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Peru Debuts Quechua Language News Broadcast

Of all the remaining indigenous languages of South America, Quechua is one of the most robust. It has approximately 8 million speakers distributed across areas once belonging to the ancient Inca empire; about half of them live in Peru.

But despite its relatively healthy numbers, Quechua is threatened by the same forces that indigenous languages in many places face. It is marginalized and looked down upon as a language of the poor and provincial, and children who grow up in Quechua-speaking households increasingly abandon it in favor of Spanish. Now, reports The Guardian, in an effort to raise the profile of the language and reach out to its community of speakers, Peruvian television will air a regular news program in Quechua for the first time. It is called Ñuqanchik, which translates as “all of us.”

The broadcast team for the program is made up of native Quechua speakers who will report the news not only in the Quechua language, but from a Quechua cultural perspective. Prime Minister Fernando Zavala hopes that this effort “will transform the relationship between the government, the state, and those people who speak a language different from Spanish.”

More news programs are planned for other native languages in Peru, including Aymara, Ashaninka, and Awajun.

[h/t The Guardian]

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The Indo-European language family includes most of the languages of Europe as well as many languages in Asia. There is a long research tradition that has shown, though careful historical comparison, that languages spanning a huge linguistic and geographical range, from French to Greek to Russian to Hindi to Persian, are all related to each other and sprung from a common source, Proto-Indo-European. One of the techniques for studying the relationship of the different languages to each other is to look at the similarities between individual words and work out the sound changes that led from one language to the next.

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