Yucatec Maya language planning and bilingual education in the Yucatan

Anne Marie Guerrettaz, Eric J. Johnson, Gisela Ernst-Slavit


The rapid decline of indigenous languages represents one of the most troubling topics within applied linguistics. Teachers’ implementation of indigenous language planning through their pedagogical practices is a significant but under-researched issue. This ethnographic study examines a Maya language program (i.e., professional development) for 1,600 teachers in the Yucatan’s Intercultural Bilingual Education (EIB) system, and K-12 schools in Maya-speaking communities where they worked. Using longitudinal data (2010-2016), analysis centered on the creation and promulgation of the Norms of Writing for the Maya Language (2014) and related language policy. Findings illustrate: 1) the importance of increasing the quantity of Maya-speaking teachers, and 2) a clash between widespread orthographic variation in Maya and teachers’ standard language-culture. The new standard has not been implemented in EIB, which still does not in practice require Maya proficiency of teachers. This research discusses possible benefits and risks of a standard Maya for EIB.


normalización lingüística; normativización lingüística; educación bilingüe; maya yucateco; México; maestros de lenguas originarias; Yucatán; la política del lenguaje; etnografía; interacción en el salón de clase

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.28.5136

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Copyright (c) 2020 Gisela Ernst-Slavit, Anne Marie Guerrettaz, Eric J. Johnson


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