Santiagueño Quechua

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Santiago del Estero Quichua or Santiagueño Quechua (Santiagen Quichua) is a dialect of Southern Quechua spoken by 60,000 people (estimates vary widely) in Argentina. It is spoken in the province of Santiago del Estero. Long-standing migration has also resulted in the presence of the language in other provinces of northeastern Argentina and in Buenos Aires.

Approximate extension of Quichua speech in Santiago del Estero

It is 81% similar to other Quechuan languages. There are radio programs in this languages and also a dictionary. There is some cultivation of the language as it is taught in some schools. It uses the Roman alphabet. Its speakers are Native Americans and they mostly work in agriculture. It is the seventh-most widely spoken language in Argentina behind Spanish, Italian, Levantine Arabic, South Bolivian Quechua, Standard German, and Mapudungun. It is the third most widely spoken indigenous language.

There was once another dialect of Southern Quechua in Argentina, that of Catamarca and La Rioja, but it has gone extinct. All were introduced during the Spanish colonial period, as Quechua speakers were transplanted to various parts of the Spanish realm (continuing a practice of the Inca), and Quechua was an official language of Santiago, Catamarca, and La Rioja during the colonial era.

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