Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Is Intercultural Bilingual Education (IBE) Appropriate for Adapting Quechua to Modern Society?

Is Intercultural Bilingual Education (IBE) Appropriate for Adapting Quechua to Modern Society?

Adam Bender

Linguistic imperialism posits a dominant language, spoken by the majority of a nation’s population, for official use, over indigenous languages spoken by smaller populations. Quechua contains the most widely spoken varieties of an indigenous language in South America, but they are subordinate to Spanish in political, economic, and educational uses. Intercultural Bilingual Education (IBE) programs have been introduced in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador where varieties of Quechua are most active. IBE programs ultimately intend to promote Quechua for official use, but the predominant indigenous view of IBE is solely for preservation. To answer the question of preservation versus official state use, reviews of case studies and the common perceptions of indigenous and non-indigenous citizens from Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador are presented. Although all three countries have legally enacted Quechua as an official language, its use beyond the classroom and rural indigenous societies is limited. Some cases have shown IBE to be effective in promoting the use of Quechua in urban societies, but IBE programs need to be revised for advancement of Quechua to national use. Collaboration between governments, educational boards, and the indigenous population has introduced standardized versions of Quechua into various forms of communication media. If Quechua is to be accepted as an official language, expanding its use within the media of politics, business, and entertainment is required.

April 6, 2015 - Posted by | abstract

1 Comment »

  1. I would be curious to know what the opinions of some of the native speakers of Quechua are with regard to maintaining the language for future generations. It’s so common for minority language speakers to neglect to pass on their native tongue in favor of a more advantageous language that could improve economic prospects etc. I wonder what dissenting opinions exist regarding Quechua’s inclusion into national language recognition. While I completely agree with your argument that in order to provide language speakers with adequate public representation, one must achieve representation in the media, government, etc. However, is everyone on board with this movement?

    Comment by Grace Pappalardo | April 20, 2015 | Reply

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