Mayan languages are spoken by at least 6 million native Maya. Most of them are in Guatemala, Mexico or Belize. In 1996, Guatemala formally recognized 21 Mayan languages by name, and Mexico recognises eight others.
The Mayan languages are some of the best documented and most studied in the Americas. Modern Mayan languages come from Proto-Mayan, a language that was probably spoken at least 5000 years ago. It has been partlyreconstructed.
- In linguistics, it is common to use Mayan when talking about to the languages, or an aspect of a language. In other academic fields, Maya is the preferred usage. It is used as both a singular and plural noun, and as the adjectival form.
- Spence, Jack; David R. Dye, Paula Worby, Carmen Rosa de Leon-Escribano, George Vickers, and Mike Lanchin (August 1988). "Promise and Reality: Implementation of the Guatemalan Peace Accords". Hemispheres Initiatives. Retrieved 2006-12-06.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America (Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics, 4). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-195-09427-1. p.165.