83: How kids learn Q’anjob’al and other Mayan languages - Interview with Pedro Mateo Pedro
Young kids growing up in Guatemala often learn Q’anjob’al, Kaq’chikel, or another Mayan language from their families and communities. But they don’t live next to the kinds of major research universities that do most of the academic studies about how kids learn languages. Figuring out what these kids are doing is part of a bigger push to learn more about language learning in a broader variety of sociocultural settings.
In this episode, your host Gretchen McCulloch gets enthusiastic about how kids learn Q’anjob’al and other Mayan languages with Dr. Pedro Mateo Pedro, who’s an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, Canada, a native speaker of Q'anjob'al and a learner of Kaq'chikel. We talk about Pedro’s background teaching school in Q’anjob’al and Spanish, which sounds kids acquire later in Q’anjob’al (hint: it’s the ejectives like q’ and b’), and gender differences in how kids speak Q’anjob’al. We also talk more broadly about why this work is important, both in terms of understanding how language acquisition works as a whole and in terms of using the knowledge of how children acquire Indigenous languages to create teaching materials specific to those languages. Finally, we talk about Pedro’s newer revitalization work with a community of Itza’ speakers and the process of building a relationship with a community that you’re not already part of.
Read the transcript here: https://lingthusiasm.com/post/725990865999462400/transcript-episode-83-how-kids-learn-qanjobal
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In this month’s behind the scenes bonus episode, Gretchen gets enthusiastic about the linguistic process of transcribing podcast episodes with Sarah Dopierala, whose name you may recognize from the credits at the end of the show! We talk about how Sarah's background in linguistics helps her with the technical words and phonetic transcriptions in Lingthusiasm episodes, her own research into converbs, and the linguistic tendencies that she's noticed from years of transcribing Lauren and Gretchen (guess which of us uses more quotative speech!)
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For links to things mentioned in this episode: https://lingthusiasm.com/post/725956192085671936/lingthusiasm-83-how-kids-learn-qanjobal-and