Alfredo Ramos Quixan
Rare Language Specialist - K'iché (Maya)
Name: Alfredo Ramos Quixán
Nationality or Ethnicity: Guatemalan/Kʼicheʼ heritage
Where do you live?: Michigan, United States of America
Representative of rare language: Kʼicheʼ
1. What’s your story? How did you get exposed to this rare language?
I am a native speaker of k'iche and raised as part of the k'iche brand of the Mayan culture in a small town where the majority of the community are indigenous people. That was the only language I spoke until I moved to the United States and since then, I’ve been exposed to other languages.
2. How would you describe the efforts being made, at the civil, social, and governmental languages, to preserve this language?
There aren’t any specific steps being taken by the government, since Spanish is the main language being used in private and public schools in urban and rural areas. Though, some public schools in the Quiche region are teaching students how to read and write in kʼicheʼ. In higher education, including a few universities in the US and around the world, they are offering programs to study kʼicheʼ and the Mayan culture in Guatemala.
3. How often do you get the chance to use this language in your daily life?
I primarily use it with my parents, siblings, family as well as with my friends/people from my hometown both abroad and locally.
4. Are you satisfied with the response of students in your department and your university to the available offerings in your language?
The university where I am studying my undergraduate degree doesn’t offer kʼicheʼ, though other languages are offered.
5. What is your message to young people who wish to learn this language?
Learning English and Spanish was a rocky journey. Yet, I found it very rewarding since now I can communicate and help people with various backgrounds and cultures. Learning kʼicheʼ will open up one’s views into the past and how the Mayan civilization survived century after century. It will also teach you about its rich history in culture and traditions that go back hundreds of years. Most importantly learning k’iche allows you to help and work with people in a developing country and be able to communicate with them.