Sat, 24/Jun/2017 8:02

Quichua

I have previously mentioned that I spent some time in Ecuador. I got to spend nearly 5 months near a town called Otavalo. This is a town filled with indigenous crafts. The town and the weekend market have become quite the tourist attraction. They make many different textile products such as felt hats, decorative rugs, panchos, carrying bags, woven vests and sweaters, hammocks, and the list goes on. They also seem to have quite a propensity for music. There are many local music groups. The textiles and the music combined provide and lot of jobs and wealth in the community. I would often run into someone that had just returned from places such as Belgium, India, Germany, The United States, etc. I got to know areas outside of Otavalo such as Iluman, Quincuchi, Peguche, and La Bolsa very well.

The native language in Otavalo is somewhat different than the largest native language in Ecuador. The most widely spoken native language is Quechua. However, in Otavalo and the surrounding area they speak Quichua, which is more than just a different dialect of Quechua. I suppose the structure and grammer of the two are similar enough but the words and accents are distinct.

I was able to pick up a good working knowledge of the Quichua language. It is an interesting language. However, by my observations it will soon be a dead language. I found that those younger than about 40 (ten years ago) knew and could speak both Spanish and Quichua. The older generation, often unless educated, only spoke Quichua. Those younger than about 40 but older than about 20 could understand Quichua and had some skills in it but it was not important to them. Those younger than 20 did not understand nor speak Quichua. This is just my observations and while not universally true seem to hold true for a large portion of the area.





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