Quechan (Kwatsáan Iiyáa)

Quechan is a Yuman language spoken along the Colorado River and in the Sonoran Desert in southeastern California and southwestern Arizona in the USA. The majority of Yuma people live on the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation in Imperial County in California and Yuma County in Arizona. According to the 2015 census, there are 290 speakers of Quechan, which is also known as Kechan, Quecl or Yuma.

Yuman is related to Mohave and Maricopa, which are also members of the River branch of the Yuman language family.

Most Quechan speakers are over 60 years old. However, the Quechan tribe does have a language preservation program which involves teaching the language to children and adults. They are also working on a dictionary of their language.

A practical orthography for Quechan was developed in the 1990s with help from Quechan-speaking elders.

Quechan alphabet and pronunciation

Quechan alphabet and pronunciation


Download an alphabet chart for Quechan

Sample text in Quechan

Pa'iipáats suuváat.
Pa'iipáats nyaváyk suuváa.

Pa'iipáats 'atáyk nyaváyk viivák,
aváts 'ashéntək alyuuváapətəka.
Tsam'athúlyəm éevtək uuváat.

'Anyáayk viithíim,
tsam'athúly nyaványa,
tsam'athúly kéek a'ét.
Anyétsəts nyuu'ítsk.


Someone was over there.
Someone was living over there.

A lot of people were living here,
it happened
that this (person) was the only one (who did it).
He bothered ants.

When the sun came up,
he got up,
and as for the ants' nest,
he was going to stir up the ants.
We say that.

Part of "The Man Who Bothered Ants", a traditional Quechan story.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quechan_language

Sample videos in and about Quechan


Information about Quechan

Yuman languages

Cocopah, Ipai, Kiliwa, Kumeyaay, Maricopa, Mojave, Paipai, Quechan, Tiipai

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 02.03.22


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