Spanish Word of the Day Archive
Wednesday April 6, 2011

quechua, noun:
Quechua

Quechua, the language of the Incas that was spoken throughout their empire, is the most widely-spoken indigenous language of South America, with some 13 million speakers in the Andean region. Its first grammar was compiled by a Catholic missionary in 1560 and it was used by the Church to help convert the indigenous population to Christianity. Officially recognized in Peru and Bolivia, it is also spoken in northern parts of Chile and Argentina, and in southern parts of Colombia and Ecuador.
Like other original Latin American languages, it has bequeathed many words to Spanish, and thence to English. Among the most familiar of these are:

la cocaína
cocaine

el caucho
rubber

el cóndor
condor

el puma
puma

la pampa
prairie

el mate
maté tea


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