little woman
petite femme

Warmicha comes from the Quechua word ‘warmi‘ which means ‘woman’. The suffix ‘cha‘ is added to a word to form its diminutive or to indicate familiarity. So, ‘warmicha‘ means ‘mujercita’ in Spanish, ‘little woman‘ in English and ‘petite femme‘ in French. Isn’t this beautiful?

At this point you might be wondering a couple of questions, let me guess: What is Quechua? Why is this important? Let’s start from the beginning. Quechua is one of the 46 indigenous languages of my country (Peru) and the second official language (the first one is Spanish). Quechua is spoken by 10% percent of the Peruvian population (around 30 million) and it is the most spoken indigenous language in South America. Quechua is the live proof of our ancient culture heritage.

Why is this important? I was born in a city where everyone speaks Spanish; so, Quechua is apparently not useful for communicative purposes. However, I realised that Quechua was spoken for 3 of grandparents which means Quechua was fundamental for that generation. Then, this language is part of my identity and of many Peruvians’ identity although we cannot speak it at all.

If we are cut from out roots, we can’t be happy.’

Thich Naht Hanh

Is your country monolingual? I am not 100% sure but the linguistic diversity around the world is humongous. Only in Latin America there are 600 languages (recognised and studied) which means there are different groups of people cohabiting/sharing the same geographical area but living their own language and culture. Isn’t this important for the world?

I don’t want to bore you and this is not an essay or whatsoever. I thought how priceless is the diversity and how much we can learn from it. Also, I believe it is important to live the present without forgetting where we come from. For me, learning about Quechua made appreciate more my culture, my people, my land and myself.

Are there any indigenous languages in your country? If so, I’d love to know and learn more about it. Probably you speak one of them so share your thoughts. Remember, this is a safe space to learn!

Cheers 🙂

Ollantaytambo, Cusco – Peru January 2019

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