Q is for Quechua

With approximately 8-9 million speakers, Quechua is the largest surviving indigenous language in the Americas.

It originated in Peru with the Incas, and then due to trade relationships, it spread north to southern Columbia and south to northern Argentina. Quechua is mostly spoken in Peru and Bolivia where it has joined official status with Spanish.

When the Spanish first arrived in the 1500s, Quechua was such an important language that it continued to be widely used. It was officially recognised by the Spanish administration, and Spanish officials learnt it to communicate with the locals.

However, in the 18th century, Quechua was banned as an administrative and religious language, and its use declined. In the 19th century it was reinstated, but by this time the damage had been done and Quechua was no longer seen as a prestigious language. Quechua was made an official language in Peru in 1975, but Spanish is still seen as the language of economic advancement.

Related posts: P is for Proto Indo European     R is for Romance Languages

O is for Ojibwe

o is forOjibwe, also known as Chippewa, belongs to the Algonquin family of languages. Spoken in Southern Canada and northern USA, it is made up of several dialects which are mutually intelligible. It is known by the Ojibwe people as Anashinabe.

It is classified by UNESCO as critically endangered, which means that the speakers are mostly older generations (grandparents and above) who speak the language infrequently. Despite this, it is possibly the least endangered of the indigenous North American languages, and there are efforts being made to revive the language, such as immersion centres.

There is no common writing system across the dialects, but a few different ones have been devised using the Latin alphabet.

The word order is verb-object-subject or verb-subject-object.

Related posts: N is for Norwegian     P is for Proto-Indo-European