If you thought Peru has a singular linguistic identity and that everyone speaks Spanish as their first language, you are quite wrong. 25% of Peruvians speak a group of related languages called Quechua. Often called by the name Runasimi, Quechuan languages are most famous for being the language of the Incan Empire.
The Spanish colonizers initially were not averse to the language and even encouraged its use. However, after a little while, they began to suppress it, and encouraged the use of Spanish language. Still, Quechua survived, and is spoken today by almost 8 million Peruvians. Quechua is not only spoken in Peru, but also in neighboring countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia. In other words, this is a language that is spoken throughout the central Andes Mountains. Until 1975, Quechua did not have official status in Peru.
One of the obstacles of Quechua language is that there is very few written materials in the form of magazines, books, and software. This puts the language at risk of extinction. However, many language activists have begun to drive a movement of Quechua revival, leading to more resources being published in the language. If you are planning to visit Peru, you might want to try and take Quechua lessons, so that you can immerse yourself in Peruvian culture thoroughly. After all, Spanish is just one part of the linguistic puzzle that makes up Peru. Peru is a diverse country, and a number of languages are spoken by its indigenous peoples.
It is easy to find Quechua classes in larger cities such as Lima. Do contact us today to find out if you can squeeze in a short crash course in Quechua when you are in Peru. If you are planning to visit remote mountain towns high up in the Andes, Quechua can prove to be very useful. Though you may find someone who will speak Spanish, it always makes sense to speak the language of the local to impress them, and build valuable relationships and memories before you go back home.