Revitalization of Itzaj
I am currently working on the Revitalization of Itzaj, in collaboration with the Comunidad Lingüística Itzaj of the Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala and with funding from the Work Study Program and the Connaught Fund at the University of Toronto. In the project, we are using the Oxlajuj Aj immersion program developed by Judith Maxwell and Walter Little, by training speakers of Itzaj in the teaching method and developing an Itzaj pedagogical grammar. Students in Linguistics at the University of Toronto have been engaged in the creation of the grammar.
Mayan language field schools in Guatemala
Since 2015, as the Executive Director of the Guatemalan Field Station, University of Maryland, I have directed field schools in Mayan languages (Kaqchikel and K’iche’) in Guatemala, following the Oxlajuj Aj method. I have conducted the field schools with Maria Polinsky and Omer Preminger, and with support from local organizations and universities in Guatemala, such as Maya Health Alliance|Wuqu’ Kawoq, Cooperativa Aj Su’m, Proyecto Renacimiento, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Campus Altiplano, and Universidad Mariano Gálvez de Guatemala, Campus Quetzaltenango.
In collaboration with the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Campus Altiplano, I have conducted workshops on the Oxlajuj Aj method to train elementary school teachers of Guatemala to teach Mayan languages.
Documentation of Mayan languages
I have worked on the documentation of the acquisition of the following Mayan languages: Q’anjob’al, Ch’ol, and Mam with my academic supervisor Clifton Pye. I have also documented the acquisition of Chuj with Maria Polinsky. Maria Polinsky and I documented two Mayan languages in contact: K’iche’ and Awakateko. I have also documented narratives in Chuj with Jessica Coon.
Pedagogical grammars in Mayan languages
K’iche’: Mario Marroquin and I are currently working on a pedagogical grammar of K’iche’ following the Tijonīk Kaqchikel Oxlajuj Aj grammar model.
I recently collaborated with Eladio Mateo Toledo (B’alam) in the creation of a keyboard of cellphones for Q’anjob’al as part of the project TZ’IB’MA (digital keyboards for Mayan languages).
Workshops in Q’anjob’al
I have also collaborated with Eladio Mateo Toledo (B’alam) and Q’anjob’al school teachers to conduct linguistic workshops in Q’anjob’al.
I have worked as a consultant at the Ministry of Education of Guatemala and the Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala to create teaching materials for Mayan languages. As a result, I have contributed in the book on writing and reading in Q’anjob’al for first year elementary school children: Chi wilajoq kax chi hintz’ib’en unej, yich kuyoj/Leo y Escribo.[link]