Is it time to learn some Maya?
When we first visited the Yucatan peninsula in the early 1980s, we were warned that not many people spoke English, so, we should be prepared to rely on pigeon Spanish and well-honed charade skills.
Unfortunately, we found that reality was actually worse: if you got away from the hotel desk staff and waiters, many Yucatecans actually spoke Mayan as their first language and only a few knew a little street-Spanish. . . .
We’ve found many of our Mayan-speaking acquaintances actively avoid talking with obvious foreigners, because they’ve had many frustrating past experiences trying to mesh their embarrassingly weak street-Spanish with our even cruder NOB Spanish (NOB = North of the Border). As a result, these friends retreat into their shells when in the Big City, and they tend to only exchange brief glances and occasional shy smiles with NOB or white-skinned folk. In our experience, this creates an unnecessary divide. Is it time to bridge the gaps? . . .
Read the full article, and learn how to say “hello” “good bye” and a lot of other useful thing about family and friends.
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Full text of article can be read at: (or access under Living in Yucatan (see header) )
Bridging the Gaps (Learning Maya)
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Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry
Read-on MacDuff . . .
Learning Maya is easier than you might think. The grammar is closer to that of English than it is to Spanish, and once you get the basics down, and come up with some mnemonic devices to help you remember certain things, it’s really a very fun language and flows quite naturally for a native English speaker.
Can you describe some helpful mnemonic devices?
I think it’s different for everyone. Just whatever helps you to remember it. For example, I remember that kay means fish and k’ay means song by thinking of a singing fish, or that ts’íimin means horse because Tizimin has lots of cowboys, etc… Just whatever connections your mind makes.