The official language in Guatemala is Spanish. It is used in schools and government offices across the whole country. Apart from Spanish, other languages spoken in Guatemala are 21 Mayan languages, one Arawakan language, and two indigenous languages.

The Spanish language is spoken widely across the country, but a study shows that only 60.2% of the population uses Spanish as their first language. The other remaining 39.8% of the population speak the other 23 recognized languages. The majority of the remaining 39.8% of the population use Spanish as their second language causing the difference in eloquent Spanish speakers. Minority languages are many in Guatemala and some are not recognized officially by the government but are still spoken in the country.

There are some colloquial phrases that are unique to Guatemala. Some of the interesting terms include “clavo simples,” which means nail but also can be used to express a difficult situation. “Aguas” is another term which means water but used to mean someone is warning you to duck or move aside, “cerote” means a friend, while “patojo” means a kid.

Some of the minority languages are the 21 Mayan languages, indigenous languages, and Arawakan languages. The Mayan minority languages include Achi, spoken in Cubulco and Rabinal areas, Q’anjob'al or Kanjobal is spoken in parts of Guatemala, Akatek spoke by residents around Huehuetenango areas, Ixil spoken by residents of Santa Maria Nebaj, San Juan Cotzal and San Gaspar Chajul towns among other areas. Xinca is spoken by the Xinca people. The Xinca language is spoken by the southeastern people of Guatemala. Another indigenous language is Garifuna spoken by people of Izabal Department of Guatemala.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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