About Q'eqchi'

From Mayan Languages Glossary

Q'eqchi', is an indigenous Mayan language primarily spoken in Guatemala with additional speakers found in Belize, Mexico, and the US. It belongs to the K’iche’an Mayan language branch, which includes various variants and closely related languages. It is estimated that there are 1,370, 007 speakers in Guatemala and beyond. In Guatemala, Q’eqchi’ is spoken across many regions and is based primarily in the departments of Alta Verapaz, Izabal, and Peten.

With a rich linguistic history spanning centuries, Q'eqchi' plays a vital role in preserving the cultural heritage and identity of the Q'eqchi' community. It serves as a means of communication, transmitting traditional knowledge, stories, and customs from one generation to another.

Despite facing challenges like language endangerment and the impact of globalization, vital efforts to maintain, preserve, and promote the Q'eqchi' language are found in almost every municipality among its many speakers, as well as community mobilization efforts that strive to ensure that it is passed down for generations to come.

Departments & Municipalities in Guatemala where Q’eqchi’ is primarily spoken (Including parts of Belize). Language and its speakers are ever on the move, this is particularly true of Q'eqchi'. For this reason, the list below is only a guide and may not reflect current advancement of Q'eqchi' as a linguistic community in regions such as El Peten.


Alta Verapaz - Cahabón, Chahal, Cobán, Chisec, Carcha, Chamelco, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, Lanquín, Panzós, Santa Cruz Verapaz, Senahú, Tamahú, Tucurú.

Izabal - El Estor, Livingston, Los Amates, Puerto Barrios.

El Peten - Dolores, La Libertad, Poptún, San Luís, Sayaxché.

El Quiche - Chicaman, Ixcán, Playa Grande, Uspantan.


Southern Regions - Distrito de Toledo.