In the United States, we tend to think that most Central Americans primarily speak Spanish, but many still speak Mayan languages. Among the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors who have come from Central America this year are children who speak little or no Spanish. Many are from Guatemala’s indigenous communities, who speak more than 20 different Mayan languages.
Sixteen year old Rafael Domingo, age 16, grew up in Guatemala speaking Q’anjob’al, and the language barrier has made his transition to the States. “It was so difficult to come to this country,” says Domingo, who is now studying English at the Guatemalan-Maya Cneter in Florida. The classes are taught with a mixture of English and Spanish, but both are relatively new to the Mayan immigrants in the group.
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