Quechua, language of the Incas

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2016 Ticket Machu PicchuThe direction of the Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu modified some terms of the entry rules to Machu Picchu, the same that governing the entry to Machu Picchu. The management of the National Park of Machu Picchu in accordance with the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, reinforced some rules that affect, in most cases to elderly, disabled and to the people who performing hiking in the mountains of Machu Picchu.

Although the variations will continue, at the moment these are some of those that have been carried out, and you will have to keep in mind during your visit to Machu Picchu.. 

reglamento de ingreso a machu picchu
Woman of the Ocongate zone, Cusco.

The quechua is the native language of more use on the continent, this language used on the Inca Empire, stretched from northern Argentina to southern Colombia, covering current territories of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

The chronicler Bernabé Cobo said that more than 2000 dialects were spoken in the empire of Tahuantinsuyo, Guaman Poma named about 15 languages. Currently, studies indicate that there were many languages in the Empire of the Incas. The Chachapoyas had their own language, also the conchucos, huancas, cholonas of the basin of the Huallaga, huánucos, yauyos, lucanas chancas, pocras, collas, the people of Quito, Chile and Tucumán, etc. However, there is a language more relevant than all previous; the Runa Simi which translated means "mouth of man", better known as Quechua language, was the most widely spoken language in the Empire of the Incas.

Currently the Runa Simi "the human language" makes its return and reunion with their culture, it is estimated that today there are more than 12 million Quechua-speaking people in South America. A language that far from dying, made new roots.


Origin and history of the Quechua language

The Runa Simi (or Quechua) was born in the Central Coast of the region of Lima. Spreading from there to the valley of Cusco and the entire south of ancient Peru, expanding alongside of the empire of the Incas. The winners imposed their language as a unifying force, thus resulting in the state language. The term Runa Simi, was changed to "Kichua" or "Quechua", in the play "Art and vocabulary of general language of Peru called Quichua" written by Fray Domingo de Santo Tomas in the sixteenth century.

Many linguists agree that probably no other language in the world that can manifest many moods with a single verb, with expressions with many degrees of sweetness, tenderness, passion, anger or disdain.


How the Quechua extends in ancient Peru?

Quechua expands from the territory of the Caral culture in Lima, to all the Tahuantinsuyo, are the own descendants of the Caral culture, who become patriarchs of different Quechua ethnics, as Chavin, Lima, Wari, Moche and Nazca; in the south, the K’anas, Chunpiwillkas, Qanchis, Ayarmakas and others. To the region of Cusco, Quechua comes with Yauris, Chunpiwillkas and Canchis.


Colonial period

The catholic missionaries used the Quechua and other spoken languages by local to impart the new religious doctrine in the new world; religious manuals were written in the major languages of the empire, as the Aymara, Mochica or Guarani. Thus increasing the influence on Andean and Amazonian peoples conquered.

They say it was Fray Domingo de Santo Tomas (Dominican friar), the first missionary to learn the Quechua language, during his evangelizing work in Peru; published in Valladolid two first works in Quechua, "the grammar or art of the general language of the Indians of the kingdoms of Peru" and the "Lexicon" (vocabulary of the general language of Peru).

By 1680 it begins the so-called golden age of literature Quechua (of the South). In this period is drawn the drama Ollantay. After the defeat of Tupac Amaru II (1781), the use of garments and native languages is prohibited, and any manifestation of customs or ways of life, different from the invaders. Causing the decline of Andean elites and creating a social stigma against the language, but without achieving it completely disappears.


Centuries XIX y XX

During the rubber boom, the Quechua was established as their main language in the northern jungle; after the Pacific War, the resurgence of Andean elites were led, especially in the city of Cusco, where the resurgence of the quechua theater occurred.

By the twentieth century, the theater gave way to poetry and modern scientific studies of the Quechua language. Realising the claim of the Quechua language, and starting again its use in May 1975 with Law 21156. The prehispanic language was banned, legally and socially, from the Tupac Amaru uprising in 1780. His official status with Castilian range was equivalent to a decisive measure of cultural policy.

In 1950, there was an accelerated process of replacement of indigenous languages by the Castilian (mother tongue of Latin America). In the twentieth century, Quechua was also formalized in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, in addition Intercultural Bilingual Education programs were implemented (until then, the state education occurred only in Spanish). In 1970 Ricardo Palma University, he established the Quechua language teaching at the Faculty of Modern Languages.

For the twenty-first century, already has the Quechua translation of works like Trilce and Don Quijote.


The Quechua at the present

Currently Quechua is spoken in western South America; and as the Spanish is the official language in countries like Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, and Argentina. In Ecuador, the language is used in the Andean region, especially where indigenous communities are settled and in Chile in San Pedro de Atacama. While in Argentina, Quechua is widely spoken in the province of Santiago del Estero. Quechua has become so popular among locals and foreigners, who even has its own search engine Google in Quechua.


Features of the Quechua (Runa Simi)

  • Onomatopoeic: The voices Quechuas born of natural sounds, as the sounds of wind, running water, the chirping of birds, etc.
  • Olisintético or Alutinante: It says so, since adding a morpheme or suffix to a lexeme or root word, born other words.
  • Polisémico: Since a large number of words in the Quechua language, have two or more meanings.
  • Other features: It is a very expressive language, expresses affection, appreciation and trust. Quechua is energetic, when it comes to deny, warn or call attention.


Learn some Quechua

Do not miss the opportunity to learn some Quechua. You’ll feel proud to know something of the language of the Incas, even if only a few words. Learning a few words in Quechua, will allow a much broader and deeper view of culture, lifestyle, ideas and sense of humor of the Andean villages.

Here are some phrases in Quechua that might be helpful.

  • Hi – Rimaykullayki / Napaykullayki
  • How are you? – ¿Allillanchu?
  • Good and you? – Allillanmi, ¿Qamrí?
  • What is your name? – ¿Imataq sutiyki?
  • My name is… – Sutiymi kan …
  • Ñ​​uturuna – A very small person
  • Rupaqsiki – A good-looking woman (Although it is not necessarily a compliment)
  • Uya Iskay – Two faces
  • Opauya – Face of fool



By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last Update, 09-03-2016


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