Peruvian professor teaches Quechua at University of Pennsylvania (UP)

Quechua is a language from the Inca culture, currently spoken by more than 8 million people in the South American region, mainly in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Nicolás Suárez, a professor from Apurímac, is the first to teach a course in Quechua at the University of Pennsylvania (UP), United States, through the Fullbright program.»I am Quechua speaking, Quechua is my first language,» Suárez said in an interview; «Then I learned Spanish at school since at that time education in Peru was not bilingual.»

This program has been in that university for 5 years and will give greater recognition to the Inca language. Quechua is an oral language that has been transmitted from generation to generation; Suárez explains that it shouldn’t only be recognized like this, but also as a «new way of seeing the world», they use words that have more cultural than grammatical load. The academic gives the example of the word «ayllu», which in Spanish would be translated as «family», but ayllu is not only your nuclear family but also your neighbors, your friends, your village and even your workplace.

He mentions that the main interested are students with elderly relatives who live in Andean villages and wish to be able to communicate with them when they return to Peru. After the Spanish invasion that occurred during the sixteenth century in the Inca territory, the Andean populations continued to speak Quechua, even Catholic missionaries learned it to be able to evangelize them. However, after the indigenous rebellion of Tupac Amaru, all kinds of Quechua texts were banned and many stopped speaking it for fear of being punished. Suárez recalls that Quechua is still an active language, it is even considered an official language in Peru since 1975 and there are recognized academies that are dedicated to the research and propagation of Quechua.

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