A language of Guatemala

Alternate Names
Central K’iche’, Central Quiché, Chiquel, Qach’abel, Quiché

2,330,000. 300,000 monolinguals.


Central highlands, El Quiché Department, Joyabaj, Chichicastenango, Chiché, and San Andrés Sajcabajá municipalities; most of Totonicapán Department; southern El Quiché, eastern Sololá, eastern Quetzaltenango, and northern Retalhuleu departments; Suchitepéquez Department, southwest of Lake Atitlán; to the north, some communities in Huehuetenango and Baja Verapaz departments.

Language Maps
Language Status

4 (Educational). Recognized language (2003, National Languages Act, Decree No. 19).


Cunén Kiché, Eastern Kiché, Joyabaj Kiché, San Andrés Kiché, West Central Kiché.



Language Use

Vigorous. All domains, interpreters required in courts, some bilingual schools, oral use in religious services. Positive attitudes. 100,000 also use Kaqchikel [cak]. 400,000 also use Spanish [spa]. 100,000 also use Tz’utujil [tzj]. Also use Mam [mam], Q’eqchi’ [kek].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Below 1%. Literacy rate in L2: 25%–35%. 40,000 readers, 20,000 can write. Taught in primary schools. Radio programs. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1995.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Traditional religion, Christian.