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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Mayan Languages and Linguistics Collection Enhancement


The Mayan language family includes approximately 30 languages spoken in southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, and has around 6 million speakers. While classic scholarship on the Maya focused almost exclusively on their history, more recent scholarship is characterized by an intense interest in the modern Maya and their cultures, politics, and languages.

This project aims to acquire monographs from strategically important cultural organizations in Mexico and Guatemala in order to fill foundational gaps in scholarship about Mayan languages and linguistics over the past 30 years. The project will also lead to acquisition of literary works by Mayan-language authors to increase holdings in the different Mayan language groups.

By supplementing existing library holdings in Mayan languages/linguistics, art, history, and culture, these acquisitions will position UW–Madison to be a regional leader in Mayan studies, particularly in the field of linguistics.

This acquisition targets analytical monographs, handbooks, textbooks, personal narratives, stories, and grammars written in English or Spanish (about Mayan languages), and/or Mayan languages. The set of proposed texts draws primarily, but not exclusively, from the leading indigenous language institutions in Mexico, Instituto nacional de lenguas indígenas (INALI); Guatemala, Oxlajuuj Keej Maya’ Ajtz’iib’ (OKMA) and Academia de las lenguas mayas de Guatemala (ALMG); and their associated publishers. These institutions hold a special significance in the field as, during the past three decades, they have been responsible for the production of significant pedagogical and descriptive material about Mayan languages, authored primarily by native speakers.


Grant Armstrong, Associate Professor of Spanish, Spanish & Portuguese


Laura Martin, Interim Librarian for Ibero-American Studies and Romance Languages and Literatures


Jessica Hurley, Faculty Assistant, Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program

Katarzyna Beilin, Professor of Spanish, Spanish & Portuguese