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The pejorative terms indio and natural have been replaced in polite conversation and publication by Indígena .Persons of mixed or non-indigenous race and heritage may be called Ladino , a term that today indicates adherence to Western, as opposed to indigenous, culture patterns, and may be applied to acculturated Indians, as well as others.The northern lowlands and the Atlantic coastal area are very warm and experience rain throughout much of the year.The Pacific lowlands are drier, and because they are at or near sea level, remain warm. The coolest weather there (locally called "winter") occurs during the rainy season from May or June to November, with daily temperatures ranging from 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the higher altitudes, and from 60 to 70 degrees in Guatemala City, which is about a mile above sea level. The name Guatemala, meaning "land of forests," was derived from one of the Mayan dialects spoken by the indigenous people at the time of the Spanish conquest in 1523.It is used today by outsiders, as well as by most citizens, although for many purposes the descendants of the original inhabitants still prefer to identify themselves by the names of their specific language dialects, which reflect political divisions from the sixteenth century.
Although the Maya had earlier inhabited the lowlands of the Petén and the lower Motagua River, by the time the first Spaniards arrived, they lived primarily in the Pacific lowlands and western highlands.Ladinos who grow up in an Indian area may learn the local language, but bilingualism among Ladinos is rare.