Renaissance of Quechua Language
The Renaissance of the Quechua Language

Speaker: Carlos Molina Vital (Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies of University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA )

Discussant: Daria Mengert (Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany)

With a welcome by Comunidad Rimanakuy, the Embassy of Peru in the UK, and CLACS

Two decades ago, Quechua, an Andean language spoken by millions, was virtually missing in Peru's public media, publications, art exhibitions, and higher education. Suffering from discrimination and threatened by the official use of Spanish since the XVI century, Quechua was considered, at best, part of a regional Andean identity, and at worst, one of the reasons for poverty and lack of economic progress. However, in the last decade we are looking not only at an all-time-high demand for Quechua courses, but at a more widespread presence of contemporary cultural expressions that unapologetically use Quechua in public. The increased presence of this language in TV shows, movies, published literature, and academic and scientific production signals the renewed impetus and acceptance of this language and its speakers. Furthermore, its symbolic power now mobilizes not only traditional rural population, but their descendants in urban centers. In this presentation, we will present the characteristics, causes, and possible developments of this Peruvian Quechua Renaissance of the 21st century.

Carlos Molina-Vital was born in Lima, Peru (1975). He currently serves as the instructor and responsible for the Quechua Language Program in the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is currently finishing his doctorate in Andean Studies (Linguistics track) at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru. His studies of Quechua languages include varieties spoken in Ancash, Ayacucho, Apurimac, and Cuzco in Peru. He has extensive experience teaching linguistics (semantics, syntax, general linguistics), as well as language courses (Spanish, Southern Quechua) in his native Peru and the United States. In the field of applied linguistics, he is interested in pedagogical grammars and task-based approaches within the communicative method for second language instruction. In addition to this, he is interested in language typology and the relation between language, culture, and cognition. Since 2018, he coordinates the QINTI project (Quechua Innovation and Teaching Initiative). This initiative has brought together several Quechua instructors and activists in the US in order to develop open access materials for teaching the Southern Quechua variety. He and his collaborators are currently writing Ayni, the first multi-dialectal Southern Quechua open-access manual.

Event date: 12 October 2022

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