AI Grammars


Mayan languages are part of a language family spoken in Mesoamerica. Currently, the 34 languages listed in glottolog 4.8 as members of the Mayan language family, are spoken in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. The language of the Classical Mayan inscriptions is a descendent of the Proto-language of the contemporary Mayan languages.

The situation of these languages varies: some languages, such as Yucatec Maya, are spoken by a large population and are represented in education and the mass media, while others are severely threatened. Although many languages of this family are still under-studied and under-documented, the Mayan family at large is overall well represented in current linguistic research, with reference grammars and dictionaries, numerous PhD's and research articles dedicated to particular grammatical phenomena, such as possessive constructions, classifier systems, optionality of plurals, pluractionality, absence of tense morphology, ergativity, spatial expressions, omnipredicativity, word order typology (with emphasis on V-initial word order), discourse functions of left peripheral positions, etc.

The present resource was created between October 2023 and March 2024 by a group of experts on Mayan languages who enjoy linguistic fieldwork, linguistic analysis, scientific exchange, and collaborative activities. They were motivated by an audience of students at the Universities of Göttingen and the Humboldt University of Berlin, as well as numerous external participants who contributed to the discussions and created materials for this project. The project was funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
The design of the present resource used ideas developed within the sister projects Glottothèque: Ancient Indo-European Languages online (by Saverio Dalpedri, Götz Keydana, and Stavros Skopeteas), Glottothèque: Languages of Anatolia, Caucasus, Iran, Mesopotamia (by Christiane Bulut, Anaïd Donabédian-Demopoulos, Geoffrey Haig, Geoffrey Khan, Pollet Samvelian, Stavros Skopeteas, Nina Sumbatova), TutorMX (by Rodrigo Gutiérrez Bravo, Jorgina López Torres). The targets, contents and design of the "Glottothèque: Mayan Languages" differ in various ways from the earlier glottothèque volumes, reflecting the ideas of the editors, contributors, and students of the present project.

The editorial team


Our goal is to address selected issues of current research on Mayan languages for an audience of students/researchers in linguistics who do not necessarily have earlier experience in the languages of this family. Hence, the challenge is to find a balance between introducing prerequisites (about Mayan grammar or linguistic analysis) and demonstrating the analytical depth of the current scientific discussions. The program below contains a range of topics that are representative of the different layers of morphosyntax. In order to establish coherence, we selected topics that have been intensively discussed in the current linguistic research: number and classifier systems in the nominal domain, ergativity in the verbal domain, information structure in the clausal domain. The teaching units also contain issues beyond these topics that will point to further fruitful directions of research in these languages.



By Language

In the following sections, you find the same units sorted by language - along with basic information (affiliation, place, population, sources and basic readings) about the languages at issue.



Rodrigo Gutiérrez Bravo

El Colegio de México, Mexico City, Mexico, and University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany

Stavros Skopeteas

University of Göttingen, Germany

Elisabeth Verhoeven

Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany


Judith Aissen

University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

Grant Armstrong

University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Scott AnderBois

Brown University, USA

Brandon Baird

Middlebury College, USA

Mike Berger

Universität Leipzig, Germany

Barbara Blaha Pfeiler

CEPHSIS, Merida, Mexico

Jürgen Bohnemeyer

University at Buffalo, USA

Lauren Clemens

Univ. at Albany, State Univ. of New York, USA

Eve Danziger

University of Virginia, USA

Michael Dürr

Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine

Univ. of Helsinki, Finland; National Univ. of Singapore

Colette Grinevald (Craig)

CNRS Lyon, DDL, France

Robert Henderson

University of Arizona, USA

Yusuke Imanishi

Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan

Danny Law

University of Texas, Austin, USA

Christian Lehmann

University of Erfurt, Germany

Carol-Rose Little

University of Oklahoma, USA

Pedro Mateo Pedro

University of Toronto, Canada

Gilles Polian

CIESAS, Unidad Regional Surueste, Mexico

Jaime Pérez González

University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Barbara Stiebels

Universität Leipzig, Germany

Igor Vinogradov

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México: Mexico City, MX

Roberto Zavala Maldonado

CIESAS, Unidad Regional Surueste, Mexico

poster presenters

Luka Anlauff

Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany

Vivienne Bauer

University of Göttingen, Germany

Lea George

University of Göttingen, Germany

Arne Goelz

Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany

Matthes Fürst

Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany

Joshua Kalempouw

University of Göttingen, Germany

Victor Renard

Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany

Eric Thurau

Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany

Zhu Wen

University of Göttingen, Germany

administrative and editorial team

Katharina Riepe

University of Göttingen

Yasaman Sanei

University of Göttingen

Alina Sementsova

University of Göttingen

Duygu Şen

University of Göttingen



Interested students and researchers are welcome to participate to the course meetings! You can receive the announcements of the meetings including connection details as well as further relevant announcements for the course by subscribing to the

Mayan Languages 23/24:
mailing list

instructions for contributors

Our aim is to introduce representative snippets within the topics of interest. These snippets may present the core points of a phenomenon or an analysis with introducing the basic facts and point to further readings for a deeper understanding. In the following webpage, you find detailed instructions for the contents, the form and the technical issues of the video units:

instructions for lecturers

Course participants are invited to contribute with research posters. You find instructions for posters and video-recorded oral presentations here:

instructions for participants

films about Mayan people


Gutiérrez Bravo, Rodrigo, Stavros Skopeteas, Elisabeth Verhoeven (eds.) (2024), Glottothèque: Mayan Languages (electronic resource). Berlin/Göttingen/Mexico City: online resource, retrieved [Month] [Day], [Year], from