Maya or Mayan? An Explanation

After seeing a Maya hotel sign while visiting Palenque, and after hearing friends refer to their MAYA ancestors that we began to think…something does not sound right.

Maya vs. Mayan sign at Best Western Palenque Hotel

Was it a single versus plural thing?  One is Maya and 2+ are Mayans?  Or was the Creole dialect that chops off letters in words creeping into my speech patterns after living in Belize for several years?

As it turns out, Maya refers to everything Maya, except when referring to a Mayan language. For example, it’s Maya culture. Not Mayan culture.  It’s Maya archaeology, not Mayan archaeology.

Conversely, people speak Mayan, not Maya. So unless you are talking about a Mayan language, ALWAYS say Maya.


http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/12/08/278950/-Maya-vs-Mayan

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