This Guatemalan teen can speak 9 languages

A Guatemalan teenager who sells treats to tourists can speak nine languages ​​despite not having formal schooling.

Details: María Asig, 16, sells chocolate, water and candies at a national jungle reserve in northern Guatemala.

  • She’s learned to communicate in Hebrew, German, French, English, Portuguese, Italian and Dutch, in addition to Spanish and her native Mayan Q’eqchi, in the 10 years she’s been working.
  • Asig has also been learning some Japanese.
  • She wants to become a tourist guide, she told Noticias Telemundo.

Guatemala is also the Birthplace of another Multilingual Wonder. Duolingo was created by Luis von Ahn, born in Guatemala City, the capital.

Yes, but: Indigenous Guatemalan women have on average three years of formal schooling by their teen years, according to Summa, a research lab from the Inter-American Development Bank focused on education in Latin America.

  • The biggest barriers to schooling include a need to work from a very young age, the physical distance from schools and a lack of educational content in Indigenous languages.

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