Pedro Mateo Pedro of the Faculty of Arts & Science’s Department of Linguistics has received an award from the Connaught Community Partnerships Research Program for his project, Revitalization of Itzaj: An Endangered Mayan Language in Guatemala.
Mateo Pedro is a native speaker of Q’anjob’al, a Mayan language of Guatemala. His work focuses on the documentation, description, and revitalization of Mayan languages, with special research interest on the acquisition of Mayan languages. He has also worked on the production of educational materials in Mayan languages in coordination with different institutions in Guatemala.
“I am grateful for receiving the Connaught Community Partnership Award,” he says. “In this collaborative project with the Comunidad Lingüística Itzaj of the Academia de las Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala, we are implementing the Oxlajuj Aj immersion program, which includes a teaching method and a pedagogical grammar. Furthermore, the award will support my collaborative research with Mayan communities, and will provide an opportunity for U of T students to conduct research in Mayan languages and language revitalization in Guatemala.”
About 31 Mayan languages are currently spoken by over 6 million people in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize and Honduras. However, less than 50 people are estimated to speak Itzaj fluently.
The Connaught Partnership Program creates new collaborative research partnerships, or nurtures early-stage partnerships, between the University of Toronto and community partners, fostering access to each other’s unique knowledge, expertise and capabilities on issues of shared interest that, over time, may evolve into more established relationships that will attract external funding.