The IRC will continue the Lexicon tour of Central and South America with the K'che' Maya language. The K'iche' language is a member of the K'ichean (Quichean) subgroup of the Mayan family of languages, spoken in the western highlands of central Guatemala by nearly one million people. The language is the second most-spoken language in Guatemala behind Spanish.
About the Speaker
Ignacio Carvajal specializes in interdisciplinary research on Mesoamerican Literatures, Languages, and Cultures and pedagogical approaches to Indigenous Languages instruction. He focuses on Mayan Languages from Guatemala, particularly K’iche’.
His interests include Indigenous responses to colonialism, particularly how early-modern notions of territory relate to political organization, authority, and religion. Drawing from Literary Studies, Ethnohistory, Indigenous Studies, and other disciplines, he analyzes indigenous language documents, doctrinal materials, religious chronicles, and other sources to better understand colonialism and coloniality, along with its contemporary remnants.
He is also interested in pedagogical approaches and the creation of open access materials for the study of Indigenous languages. He is a member of a team of collaborators working on Chqeta’maj le qach’ab’al K’iche’ (Let’s learn K’iche’!), an open resource, digital repository of language lessons, which are also the base for his K’iche’ class at the University of Kansas’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.
Ignacio reads and writes poetry. His work has appeared in journals such as Acentos Review, Rio Grande Review, Coal City Review, and in the anthologies The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States and Primera Página: Poetry from the Latino Heartland. He is a member of the Latino Writers Collective of Kansas City, the Taller Literario Don Chico in Costa Rica, and the board of directors of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, in Austin.
He has a Ph.D. in Iberian and Latin American Languages and Cultures, with a portfolio in Native American and Indigenous Studies, from the University of Texas at Austin. He also obtained a B.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies with highest distinction from the University of Kansas and a A.A. in Liberal Arts, with honors, from Johnson County Community College.
There are around 6500 languages spoken throughout the world today, but how many can we name, much less speak? The International Relations Council is proud to present Lexicon, a weekly digital interactive program that will introduce you to a language you may not know much about. Each week, IRC members and friends will offer some history and context on a different language, let you sample the look and sounds of the language, and give you some hints on where you can experience more of the language and the cultures it represents – and you just might walk away with a new word or two. Linguists of all levels welcome!