Mayan Language Institute Promotes Study of Indigenous Languages

March 2, 2015

Each summer, the UNM Latin American & Iberian Institute (LAII) offers the Mayan Language Institute, a six-week program summer immersion language program in K'iche' Maya and Kaqchikel Maya. The program, held in Antigua, Guatemala, is offered through a partnership between the UNM LAII, Vanderbilt University Center for Latin American Studies, Tulane University Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies, University of Texas Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, and the University of Chicago Center for Latin American Studies.

Students in the progarm study with both U.S. faculty and native speakers. In addition to language study, students participate in cultural activities, lectures, discussions, and excursions. Students may study one of the languages at the beginner, intermediate, or advanced level depending on placement by program directors.

With more than 1.5 million K'iche' and Kaqchikel speakers in Guatemala, the goal of the institute is to help students develop and advance proficiency in their chosen language and to gain a better understanding of the cultural and political contexts that have affected the historical development and preservation of the language. Efforts to protect these languages are playing a pivotal role in the Mayan struggle to regain control over their political and cultural destiny.

Students pursuing K'iche' Maya will spend six weeks in Nahualá. Students pursuing Kaqchikel Maya will spend six weeks in Antigua. All students are placed with local families for home-stays. Classes in Antigua will take place at UT Austin's Casa Herrera- a great colonial mansion turned beautifully restored academic facility- which is centrally located one block north of Antigua's Central Park.

Students will receive 6 credits from Tulane University (3 credits for language course and 3 credits for culture course). Full class attendance is required. Applications are due by March 13, 2015. For more information, see the Mayan Language Institute webpage.