Li Hulak sa' Tzolleb'aal

Q'eqchi' language instructor, Thomas C'aal, assisting students during
class at the Punta Gorda, Belize Library.
Photo courtesy of douglas reeser.
by douglas reeser on May 12, 2012

Li Hulak sa' Tzolleb'aal
Naq nink'ulun sa' tzolleb'aal
Nink'e xsahil xch'ool intzolonel,
Chi sa'li loq'laj waatinob'aal
Nintikib' xb'aanunkil ink'anjel

Jwal sa li tzolok sa' komonil,
Chi jo'kan jwal nakana chi qu.
Naqatzol li wank sa' tuulanil,
Xb'aan naq ha'an nake'xk'ut chi qu.


Arriving at school
When I arrive at school
I greet my teacher,
In my blessed language
I begin to do my work.

It feels so good to learn together,
In that way we learn.
We learn to live together peacefully and in harmony,
because that is what they teach us.


Above is a Q'eqchi' poem for school students given in class during the Punta Gorda Library Q'eqchi' Language Session in southern Belize. This poem was taught in our second class which was attended by more than 15 people from a variety of local and foreign backgrounds. After two classes we have learned the Q'eqchi' alphabet, the numbers 1-20, and some basic vocabulary and phrases. Simple poems have proven to be a fun addition to class, and I thought this one was particularly apt given that we are in a language class. You may not get the pronunciation quite right, but take the time to try and recite the poem, and you will get an idea of the difficulty we all face in learning this ancient Maya language.
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