Home Events The Reclamation of Xinka in Guatemala

The Reclamation of Xinka in Guatemala

Join us for an afternoon talk with Rodrigo Ranero (Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA)

The Reclamation of Xinka in Guatemala

Among the minoritized languages of Guatemala, Xinka is the only linguistic isolate:  it is impossible to determine whether Xinka is related to any other language family, such as the Mayan languages spoken broadly in the region. Members of the Xinka community, whose territory includes the departments of Santa Rosa, Jutiapa, and Jalapa, are currently pursuing a variety of cultural reclamation efforts, including language reclamation.

In this presentation, I will highlight the language reclamation project led by the “Coordinating Council of the Xinka People of Guatemala” (COPXIG), an NGO that was founded in the late 1990s in the town of Chiquimulilla, Santa Rosa. I will discuss the purpose of my ongoing collaboration with COPXIG, as a Guatemalan linguist who is an outsider to the Xinka community. I will walk us through certain aspects of the grammar of Xinka, showing how linguistic documentation can be made usable for the communities whose language is described therein. In the process, we will demystify one kind of work that linguists can perform in collaborative projects of this nature. Finally, I will discuss how certain methods and strategies pursued in language-related projects by other  communities in Guatemala cannot be applied straightforwardly to the unique sociolinguistic context of Xinka (for example, in establishing a standardized orthography).



Feb 09 2022


3:30 PM - 5:00 PM