Elementary Kichwa by frankk1m

Hi, everyone! This is an open forum for my Elementary Kichwa course. Please let me know if you have any feedback, questions, or concerns. I appreciate your input and want us all to have a role in improving our learning experience.

What dialect is this? For Ecuadorian Quechua? I’m studying Ayacuchan Quechua (similar to the variety spoken in Cuzco, but without the aspirated sounds). Looking through the pdf, it seems they use a different spelling for a lot of words.

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I myself am a learner of Kichwa, so I am not an authoritative source. However, based on what my teacher Nina has said, I think that what she teaches is close to Unified Kichwa, but with features of other dialects that she has felt it appropriate to incorporate. The spelling used in the book is Nina’s system, and I have diverged from that here on Memrise and brought the orthography closer to Unified Kichwa. I have also browsed through several Ecuadorian Kichwa dictionaries, and it seems that stop consonants p, t, k are realised phonetically as voiced stops b, d, g after nasals (m, n) per Unified standards. This is a phonological rule with a totally regular, predictable distribution, thus, I have changed many spellings in Nina’s book to conform to this, although not all Kichwa dialects pattern their stops in this manner – Salasaca Kichwa, for example, which is Nina’s native dialect, phonemically contrasts voiced and voiceless stops after nasal consonants. At the same time, I have also orthographically included non-Unified elements that I feel warrant inclusion, like the aspirate series p’, t’, and k’, which are not in Unified Kichwa.

I hope that clarifies things for you. Please feel free to keep asking questions!

To further clarify what I meant concerning the stop consonants, since p, t, and k are predictably realised as the sounds b, d, and g after m or n in (some varieties of) Kichwa, it would be redundant to write them as b, d, and g in this environment. Thus, instead of “pamba,” we can write “pampa,” and instead of "p(’)anga"we can write “p(’)anka,” yet we still know with 100% certainty to pronounce them with the voiced consonants [b] and [g]. Phonological analysis tells us that underlyingly, the phonemes are /p/ and /k/ anyway. (Not in dialects like Salasaca, though. However, if we adhere to such dialects in this part of the language, we complicate matters quite a bit; the distribution of the sounds p, t, k, and b, d, g then is no longer predictable and must therefore be memorised by rote. This is why I chose to mimic Unified Kichwa in this regard, for the sake of simplicity.)

Thanks for the clarification, i just saw a few things that i wasn’t familiar with, for example at first i wasn’t sure what the word “mashikuna” might be, i wasn’t sure if it was another form of the continuous tense (-chka- in Ayacuchan Quechua, -sha- in Cuzco) but now i see it’s most likely just what i’ve learned as “masikuna” (comrades, friends). Also ñuqa/ñuqanchik (and no mention of “ñuqayku”) spelled with a ‘k’ instead of a ‘q’, though the pronunciation has more of a ‘k’ sound in Cuzco at least, but in Ayacucho it’s a /χ/ sound. I’ve also never seen “pay kan” for “he/she is”, as in my textbooks they’ve all said that “kan” is generally reserved for “there is/are”, otherwise it’s generally left out (eg. “paymi yachachiq”, without the verb “to be”). Other forms in the present tense (kani, kanki, etc.) are used, but “kan” is a bit of a special case.

It’s great to see these Quechua courses available, especially this one which seems to have a large vocabulary, not sure if the differences with the dialect i’m learning are too large for it to be useful at this stage in my learning but it would be great to come back to it later to pick up new vocabulary later and get more experience with another dialect.

Thanks for all the work!

You’re very welcome, and thank you for your interest and taking the initiative to be the first to post on here!

Yes, you are correct – Kichwa “mashi” = “masi” in most of the southern varieties of the Quechuan macrofamily. (Likewise for words like “shimi”/“simi”.) Northern Kichwa is characterised by its maintenance of the s/sh distinction. Southern varieties often only have /s/.

Another difference is in the continuous marker that you mentioned. The Ecuadorian equivalent is -ku-, e.g., mikukuni (‘I am eating’).

Good observation on the pronouns, as well. Yes, while Ecuadorian Kichwa is more conservative in that it preserves the old difference between s/sh, many of the southern varieties are more conservative in that they preserve the difference between k/q. You may also note that Nina sometimes writes “q” in the textbook (perhaps to bring the orthography in a more etymological direction, which would also entail bringing it closer to southern Quechua – my educated guess, I haven’t spoken with her about that). Also, as you observed, there is no distinction between exclusive and inclusive first person pronouns in Ecuadorian Kichwa. Both are “ñukanchik”!

Interesting note about “kan”! In Ecuadorian Kichwa, too, it is very common to omit “kan” used in the sense of ‘he/she/it is’, especially in speech; however, this is optional. I made sure to include this in the notes of this course. When I made the entry for “pay kan”, I didn’t intend for it to be construed that there was a direct correspondence between “pay kan” and ‘he/she is’. I just wanted to allow for conjugation practice.

I’m glad you like the course! It’s still a work in progress. Let me know if you feel that any translations should be added or modified. And as always, further questions, comments, and suggestions are welcome.

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