Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Native peoples > Aymara

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Language

The Aymara language belongs to the jaqi family. It is polysynthetic and agglutinative, with a tendency to employ suffixes. It is both complex and regular, using compound words where English would use a whole phrase. For instance, the term Aruskipasipxañanakasakipunirakispawa means “let us hope that there will always be dialogue between us”.

The Aymara tongue is currently spoken by about 1.5 million people in Peru, Bolivia and Chile. In the altiplano, most people over 40 are bilingual, while younger Aymara tend to speak only Spanish.