Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Magdalena Perkowska

Subject Categories

Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | Indigenous Studies | Latin American Literature


Bilingualism, Guatemala, Ideology of Language, Literary Production, Maya, Minor Literature


My study approaches the use of Guatemalan Spanish in modern Maya literary works through a theoretical framework drawn on theories of "purity" and mestizaje, the concept of minor literature, and "image" and ideology of language. I problematize the "major"/"minor" dichotomy of language based on a Eurocentric view of the dominance of national languages as the extremely diverse linguistic ecology of Latin American lends itself to the deterritorialization of hegemonic discourse, but without sustaining a neat categorization of language. Guatemalan Spanish is a heavily Maya-inflected interlanguage share by all Guatemalans. Mayan writers chose purposefully to counter the ladino ethnocentrism of the time, including its ideologies of racial and linguistic "purity." In spite of the racial caste system that stealthily thrives to this day, these literary works force readers to confront that not only ladino (mestizo) culture has infiltrated Maya society, but that all Guatemalans have been culturally and linguistically mayanized.