Kaqkitchel is one of the ancient Maya languages, related in sound and meaning to many other dialects depending on the geographical area. Everyone I have spoken to (in Spanish not in Kaqkitchel) refer to the language as Kaqkitchel. In other areas of Central America they may call it something different, but in the Lake Atitlan region it's known as Kaqkitchel.
Kaqkitchel is thousands of years old yet is still spoken many of the homes of the people, with Spanish being their second language and the one they learn in school. They are very proud of their tongue and will try to teach it to you, if you are at all interested.
Like their traditional dress, the form of Maya language they speak depends on their geographic area. They can understand each other's dialects, and they'll recognize where others are from who speak it a certain way.
As a tourist to Guatemala, one would expect to hear Spanish spoken freely but for the people whose families have lived in these mountainous areas for countless generations, it is Kaqkitchel that is spoken freely not Spanish. In fact there are many old ones who speak and understand very little Spanish.
I would really like to learn this remarkable language. Maybe after I've mastered Spanish...
A few words I know:
nan -- a respectful name to call a woman, probably in Spanish similar to "senora"
chi chi-- breastfeeding
chachek-- have a good day!
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