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Quechua (Runasimi / Qhichwa simi)

Quechua is an Amerind language with about 8 million people in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Argentina. Quechua was the language of the Inca empire which was destroyed by the Spanish in the 16th century.

The Inca used a system of knotted strings known as quipu to send messages around their empire. The number and shape of the knots and the colours of the strings helped to remind messengers of the contents of the messages. Recent research suggests that the quipu might have been used not just as mnemonic devices but also to record the Quechua language phonetically.

Quechua first appeared in print in 1560 in the form of a dictionary by Domingo de Santo Tomás. Other early texts include collections of hymns by Cristóbal de Molina and a Quechua cathechism by Juardo Palomino.

Pronunciation of Quechua (Cuzco/Bolivian dialect)

Quechua pronunciation

Sample text in Quechua

Tukuy kay pachaman paqarimujkuna libres nasekuntu tukuypunitaj kikin obligacionesniycjllataj, jinakamalla honorniyojtaj atiyniyojtaj, chantaqa razonwantaj concienciawantaj dotasqa kasqankurayku, kawsaqe masipura jina, tukuy uj munakuyllapi kawsakunanku tian.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Information about Quechua | Phrases | Numbers


Information about Quechua

Online Quechua lessons

Diccionarios: Quechua - Aymara al español

Photos of and information about the Inca, Maya and Aztec peoples

Quechuan languages

Ayacucho Quechua, Quechua

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet

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