|Our vision was to develop freeware materials useful for K'iche' Maya learners, both native and non-native speakers. There are very few online resources for learners of indigenous languages, especially Mayan, and we felt that this need had to be addressed. We are collaborating closely with native speakers from the township of Nahualá in the highlands of Guatemala and our texts, video and audio were produced in the variety spoken there. Our materials are descriptively rigorous but we do not regard grammar instruction as a fundamental goal, but rather as a tool to develop communicational competence and students' ability to continue to studies on their own as they move into the advanced level. Our website has Spanish and English versions, which is a crucial element for its success. Learners in Guatemala -especially in bilingual schools- and abroad -especially in universities in the United States and Mexico- have been using our materials regularly. We have had reports that some K'iche' speakers in Guatemala have used our materials to teach themselves English! K'iche' learners in Guatemala and abroad use our materials creatively for a host of different purposes: K'iche' self-instruction, developing philological skills to translate 16th and 17th- century documents in highland Mayan languages, and even English self-instruction, as mentioned above. Our materials have also been used as textbooks in L2 K'iche' Mayan classes in Guatemala, Mexico and the United States. |
Our work has been collaborative from the beginning, involving Guatemalans and non-Guatemalans, native and non-native speakers as well as students and instructors, both in Guatemala and the United States. Lesson content was first developed over the years by native and non-native instructors who have regularly taught K'iche' in Guatemala and the United States. Appropriate audio and video content was produced by a team of developers including experienced native speakers in Nahualá, a UT graduate student and COERLL staff, who provided the technical know-how and the digital platform for our website. Cultural content is crucial in this endeavor and most of our units focus on a particular dimension of the life, cultural practices, traditional outfits and handcrafts, food, and oral tradition. As we increase content our goal is to create advanced level materials completely in K'iche' engaging the interests and initiatives of K'iche' speakers themselves. Future content includes the experience of migration, which is crucial in the live of many K'iche' men and women; ritual; K'iche' colonial texts, and K'iche' history.