Quichwanzine, a contribution from Bolivia to Wikimedia Commons quechua

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Can you imagine our first language disappearing or being in risk of disappearance? We would lose important elements of communication, the meanings they have, as well as the historical burden it has on us, our families and society.

A couple of weeks ago, the user Atuq Yachaqhiq from Bolivia, released on Wikimedia Commons a fanzine in quechua that allows, through colorful illustrations, to learn and know this language. This was achieved by the efforts we made as Wikimedistas of Bolivia, because the fanzine had already been published in 2021 by the educational group Aya marq’ay killa, but it was private.

There are 12 pages that combine well-known and recognized illustrations from social media (such as the Simpsons), with typical characters from Quechua narratives and stories, such as the fox, which in this culture represents cunning and intelligence. And the most essential: the text and narrative in Quechua, which can easily be used as teaching materials by teachers who are dedicated to the teaching of this language, or simply for those who lurk in the encyclopedia or Internet.

Qhichwazine 1

In Bolivia, Quechua is spoken by more than 2 million people, mainly in the western region.

In recent years, efforts have been made to preserve this and other indigenous languages of Bolivia, but there are few elements, especially materials, that allow Internet users to know about the existence of, for example, Toromona or Puquina, two languages recognized as official, but which are in serious danger of extinction, according to the Plurinational Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures (IPELC).

In 2022, according to the National Institute of Statistics, only 27% of the Bolivian population spoke a native indigenous language and 63% spoke Spanish; therefore, the publication of materials and didactic content in the diversity of languages, especially indigenous languages, would allow the conservation of these languages beyond the merely oral communication with which some have survived until now.

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