Besides Spanish, there are dozens of more languages spoken all across Peru, some of them even spoken in neighboring countries.
“According to Peter Landerman, a specialist in historical linguistics at the University of California in Los Angeles, USA, the Jesuits who soon after settled in the country translated documents of up to 150 indigenous languages of the Peruvian Amazon”, said BBC.
It was the Spanish who, through the teaching of Catholicism, imposed their language and made it the main tongue of the region. This is why today, Spanish is the mother tongue of more than 80% of Peruvians.
“In Peru, according to official figures, there are approximately 47 native or indigenous languages,” explained César Moreno-Triana, Unesco’s specialist for Latin America on cultural heritage issues, according to BBC, adding that of all of those, four are spoken in the Andes regions, and 43 in the Amazon.
Among the first, Quechua stands out, which is the most spoken in the country, followed by Aymara. Among the latter, the most vital is the Ashaninka, which is spoken by 97,477 people in the regions of Junín, Pasco, Ucayali, Apurímac, Ayacucho, Huánuco, Cusco and Loreto.
But there are also languages such as Elsharanahua, which barely have 600 speakers, according to the Unesco specialist’s estimates.
In the same way, several of the original languages already have their own alphabets, such as Awajún, Jaqaru, Shawi or Yanesha.
In addition, the Quechua language is also spoken in Ecuador, Bolivia and in the northwest of Argentina. Aymara, for instance, is spoken in Bolivia, Argentina and northern Chile, besides Peru.