Mayan language revitalization, hip hop, and ethnic identity in Guatemala

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30 Scopus citations


This paper analyzes the language ideologies and linguistic practices of Mayan-language hip hop in Guatemala, focusing on the work of the group B'alam Ajpu. The members of B'alam Ajpu use a mix of Spanish and Mayan languages in their music and run a school that combines lessons in hip hop (rapping, break-dancing, etc.) with efforts to promote the use of Mayan languages among children. The language ideologies associated with B'alam Ajpu intersect and challenge the ideologies associated with both language revitalization and with hip hop. The linguistic practices of B'alam Ajpu also challenge hegemonic assumptions regarding ethnic identity in Guatemala.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-153
Number of pages10
JournalLanguage and Communication
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Guatemala
  • Hip hop
  • Identity
  • Language revitalization
  • Mayan languages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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