Languages of Peru

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Languages of Peru
Official languages Spanish
Minority languages Quechua, Aymara
Sign languages Peruvian Sign Language

Peru is a multilingual nation. Its official language is Spanish. In the zones where they are predominant, Quechua, Aymara and other aboriginal languages also have official status. (Political Constitution, art. 48) The most common languages are Spanish, to a lesser extent, Quechua and Aymara languages, not to mention numerous Amazonian languages, such as Urarina.[1]

Original languages[edit]

Indicated on the map with the distribution of individual native language Quechua by districts.[2]
Map of the distribution of the Aymara-speaking limited to three southern departments with compact aymaroyazychnym population: Puno, Moquegua, Tacna.[3]
Indicated on the map with the distribution of individual native language Castilian on areas of Peru[4]

The aboriginal languages of Peru are spoken mainly in the central Andes and in the Amazon forests. A considerable number of languages were once spoken on the northern coast and in the northern Andes, but other than some in the northern highlands (Cajamarca, Inkawasi-Cañaris and Chachapoyas), all others have died out[clarification needed] - Mochica is thought to have gone extinct in the 1950s.

The only aboriginal Andean languages in use in the highlands today are those of the Them Nudes and Aymara families (the latter including Jaqaru/Kawki). The Amazon region, however, is home to a [clarification needed]

There are currently fourteen defined language families in Peruvian territory, in addition to many more isolated and unclassified languages, such as Urarina.[2]

It is known that the number of languages that were used in Peru easily surpasses 300; some observers speak of 700. Yet from the time of European conquest, epidemics and periods of forced work (in addition to the influence of the hegemonic Spanish language), fewer than 150 can be counted today. The following is an incomplete list of languages spoken today, and a number that became extinct in the twentieth century or that are endangered.

Number of speakers[edit]

In the Peruvian Amazon over forty languages, which are usually grouped into 14 families and diversifying about 120 recognizable local varieties are spoken.[5]

Population by mother language over 5 years
language 1993 2007
Total percentage[6] Total percentage[7]
Castilian 15.405.014 80,27% 20.723.489 83,92%
Quechua 3.177.938 16,56% 3.262.137 13,21%
Aimara 440.380 2,29% 434.372 1,76%
(other Aboriginal language) 132.174 0,69% 223.941 0,91%
(foreign language) 35.118 0,18% 21.097 0,09%
(Unanswered / deaf) 117.979 28.905

Families and language isolates[edit]

Languages extinct prior to the twentieth century

Foreign languages[edit]

In addition to the above, in Peru there is a large community of immigrants, of which few keep their languages. Within those, there are the Japanese and the Chinese (Cantonese dialect), for example and in smaller numbers, the Germans (central Andes), Italian, the Arabic speakers, and the Urdu speakers retain their native languages in Peru. The last two are products of the recent wave of immigrants from Palestine and Pakistan. Lately also have much influence is the English by the number of tourists and American and British residents.

Spanish language[edit]

In Peru, the most common language is Spanish, which is spoken by the majority of Peruvians (83.92% of the total population). Spanish is used in the media, in the government, etc.

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]