The Maya are one of the largest indigenous groups of the Americas, with a modern population estimated at more than six million. The largest concentration of modern Maya peoples is in Guatemala, where they make up over 40 percent of the population. In Mexico, Yucatecan Mayan speakers are the second largest indigenous group in the country. The Mayan language family, which includes twenty-four to thirty related but mutually unintelligible languages, is the most populous and diversified language family in Mesoamerica. With the exception of Huastec in the Mexican states of Veracruz and Tamaulipas, Mayan speakers are found today in northern Yucatán, Belize, Chiapas, and highland Guatemala. Linguists have estimated that the Mayan languages began diverging around 4,100 years ago. Before...

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