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Crossing the river before summiting 17,500 Pico Austria. Photo by Ella Williams (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest, 2nd Place), South America Semester.

Runa Simi: The Language of the People

Runa Simi, or you may know it as Quechua, is spoken by around 10 million people throughout South America. Like many indigenous languages it is under risk of fading away. One inspirational young Peruvian woman named Renata Flores is working with her mother to get younger generations excited about their Quechua traditions and language;  a task that is easier said than done in an ever shrinking world where international languages like Spanish and English are heavily emphasized. On this course get excited to not only practice your Spanish but also learn some of this beautiful indigenous language.

Here’s a beautiful rendition of Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel in Quechua by Renata Flores.

And for those of you who want to get a head start on some basic Quechua lessons here is a quite extensive list of instructional videos. Check them out here (fyi all the videos are narrated in Spanish).

Lonely Planet also makes a Quechua Phrasebook that breaks down Quechua for English speakers and provides some useful basic phrases.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” -Nelson Mandela