Although indigenous languages elsewhere in the Americas declined during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, in eighteenth-century Yucatan fluency and literacy in Yucatec Maya became more common among castas and creoles. During the later colonial period, interpreters were readily available, with an upsurge in literacy in Maya among criollo clergymen, merchants, militia officers, and provincial administrators. They in turn observed that almost as many mestizo and Afro-Yucatecan subjects and parishioners spoke only Yucatec Maya as their indigenous counterparts. In criminal cases, indigenous, casta, and even creole witnesses and suspects required interpreters to translate their statements. This article builds on earlier research into indigenous-language documentation but shifts its emphasis to mundane genres produced by non-Mayas, demonstrating that the linguistic persistence of Yucatec Maya should be viewed not only as an instance of effective cultural preservation but also as an example of multidirectional transculturation.

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