Kichwa of Northern Peru

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Northern Peruvian Kichwa (Runashimi, Kichwa)

Spoken in

speaker 57,000  
Official status
Official language in PeruPeru Peru (regional)
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3

qup (South Pastaza), qvz (North Pastaza), qvo (Napo), qvs (Lamas Quechua), que (macro language)

The Kichwa of Northern Peru ( Quechua : Runashimi or Kichwa ) are the varieties of Chinchay- Quechua spoken in the Peruvian departments of San Martín , Amazonas , Loreto and Madre de Dios , possibly also in Ucayali , which differ from the Kichwa in Ecuador and Colombia by preservation differ from the original morphology of Quechua. As Kichwa, it is one of the officially recognized and standardized Quechua variants in Peru. In the pastaza area it is also called Inka ( Inga ).

Subgroups and number of speakers

In the province of Lamas in the department of San Martín speak of about 45,000 Quechuas Lamistas still about 15,000, the Lamas Quechua . According to Gerald Taylor, the closest thing to Lamas Quechua is Chachapoyas Quechua, which is spoken by only a few people in the Amazon department , but it has some phonological changes that are otherwise untypical for Quechua (emphasis on the first syllable in the word and frequent contraction ), which are mutual Make communication difficult.

In the Loreto department there are three ethnic groups ( Kichwas ) who have Kichwa as their mother tongue: The approximately 3500 Kichwaruna and approximately 1500 Alama or Inga am Pastaza (dialect Pastaza-Quechua), approximately 1500 Kichwa on the Tigre and the around 19,000 Napuruna on the Napo (Napo Quechua dialect). In addition, around 450 people speak Quechua santarrosino in the Madre de Dios department . In the Ucayali department, according to census data from 2007, almost 6,000 people speak Quechua, but these are not officially registered as an ethnic group or assigned to a Kichwa language variety, especially since there are no field studies here.

Sociolinguistic situation

While Lamas-Quechua and especially Chachapoyas-Quechua have been displaced by Spanish for some time, the dialects in Loreto are still very vital and are increasing rapidly due to the high birth rate.

The Kichwa of Northern Peru is officially treated in Peru as a uniform Quechua variant (Kichwa) . Schools with intercultural bilingual education have existed in Loreto, San Martín and Madre de Dios for several years. While in Loreto Kichwa is used as the first language of the pupils at 142 schools and as a second language at 51 schools, in San Martín there are 143 schools with Kichwa as second language and only one with Kichwa as first language, in Madre Dios 6 schools with Kichwa as first language and 2 with Kichwa as a second language. There are no schools with Kichwa instruction in Ucayali and the Amazon.


The Kichwa of Northern Peru has the sound structure characteristic of the Chinchay group, so instead of [q] there is always [k]. The initial [h] has become silent, so that this sound, expressed with “j”, only occurs in Spanish loan words. In common with other northern Peruvian Quechua variants, plural forms of the verb are formed by adding “llapa”.

In the dialects of Loreto, the final [k] and [n] are also muted, similar to the Inga-Kichwa of Colombia and the dialects of the lowlands of Ecuador.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Perú, Ministerio de Educación, Dirección General de Educación Intercultural, Bilingüe y Rural: Documento Nacional de Lenguas Originarias del Perú , Amazonas , 2013, pp. 444, 530, 467, 574, 229.