praises.


Q’eqchi’ ~ English Dictionary Now Online


Follow this link to access an experimental online version of the Q’eqchi’ ~ English dictionary.  This dictionary combines features of both traditional bilingual dictionaries and vocabularies used for language learning. It is a thematic dictionary, since one view of the content is an arrangement of entries by theme, rather than alphabetically. This approach offers advantages to students as a vocabulary builder, to writers as a thesaurus, and to linguists as an insight into the structure and usage of the language. There are also full alphabetical lists of all 8,500 entries in both Q’eqchi’ to English and English to Q’eqchi’.  Additionally, there are also supporting pages that include a simple introduction to Q’eqchi’ orthography and pronunciation for English speakers that are new to Q’eqchi’ as well as notes on works consulted in the compilation of the dictionary and definitions of abbreviations used.

Feedback is welcome. Work is already underway on an expanded and revised version of the dictionary, perhaps to be published in 2016. Updates on its progress will be published on Mayaglot as they become available.

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