Background on Wastek - Contrary to popular belief, the Maya people and Mayan languages did not die out with the fall of the Classic Maya civilization in 900 CE. In fact, 30 Mayan languages (most as different from each other as English and German) are still spoken today by millions of people across Central America. All of these languages are descendents of one hypothesized Proto-Mayan language spoken thousands of years ago. Wastek Mayan (or as the speakers call it, Teenek Kaw) has been claimed to be the oldest of these languages to branch off from the rest. As such, Wastek preserves words and ways of speaking from Proto-Mayan, as well as unique innovations, that set it apart from its sisters. The Wastek people live far to the northwest of the other Maya peoples in the Mexican states of San Luis Potosí and Veracruz.
Teenek Stories - The six stories below come from different communities speaking the Potosino variety. The theme of each was chosen by the individual that recounted it and each represents an insight into the everyday life, work, mythology, and issues pervading the Potosino Wastek community. This is an ongoing project and when complete, each story will be published here with a recording, a Wastek transcription, both a Spanish and English translation, and a morpheme-by-morpheme in-line gloss, in that order. If one of these is not published here and you would like to know where we are in the process, feel free to contact me.