Latin America: the region that made Spanish one of the most spoken languages in the world
Did you know that there are about 7,000 languages in the world? Did you know that the most spoken languages are Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi and Arabic? Did you know that 90% of living languages are spoken by fewer than 100,000 people?
Language is a system of signs that allows us to communicate with other people, but it is also a trait that defines each country, culture or ethnicity. Languages contain the characteristics of the speakers in their DNA, which have been impregnated in every word, saying or phrase. When we get to know a new language, we are even able to identify the personality of the inhabitants of a city or the members of a community.
There are different ways of expressing the same idea depending on the language. For example, did you know that when the French want to say that something is not wonderful they use the phrase: ce n'est pas le Pérou (it's not Peru)? Incredible, isn't it? That means that they see Peru as a rich country, and so charming as to be synonymous with "good" or "extraordinary".
The most spoken languages in Peru
Although Spanish is the most widely spoken language (85.9%), Peru is a multilingual country where about fifty vernacular languages are spoken, including Quechua (13.2% overall) and Aymara (1.8%), as well as Amazonian languagesand Peruvian Sign Language.
The use of Spanish prevails in the coastal region of Peru, however, multilingual populations predominate in many of the rural areas, such as the Amazon, where languages include Ashaninka, Aguaruna, Tupi, Arawak and Pano-tacanas, among others.
Variety and mixture characterizes Peru in all aspects, and language is no exception to this. Peruvian Spanish has now incorporated many words that have their origin in Quechua, such as choclo, chingana, cancha, guagua, guata and ojota.
Despite the immense number of languages and dialects spoken in our country, it should be noted that many languages have become extinct over the centuries, such as the Mochica language and the Tallán and Hibito-Cholónlanguages. Experts now say that more than 300 languages could have been used in Peru, but during the Viceroyalty, and after independence, these were reduced to fewer than 150.
Taquile island, Titicaca Lake
Which languages are the most widely spoken today?
The native Andean languages that have stood the test of time, the Spanish conquest and globalization are Quechua, Aymara, Jaqaru and Kawki. On the other hand, in the Amazon region there is a greater variety of languages, Ashaninka and Aguaruna being the most widely spoken. However, many Amazonian communities have their own way of communicating, enriching the already long list of beautiful languages that exist in our country.
This wealth gives added value to trips around Peru, because it allows us to get to know, in addition to captivating and varied cultures, new forms of communication that define the personality of each town, community and city. So, after a trip through this incredible region you can take back some enchanting souvenirs in your backpack, fantastic memories in your heart and new words in your soul.
Yagua native community of Nuevo Peru, Loreto