|Region||North Central Chiapas Tabasco|
|250,000 (2020 census)|
The Cholan branch of the Mayan languages is considered to be particularly conservative and Ch'ol along with its two closest relatives the Ch'orti' language of Guatemala and Honduras, and the Chontal Maya language of Tabasco are believed to be the modern languages that best reflect their relationship with the Classic Maya language.
The basic word order is VOS. However, word order varies and VOS is not always grammatical: factors including animacy, definiteness, topicalization and focus contribute to determining which word order is appropriate.
Ch'ol is a split ergative language: its morphosyntactic alignment varies according to aspect. With perfective aspect, ergative-absolutive alignment is used, whereas with imperfective aspect, we rather observe nominative-accusative.
Numeral classifiers are obligatorily included in noun phrases containing numerals. They occur between the numeral and the noun. The classifiers vary according to semantic properties of the noun: -tyikil is used for persons, -tyejk for trees, etc.
Below is the consonant and vowel inventory of Ch'ol.
The absence of glyphic material in Guatemala points that calendar was a creation of the lowland Maya. Ch'ol has been considered one of the closer languages to several Mayan glyphs inscriptions. Lounsbury suggested that ancient Palenqueños spoke a Proto-cholean language. A Palenque ruler has his name glyph a Quetzal head; as the word for Quetzal in Chol is kuk, it is believed that his name was Lord Kuk. The affix Landa's I that occurs only with posterior date indicators retains resemblance with the idea of past time of Ch'ol, such in hobix 'five days hence,' hobixi 'five days ago.' As vocabularies of Ch'ol, Chontal, Chorti, and Tzotzil are far from complete, it is not possible to establish some cognates between these languages and Mayan glyphs.
An alternative hypothesis developed by Houston, Robertson, and Stuart proposed that Classic Maya inscriptions between A.D. 250 and 850 convey to Eastern Ch'olan languages, more related to Chorti language than Ch'ol language. However, there is no consensus around the topic.