In order to analyze language use within a theory of social practice, it is necessary to develop a coherent approach to speech genres. This paper contributes to such an approach, by treating genres as elements of linguistic habitus, consisting of stylistic, thematic, and indexical schemata on which actors improvise in the course of linguistic production. The empirical focus is “official” Maya language documents produced in 16th-century colonial Yucatan. The rise of novel discourse genres in colonial society was part of the emergence of new, hybrid forms of action. [Mesoamerica, Maya, discourse analysis, social practice]