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Local Guatemala language to soon hit Facebook thanks to new application

GUATEMALA CITY -- Guatemala's Kakchiquel speakers will now be able to access Facebook in their own language thanks to a new application developed by U.S. software engineers.

Facebook is available in more than 70 languages from around the world including Spanish, which is widely spoken in Guatemala, but not in any language used by indigenous Guatemalan populations, U.S. software engineer Robert Henderson told the Prensa Libre daily on Saturday.

Henderson and a team of other software experts developed the application, with authorization from Facebook headquarters, for the Wuqu' Kawoq Maya Health Alliance, a Guatemala-based nongovernmental organization.

Juan Ajsivinac, a Kakchiquel linguist at Guatemala's Academy of Mayan Languages, said that the project will be a great boost for the 70,000 Kakchiquel speakers that live in 23 communities in Guatemala.

Maya natives who use the application “will write and read in Kakchiquel, which helps preserve our language and identity,” Ajsivinac told Prensa Libre.

Starting Thursday, users will be able to download the application for free via the Web browsers Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome at washwuj.com — which means Facebook in Kakchiquel — and apply it to their Facebook account.

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