Indigenous languages in Guatemala

Did you know there are 24 languages spoken in Guatemala?

In Guatemala, Spanish is spoken by 93% of the population but there are also 21 Mayan languages and other languages - Garífuna and Xinca.  The map below shows the region where each language is spoken.

In Santa Lucía Utatlán, where MM’s partner communities are located, K’iche’ is spoken. K’iche’ is the second most spoken language in Guatemala, after Spanish, and more than 1 million people speak it! We asked our team to teach us some words in K’iche’.


Although many people speak K’iche’, there are many other languages in Guatemala that are not as widely spoken. The United Nations states “fewer and fewer children are learning indigenous languages in the traditional way, from their parents and elders. Even when the parental generation speaks the indigenous language, they do not often pass it on to their children.” With technology advances, many are finding new ways to promote and encourage the learning of indigenous languages. For example, Mil Milagros Administrative Assistant, Manuel, created an app to encourage young people to learn Tz’utujil and help preserve his native language. Giving young people the opportunity to learn indigenous languages is vital to language preservation. 

Mil Milagros is proud to give workshops and communicate with beneficiaries in their first language. This gives women the opportunity to communicate in a language they feel comfortable in so positive changes can be made in their homes and communities.