Police in their Mayan language class. Police in their Mayan language class.

Yucatán police taught to converse in Maya

Authorities want to see all state police able to speak the language

Police in Yucatán are expanding their language skills as part of their professionalization process.

Thirty-five state police officers have begun taking a course in Maya, a language spoken by more than half a million citizens of the state.

The executive secretary of the state public security system said the plan is to teach Maya to all members of the state police so they can communicate with Maya speakers and improve their job performance.

The measure will also help to preserve the language, said Carlos Martín Pacheco Medina.

Anthropologist Graciela Tec Chan said the course consists of 22 sessions and begins with teaching the alphabet, sentence structure and pronouns.

Oral language instruction is an important focus of the course, which will measure results with both written and oral exams. In the end, police ought to have sufficient command of the language to initiate a conversation.

Elsewhere on the Yucatán Peninsula some police are also being taught English. Tourist police in Playa del Carmen were being offered daily classes at no charge in March, reported the Riviera-Maya News.

The municipal tourism director said it was important that all police who have contact with tourists have basic English language skills.

Source: Milenio (sp), Riviera-Maya News (en)

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