Telling Stories Our Way: Changes in the Evidential System of Southern Quechua


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships




Linguistic diversity is in danger around the world, especially where groups experience pressure against speaking the mother tongue to their children. Often, groups adopt features of the colonizers’ language. This project establishes the first intergenerational digital collection of videotaped stories told by Quechua speakers in the rural highlands of Chuquisaca, Bolivia, and engages heritage speakers in the analysis of language acquisition, loss, and change. Transcribing, analyzing, and returning the collected corpus to the community in the form of captioned picture books allows participants to celebrate their local language. Speakers of the language inherited from the Inka have special ways of expressing stance, perspective, and source of information that are fast disappearing. New ways have arisen that are stigmatized by being different from older variants of both Quechua and Spanish. Participants will challenge the stigma by contributing to a research article and building upon the intellectual resources of Quechua-dominant communities.