Maya or Mayan? That is the Question

Greetings from a soggy Playa del Carmen. For those of you who were here on Sunday evening, you got to experience a taste of what the rainy season can bring. The Maya god Chaac has been very active over the last week bringing us torrential rains, seemingly nonstop lightning, and thunder that sent my dogs running. Speaking of Maya gods, I have an editorial question for you. Should I have said ¨Maya god¨ or  ¨Mayan god¨?

If you said, Maya, you are right. Many of us use the word Mayan when we should be using Maya. I learned this a few months back while researching the correct terminology and thanks to The Open School of Ethnography and Anthropology (www.osea-cite.org), I put together this quick reference for myself:  

  • Maya should be used as both a noun and an adjective. For example. Maya archaeological sites, Maya calendar, Maya folklore, the Maya (people)
  • Mayan should be used when referring to the language (actually a family of languages). For example, “there are over 29 Mayan languages spoken in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras.”

Just remember: Like all grammar rules, there may be exceptions, but the above is a good general rule of thumb.

Speaking of the Maya, on the front page of this edition we presented another option for a day trip for you. Coba is one of my favorite Maya archaeological sites in the region (although admittedly I haven’t been to Ek Balam which everyone says is their favorite. It is on my list of places to visit very soon). At Coba, you can explore Maya history and perhaps learn some Mayan.

Also on my list of places to visit is Chelem and Chuburna in the state of Yucatan. Catherine´s article in our Discover Mexico section (Westbound Weekend: Chelem and Chuburna) gives you a taste of what to expect when you head west to these two small, coastal towns not far from Progreso.

Have you been to Bacalar? Many of you have visited this spectacular lagoon and small town about three and a half hours south of Playa. How many of you knew that Bacalar had a pirate past? It´s true, and thanks to our resident anthropologist, Alejandra Campo, you can learn about the original Pirates of the Caribbean in our Art & Culture section.

We hope you enjoy this edition, and we thank you for taking the time to pick us up while you’re out and about in the Riviera Maya. If you’re reading this online from a far away land, like my stomping grounds in New England, we hope your Riviera Maya vacation countdown has started!

If you have a day trip, a weekend getaway or a topic you´d like for us to cover for you, send me an email at edition@meridianmedia.mx or send us a message on Facebook.

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Originally from Connecticut in the New England region of the United States, Rebecca has been living in Playa del Carmen for five years. While she misses her big, crazy family back in the States, she doesn´t miss scraping ice and snow off her car in the winter!

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