Spanish may be the official language, primary language, and lingua franca of Guatemala and Mexico (and, indeed, most of Central America), but many people think it’s the only language spoken in the region—and that couldn’t be further than the truth. Before European colonization, Central America flourished with linguistic diversity, with people widely speaking Mayan, Aztec, and other languages. These languages are still around, and particularly in Guatemala, many people still speak them. An example is Q’anjob’al.
Q’anjob’al is a Mayan language spoken in the western highlands of Guatemala and neighboring regions of Mexico. There are 21 Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala, and Q’anjob’al is one of the biggest—but unfortunately, it’s still endangered. It’s difficult for Mayan languages to thrive in the face of Spanish prestige and ubiquity, especially after decades of repression. However, at TranslationServices.com, we believe in the importance of Q’anjob’al and other indigenous languages, as they hold immense cultural significance to their speakers. So, we decided to compile a professional team to translate Q’anjob’al, and it is with the utmost pride that we present our Q’anjob’al translation team now.
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The fascinating world of the Q’anjob’al language
Q’anjob’al, which is spoken by around 170,000 people in Guatemala’s Huehuetenango department and an additional 10,000 in the Mexican state of Chiapas, is taught in public schools in Guatemala as part of the government’s efforts to foster its indigenous Mayan languages. Q’anjob’al is known for being one of the most grammatically conservative Mayan languages, exhibiting less divergence from the proto-Mayan language spoken more than 2,000 years ago.
Q’anjob’al—like all the other Mayan languages in Guatemala—uses an ergative–absolutive alignment system, which applies the same markers (the absolutive ones) to intransitive subjects as to transitive objects. The ergative markers are used for transitive subjects and for marking possession on nouns. There are two sets of markers for each one, depending on the phonological makeup of the sentence. Verbs are marked for both subject and object, with nouns sustaining minimal inflection. Q’anjob’al also favors aspect rather than tense, focusing on whether an action has been completed rather than when it happened and using a combination of aspect, mood, and context to ascertain the tense.
An ergative language that effectively lacks tense—Q’anjob’al isn’t exactly a walk in the park. But for our Q’anjob’al translators, it’s a great joy to translate their precious language.
Why not translate to or from Q’anjob’al today?
Our translation team is passionate about translating Q’anjob’al—an important historical and cultural asset of Guatemala and Mexico—whether you’re looking for translation into the language or from it. You can use our translation services from Q’anjob’al to English to spread Q’anjob’al culture and thought to other places in the world, whether you’re working with historical documents, traditional literature and folklore, or a contemporary speaker’s thoughts. On the flip side, you can take advantage of our English-to-Q’anjob’al translation services to produce more Q’anjob’al content, be that academic papers or surveys, business materials, or entertainment content like books, websites, apps, or games. In either case, our Q’anjob’al translators are excited to assist.
Why not reach out today and tell us what you want for your Q’anjob’al translation? We’re all ears!