Kichwa, Spanish, and English

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is bilingual. Scroll down for the English translation.

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is bilingual. Scroll down for the English translation.

Aunque las lenguas principales de América Latina son el español y el portugués, la región tiene muchas lenguas indígenas. Tuve la oportunidad de escuchar Kichwa, una lengua indígena de Ecuador, en el Smithsonian Folklife Festival. El festival se llevó a cabo en Washington, DC, en junio y julio del 2013. En este video se escucha música tradicional de la región y un poco de Kichwa con traducción al inglés. El músico habla en Kichwa (con unas palabras de español también) de la manera en que se puede preservar el idioma con música.

¿Cuál es la diferencia entre Kichwa y Quechua? Kichwa se habla en Ecuador, y Quechua es de Bolivia, pero son variantes de la misma familia de idiomas. En el video, se puede distinguir entre los músicos de Bolivia y los de Ecuador por sus zapatos. Los de Bolivia llevan sandalias negras y los de Ecuador llevan zapatos tejidos. Los músicos de Ecuador son del grupo Hatun Kotama. Los de Bolivia son del grupo Los Masis.

A mí me encantó escuchar Kichwa. Suena tan diferente de otras lenguas que he escuchado. He leído que hay semejanzas entre el quechua y el japonés. ¿Qué opinas?

In English:

Although Latin America’s main languages are Spanish and Portuguese, the region has many indigenous languages.  I had the opportunity to hear Kichwa, a native language of Ecuador, at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The festival took place in Washington, DC, in June and July 2013.  In this video you can hear traditional music from the region and a little bit of Kichwa with English translation.  The musician speaks in Kichwa (with some Spanish words too) about the way in which the language can be preserved through music.

What’s the difference between Kichwa and Quechua? Kichwa is spoken in Ecuador, and Quechua is from Bolivia, but they are variations of the same language family. In this video, you can tell the difference between the musicians from Bolivia and those from Ecuador by looking at their shoes.  The musicians from Bolivia wear black sandals and the ones from Ecuador wear woven shoes.  The Ecuadorian musicians are from a group called Hatun Kotama.  The Bolivians are from the group Los Masis.

I loved listening to Kichwa.  It sounds so different from other languages I have heard.  I’ve read that there are similarities between Quechua and Japanese.  What do you think?

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About fjkingsbury
F.J. Kingsbury teaches ESOL and Spanish, blogs about languages and language learning, and wishes it were possible to be in the U.S. and Mexico simultaneously.

One Response to Kichwa, Spanish, and English

  1. Petra says:

    Interesting article.

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