- an Amerindian language native to South America and related to
Aymará, both members of the Quechumaran linguistic stock.
- It was the official language of the Tawantinsuyu (Inca Empire),
and today is spoken in various dialects by some 8 to 13 million people
throughout South America. The language's dominion spans the entire
South American continent starting as far north as southern Colombia
and Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, and northwestern Argentina and northern
Chile. The dialect as it is spoken in Colombia and Ecuador is known as
Quichua (Quichua, Runa Shimi), and because of its frequent
unintelligibility with the main branch of the language, it borders on
being classed as separate. Despite this, all dialects are nonetheless
considered a single tongue, consequently making it the most widely
spoken of all Amerindian languages in the Americas.
- The language was extended beyond the limits of the empire by the
Catholic Church, which chose it to preach to Indians in the Andes
area. It has, along with Spanish and Aymará, the status of an official
language in both Peru and Bolivia. Before the arrival of the Spaniards
and the Spanish language, Quechua had no written alphabet, instead, it
had a system of accountance with khipu-strings.
- Quechua is a very regular language, but a large number of infixes
and suffixes change both the overall significance of words and their
subtle shades of meaning, allowing great expressiveness. It includes
grammatical features such as bipersonal conjugation and conjugation
dependent on mental state and veracity of knowledge, spatial and
temporal relationships, and many cultural factors. Later the Spanish
impact resulted in the Spanish turning the Quechua language into
script by method of translation.
- A number of Quechua loanwords have entered English via Spanish,
including coca, condor, guano, gaucho, jerky, inca, llama, pampa,
potato (from papa via patata), puma, quinoa, and vicuña . The word
lagniappe comes from the Quechua word nyap ("something extra") with
the article la in front of it, la ñapa, in Spanish.
- Quechua has only three vowels: /i/, /a/, and /u/, similar to