Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

And Now . . .

For something completely different!

A while back, I wrote and extensive post on language policy. This weekend, I had the time to catch up on my Economist magazines, and I found an excellent example of language policy in action, supported by the marketplace.

Quechua is a language spoken by Indians in the Peruvian Andes and is one of Peru's official, but neglected, langauges. It was the language of the Inca Empire as it thought to be spoken by 3-4 million people in Peru and over 10 million in South America. Recently, a primary speaker of this language joined the Peruvian parliament. Despite speaking fluent Spanish, she insisted on speaking her first language, Quechua, thus requiring parliament to supply her with a translator. This has raised the language's profile. Now Google and Microsoft are localizing their software by translating it into Quechua! Google's site isn't totally operational. But it is a start. Way cool!

And this month, the new Peruvian president signed a law making discrimination on the basis of language a criminal offense. Not a bad way to start your administration! By doing this, he has acknowledge the ethnic inequalities that have long existed in Peru. What I hope is that this will make it more possible to teach Quechua more widely in Peruvian schools. The legislation for doing so has existed since the 1960s, but has not really been properly enforced, funded, or staffed with trained teachers.

I think this is very cool, and very nice to hear when so much other news is bad.


Dr. Strangelove said...

"Quechua if you can" would have been a nice title for the post.

But seriously, I am actually rather astonished that Peru has chosen to recognize Quechua instead of trying to stamp it out (as I presume they used to--since everyone did).

Google in Quechua. Who'da thunk it?

Anonymous said...

Ha! good one. I am not gifted with the ability to do clever headlines! 

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

Quechua is a rare treasure from pre-Columbian days. I am glad Peru is working more to support it. But it will die out eventually, just as Quebec French and Cajun French are teetering on the abyss, isolated in a see of 300 million anglophones. 

// posted by LTG