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Interview with

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

Member since:


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.

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