Catalogue of AILLA content

José Ignacio Carvajal, a graduate Research Assistant at the University of Texas at Austin, annotated many of the audiovisual resources available in The Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA) while he was looking for content that could be repurposed for the Chqe’tamaj le qach’ab’al! project. The result is a small AILLA reading guide that includes detailed information about some of the sources in the archive. Through this guide the archive becomes more easily accessible to the public.

The guide is formatted as an Excel document. Information on the recordings includes topics, level of difficulty, location of recording, length, etc.

The focus in dealing with these materials has been principally pedagogical. In evaluating them, Ignacio used as a base the variety of K’iche’ spoken in Nahualá, Sololá (the location of UT Austin’s study abroad program). He has created a color coding system to denote relevance and usefulness of the recordings for the instructional application of K’iche’. The decisions regarding the relevance and usefulness are based on personal and professional opinions. Visitors of the archive should also take information like origin of the speaker, the general topic of the recording, its length, and level of intelligibility into account.

There are two large corpora in the archive:

  • OKMA (Oxlajuj Kej Maya Ajtzib’) has a large amount of recordings. These can be classified in three main categories: vocab lists, narratives concerning a specific cultural topic in a specific location in Guatemala, and personal stories about the speakers themselves and their lives. These recordings are usually short and span a wide range of dialectic and regional variation. The annotations should give the reader a general idea of what can be found in the many OKMA sources. (Call numbers range from QUC003R001 to QUC003R233.)
  • The other large body of sources comes from the Proyecto Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural. These recordings are generally much longer, and each entry often contains several recordings of the same speaker, which can be useful for learners. Annotated in some length in the Reading Guide, for example, is the story of Diego Tum Guarchaj, containing 10 parts of 30 minutes each. The topics covered are broad and are outlined briefly in the Reading guide and in the Word documents. (Call numbers range from QUC004R001-QUC004R049.)

Color coding system:

Red not useful This includes recordings that are very hard to understand, have technical problems, etc.
Orange useful for advanced learners Often very fast speakers, or versions that are significantly different in pronunciation and lexicon from the Nahualá variety of K’iche’.
Yellow useful for intermediate learners or in a few sections
Blue useful for beginner to intermediate learners
Green Very useful for the purpose of beginner classes in K’iche’

Please note, Column H in the reading guide refers to separate Word documents with more detailed notes on the recordings. If you are interested in seeing these notes, or have any other questions, please contact

Download AILLA reading aide (Excel document)