Quechuan love poem


Lirp'uypin uyachaykiqa

Lluy yalliparih harawiy.

Chaypas ch'usahyarunmanmi.

Waylluyniymanyá phawamuy

Translated into Quechuan sureño (Cuzco, Peru) by:
Demetrio Túpac Yupanqui (Academia de Quechua Yachay Wasi)
Quechuan love poem

Book of poetry "La Glace"
Original version
French poem


Love poem into quechuan (Quechua, Kichua), poetic mirror of the Inca Indians of the Andes highlands. Quechuan poem, in an official language in Peru with 8 million speakers.

Quechua (Quichua, runa simi) is a language comprising a set of dialects spoken in the Andes in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia and Argentina. Linguists according to the study of the language, think that Quechua, in the course of the 1st millennium was spoken in the central part of Peru, coast and mountains. Its expansion to the north and south will begin with the Inca empire, which adopted it as the language of his administration.

Quechua was one of the two languages of the Inca empire, the other was Aymara. It is now spoken in other countries than Peru: Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. It is the most spoken Indian language in South America. Most of the speakers are in Peru (4 million), Bolivia (2 million), and Ecuador (750,000). It is a member of the Andean language family.

Actually, there are more speakers of Quechua, than at the conquistador's epoch. This number is still increasing and many people, only speak it.

Despite all their great technology and culture, the Incas never developed an alphabet. The only way they had to record things were by an arrangement of cords of various colors which were knotted in different ways. All literature prior to the Spanish conquest was handed down by oral tradition. If the Spanish introduced the roman alphabet, today the spelling has still not be standardized. Quechua grammar, however, has been found to be extremely regular and consistent.

Llama, guano, puma, coca, condor, quinine are words of quechua origin.

Quetchua and Aymara have similarities, but we can not say if they are due to the geographical proximity of these two languages, or if they have a common mother tongue. The dialects of Quechua are generally divided into two groups: those in central Peru, and the others.

Until the middle of the 15th century, Quechua occupied only a restricted area (probably the highlands of actual Ecuador), the expansion of the Inca empire spread it from southern Colombia to the center of Chile and from the Pacific coast to the Amazon basin. The Spanish conquest in the 16th century will keep and develop the importance of Quechua. It use will be continued throughout the Inca area, and will extend to other areas, not part of the original empire, because the missionaries had made it, the language of evangelization. In succeeding centuries many Indian languages of the area have died out, the natives adopting quechua or Spanish.

Phonetically, Quechua is characterized by the simplicity of its vocalic system in opposition to the complexity of its consonantal system. Occlusives and affricates meet in 3 forms (ordinary, glottalized, aspirated). Grammar makes extensive use of suffixes to indicate modalities and functions; the verbal root is extended with suffixes which can be combined, characterizing the modalities of the process and the subject's participation in the action.

Quechua literature is less well known than that of the Mayas or Aztecs, because it was exclusively oral, and after the Spanish conquest, the Inca culture will be repressed. Some Spanish chroniclers tell us about this literary production: It is Cieza de Leon who in "Del senorio de los Incas" gives us some keys about poetry and its theme; Cristobal de Molina, will transcribe certain hymns (Relacion de las fabulas y ritos de los Incas en tiempo de su infelidad). It seems that the pre-Hispanic literature was intimately related to liturgy, transmission of legends, and traditions, whose function was public and ritual. Nevertheless, we find popular creations that are more secular. The arawiscus is both a poet and a musician, the amautas is a philosopher and an historian, both are the creators of this literature.

The first grammar dates from the middle of the 16th century (Domingo de Santo).

The early 18th century will be dynamic in terms of Quechua literature and culture. It is only very recently, less than 50 years ago, that Peru will recognize it as the second official language.

"Ollantay", a drama about life at the Inca court, is surely the best-known work of Quechua literature. This drama, which count more than 2000 verses, and tells about a love passion opposed by the state's reason, was composed by an unknown author around 1470. In the 16th century, we find "El pobre mas rico", and in the 17th century, a religious drama "Usca Paukar". Poetry took different forms among which "the jailli" (a hymn that could be sacred or profane) ... conf: Cristobal de Molina who has collected some, dedicated to the god Viracocha. The arawi, a lyric poem, is especially devoted to the despair lovers. About all this literature, it is also necessary to mention the tales and the myths conveyed during hundreds of years by the oral tradition.

The pre-Columbian civilizations have marked the history of Peru and the names of Cuzco and Machu Picchu, remind the treasures of the Inca Empire. Quechua is a vestige and the richness of a people with ancient traditions.

The Incas

In the Inca mythology, at the beginning, there are 4 brothers: Manco, Cachi, Uchu and Auca, each one with his wife. Of the 4, Cachi was the strongest. The other three decided to get rid of him, and locked him in a cave. He will turn into Condor. Manco, around Cuzco, probed the ground with a gold bar, to create here the cradle of the Inca empire. Manco in the mythology Inca, receives the title of inti (sun) and the name of Capac (the strongest), his wife is called Mamma Ocllo.

The Inca society had Cuzco as capital, and the empire (Tahuantinsuyu) was divided into four parts (chinchasuyu, cutinsuyu, collasuyu, antisuyu), each one being governed by a governor (Apu). At its head The emperor (the Inca (son of the sun), Sapa Inca (the only Inca)), married with his sister (the Coya), their heir son (Auqui). Below them was the nobility. a nobility of blood from the Panacas (descendants of Inca families).

When the Inca died, he named one of his sons or someone deserving to succeed him. He also appointed another of his sons, to watch over his descendants who of Inca blood would be part of the nobility. Below, the society is organized in village-communities (Ayllus) led by a founding chief (curaca), in which we find the peasants (hatun ruwa), displaced groups (mitimaes (of this word comes Micmac) to colonize territories (ethnic groups are so diverse that people are displaced to be integrated to the Inca society), servants (yanaconas) transmitting their condition to their children, very young girls (aqlla) chosen and confined in convents, and prisoners of war (pinas) locked up in prisons.

From an economic point of view, the wealth is divided into three, a portion for the clergy, one for the Inca who also uses it as a stock that he redistributes in case of scarcity, and the rest for the ayllus. The work of the peasants is counted by state accountants (quipu-camayoc). The Inca society, which at its apogee represents a vast territory, is realy well hierarchized and organized. There are a hierarchical political power, a common language runa-simi (Quechua), the sun worship (although the Incas remain tolerant to the beliefs of the peoples they control) Nobles and priests are exempted from taxes, artisans, artists, architects belong to a special caste attached to the emperor. Unlike the Aztecs, the Incas use metals, their masks covered with gold melts are famous and are known until Central America, will reach the Spanish ears and wil create the myth of the El Dorado.

In the Inca empire cultivation is practiced on land alternating cultivated plots and irrigation canals (waru waru). A postal system is set up, with messengers, who carry on about thirty kilometers, messages, to a deposit (tambo), maintained by the villagers, where another messenger takes over.

With the Andes Cordillera, Peru enjoys a diversity of landscapes and climates out of the ordinary. Lake Titicaca is of course another of the riches of this country.

Languages of the Incas
Aymara poem - Callawalla poem
Poem translated into quechuan (524 languages)