Learn Yucatec Maya (Mayan)

Learn Yucatec Maya (Mayan) online with practical, real-life situations! Simple, fast and easy learning. Speak Mayan language with confidence. Start now with uTalk!


About Yucatec Maya (Mayan)

Yucatec Maya, called maaya t'aan by local speakers, is an Indigenous American language spoken in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and Northern Belize. It is the most widely spoken of the surviving Mayan languages which are all descended from a common ancestral language spoken during the Ancient Mayan civilisation over 3,000 years ago. Although the modern-day Mayan languages, which number around 30, share the same language family, they are not generally mutually intelligible. There are Yucatec Maya language radio stations and TV shows and the language is also taught in a minority of primary schools and nurseries. uTalk recorded native speakers from the Yucatan Peninsula at the Indigenous radio station XHNKA-FM.

uTalk Language Logo
Arrow facing left to cycle backwards through text
Play sample text audio Play sample text audio
Arrow facing right to cycle forward through text

Planet Earth

Where is it spoken?

Mexico

Belize

People Talking

Number of speakers

800,000

Family Tree

Language family

Mayan

Yucatecan

Fun facts — Yucatec Maya (Mayan)

  • The word for the sun is k'iin and is the same word in the Mayan languages. K'iin also means ‘time’ and ‘day’ because the Ancient Maya used the sun to measure the passage of time.
  • There are different Mayan gods responsible for every aspect of life and death. There are also bad-tempered gods and friendly gods who can be given the colloquial suffix “-en” meaning “pal”, for example, yuumen.
  • During a drought, the ritual of ch'a' cháak - 'request for rain' - is performed. Parents tell their children to go under the table and make noises like frogs to encourage the rain to come.
  • When there is lightning – jaats' cháak – and no rain, locals say it is because the gods are irritated by someone and are trying to hit them with a thunderbolt!
  • Many place names in the Yucatan Peninsula are the result of a miscommunication. For example, the present day city Tekax was so named by Spanish colonialists after hearing locals refer to it as te' k'áaxo' – a direction meaning 'there in the mountains'!
  • Place names with Mayan derivations include the popular tourist destination Cancún, which is said to mean ‘nest of snakes’, from kaan - 'snake' - and ku'u' meaning 'to swell or overfill'. 

Over 30 million people have started speaking a new language with uTalk

Treasure

Over 2500 words and phrases, across 60+ topics covering everyday situations

Native Speakers

Practise speaking and compare your pronunciation with native speakers

Games

Game-based learning is fun and intuitive