What is Quechua?

Quechua is the most widely-spoken indigenous language in the Americas

Did you know Quechua (also known as Kichwa, Runa Simi, or Runa Shimi) is actually a family of closely-related languages rather than a single language? About 8-10 million people speak Quechua, mostly in the Andean highlands of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and neighboring countries.

Quechua was has a fascinating history

Quechua was one of the main languages of the Inca Empire. Since then, it’s remained an important language for Indigenous South Americans, and it’s still thriving today!

You already know some Quechua words!

Did you know that words like quinoa, poncho, llama, condor, and beef jerky all come from Quechua?

There are no irregular verbs in Quechua!

Having trouble memorizing all the irregular verbs of Spanish or French? You don’t have to worry about irregular verbs in Quechua!

Quechua’s fascinating grammar uses suffixes for just about everything

For example, start with the word wasi ‘house’, then add suffixes like -pi ‘in’ to get wasipi ‘in the house’ or -man ‘to’ to get wasiman ‘to the house’. Or start with the word llama ‘llama’ and add -cha ‘little’ to get llamacha ‘little llama’, then add -kuna (plural) to get llamachakuna ‘little llamas’, then add -paq ‘for’ to get llamachakunapaq ‘for the little llamas’. Keep building, and you can create new words that make entire sentences!

Want to learn more?

Sign up for one of our classes!