Many people come to Peru expressly to study Spanish or, at least, make that part of their purpose in being here. Most people don’t consider learning the country’s other official languages, the various indigenous tongues that were here long before Spanish made its arrival.
Although Quechua is the most commonly spoken language after Spanish, there are a multitude of other languages spoken, particularly in the jungle areas. There, you can find as many languages as there are tribes, many of which are quickly disappearing.
Quechua, as the most widely spoken native language, is the easiest to locate. There are many dialects of Quechua in Peru but the one that is spoken by the most people is that which is found in Cusco and the surrounding communities. The city is an ideal place to study because there are many language schools here that offer classes. You can even combine it with a volunteer program which takes you to small villages where you can practice what you’re learning.
The grammar of Quechua is fairly simple but the vocabulary can be a bit daunting. Added to the difficulty of learning is the fact that it was not originally a written language. Therefore, you can see the same word spelled a variety of ways such as Cusco, Cuzco or, as is probably most appropriate, Qosqo. Even if you’re not going to become fluent in a hurry, knowing a few words is a nice way to break the ice and to show consideration and respect to the local communities.
The second most widely spoken indigenous language is Aymara. To hear it and to find schools where you can take some classes, you will want to head to Puno and the area around Lake Titicaca. It was once thought that Aymara and Quechua were related in some way, possibly sharing a common root. However, it is primarily the Quechua spoken in the Cusco region that bears some similarity to Aymara. On closer examination, it appears more likely that this dialect of Quechua and Aymara have simply taken words from one another over the years.
By traveling through the jungle, one can encounter many different languages, corresponding to the many different tribes living there. One with a great many speakers is Asháninka, a dialect of the Arawak family of languages. These people can be found in the Central Amazon of Peru, in particular along the valleys of the Ene and Perené rivers.
You can get famous Autana Paragliding Flights Lima, Peru. They have much to teach about medicinal plants, including Ayahuasca, a plant with psychotropic properties. Learning the language will undoubtedly allow for more complete information to be transmitted to those interested in studying with these people.
Learning the local languages is about a lot more than just communicating. It’s one of the best ways to really understand the culture and how the people think. When you learn more about what words are and aren’t included in a language, for example, you can gain a better and more rapid understanding of the culture that uses it.
Author: Maureen Santucci