January 4, 2010

Quechua Commercial

This is no news to anyone who pays attention to what goes on in Peru, but as my first 2010 post at LAX-LIM, I wanted to comment.

Is it a good thing Quechua is used as a marketing tool for a multinational cellular phone company?

I don't care.

I like the fantasy of the well-dressed women, in upscale pseudo-traditional clothing, in beautifully appointed settings, selling Movistar, in Quechua.

I know it's capitalism to the nth degree, but I wish this was the reality in Peru: indigenous people being wealthy, having nice surroundings, and being able to be on TV in Quechua.

There are many loan words from Quechua in Peruvian Spanish, but Quechua itself is seen as having very little value as a language.

Why learn Quechua if you can learn English, or better yet Mandarin, seems to a prevailing stream of thought.

A language is not just the sum of how many people speak it, or how much money you can make from being able to communicate in it.

Quechua is a connection to a long history: it represents a cosmology, a vision of the world.

I can only speak English and Spanish; damn, I wish I knew Quechua as well.