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Ecuadorian Quichua 1-2    Syllabus                                                                                Quichua Language Learning Resources

June-July  2018   78 classroom hours.


Dr. Tod D Swanson, Arizona State University

Dr. Armando Muyulema, University of Wisconsin Madison


This course introduces graduate students to the Quichua language and moves them toward fluency as quickly as possible.  Morning classes present basic grammar and vocabulary thematically dealing with broad topics such as "self and other," "space and time."  Exercises are geared to teach the performative language skills needed to carry out research or other inds of work with Quichua communities. Throughout the course Quichua language is used as a window into Quichua culture and worldview.   To this end the afternoon features a lecture on some aspect of Quichua Humanities usually related to language, poetry, oral literature, or the arts using video examples in Quichua.  Following the lecture students engage in discussion with native speakers on the topic of the lecture.  Because the graduate students taking the course tend to be highly motivated but at varying levels of competence an effort is made to individualize instruction often tailoring language instruction to the research topic or needs of the student.



Objectives:    On completing this class the student should be able to



1.  Make social introductions, use greeting and leave-taking expressions.

2.  Talk about spatial movement so as to be able to ask or give directions on how to get from one place to another. 

3.  Ask and answer simple questions about date and place of birth, nationality, marital status, occupation, 

4.  Make basic living arrangements such as renting a room or calling a taxi.  

5.  Be able make social introductions and use greeting and leave-taking expressions.

6.  Buy needed items in a store. 

7.  Be able to understand simple sentences on these topics performed at normal speed by native speakers. 

8.  Be able to construct basic sentences in the present and past tenses with correct use of the direct object marker and word order.  

9.  Be able to use the noun suffixes -pi, -ma, -manda, -gama to describe movement in space.

10.Be able to ask yes/no question using the -chu question marker; and to answer positively or negatively using the forms -mi or mana -chu correctly.


1.  Be able to use coreferential or dependent verbs in more complex sentences
2.  Be able to ask and answer questions of how something is done
3.  Be able to ask and answer questions of why something occurs.  
4.  Be able to carry out a simple interview on the demographics of a community
5.  Be able to use the future tense and conditional tenses.


6 Tests:  60%. 
PowerPoint Kichwa dialogues 40%.

Schedule (subject to change


II. Grading

6 Tests:  60%. 

PowerPoint Quichua dialogues 40%.

Course Schedule


Week 1: Introduction  



Saturday, June 1


Sunday, June 2

Monday, June 3











Tuesday, June 4














Wednesday, June 5














Thursday, June 6














Friday,  June 8

Saturday-Sunday  June 9-10


Week 2:       



Monday,  June 11


































Tuesday,  June 12















Wednesday,  June 13














Thursday,  June 14














Friday,  June 15



Saturday-Sunday June 16-17


Monday,  June 18






































Tuesday,  June 19














Wednesday , June 20







































Thursday,  June 21 




















Friday,  June 22

Saturday-Sunday  June 23-24


Monday,  June 25-June 29

Monday,  July 1














Tuesday,  July 2












Wednesday,  July 3




























Thursday,  July 4



Friday,  July 5





Saturday-Sunday  July 6-7


Monday, July 8



Tuesday,  July 9










Wednesday,  July 10
















Thursday,  July 11




























Friday,  July 12

Saturday-Sunday  July 13-14

Monday,  July 15




















Tuesday,  July 16


Wednesday,  July 17


Thursday,  July 18


Friday,  July 19


Saturday-Sunday  July 20-21


Monday,  July 22











Tuesday,  July 23


Wednesday,  July 24



Thursday,  July 25


Friday,  July 26

Arrive in Quito


Travel to Iyarina


Introduction.  Teaching and learning goals.  Selection of personal "Islands of competence" goals.   Historical overview of Amazonian Quichua dialects. Explorers' and missionaries' first impressions of Quichua and other Amazonian languages.  Phonology and orthographies of Ecuadorian Quichua. 

Readings:  Nuckolls and Swanson, Introduction and Chapter 1

To be fluent: Adventures in language learning

IRIS Testing instrument


Afternoon:  Swanson orientation lecture,  "The Geography and History of Indigenous Ecuador."



Lesson 1:  Greetings as yes/no questions
More complex yes/no questions
Ending a social interaction

1 Practice 1.  Yes/No questions with -chu and answers with -mi  Quizlet. 

Work on Quizlet matching game for Vocabulary 1. 

Listening skills:  Spend 1 hour transcribing video in pairs.

Practice with speaking - Nelly Shiguango


Swanson plenary lecture,  "Shared Body: The Amazonian Quichua Relational Self and its Implications for Language, Art, and Health." 

Eulodia Dagua, "Our Babies Cry Like the Animals We Eat,"  "Newborn Child Dies Like the Snake His Father Killed."


Lesson 2.  Personal pronouns.  The present tense.  The verb ana ‘to be.’

Reading:  Nuckolls and Swanson, Chapter 2



Pronouns (Quizlet)

Present tense(Quizlet)

Chapter 2. Practice 2. Questions and answers in third person singular (present or present perfect).

Chapter 2. Practice 3.  Questions in third person plural



Plenary Lecture, Prof. William Balée, Tulane University.   The Anthropogenic Quality of Amazonian Forests."  


Lesson 3: Talking about family
Family and kinship terms for consanguineals (blood relations)
Asking questions about family.  Telling about one’s family with charina ‘to have’ and direct object marker –ta, and possessive marker -yuk

Reading:  Nuckolls and Swanson, Chapter 3

Exercise with kinship terms

Chapter 3, Practice 1 (Napo dialect): Questions about relatives using -yuk, -cha, ana+2nd pers; Answers with mana+ pers.  Example: Kariyukcha angi? Ari kariyuk mani.

Chapter 3, Practice 2 Questions and answers about relatives using -charina, with -chu and -mi; Answers with mana+ 1st pers. Example: Karira charingichu? Ari. Karira charini.   (Napo dialect)

Use of the Present Tense with Object Markers (PowerPoint)        

Machakuy sapura mikun: practice with the direct object

Infinitive + object marker with munana


Test over Week 1





Information questions with question marker -ta/-ra

Open-ended questions with the topicalizer –ga

Politie directives, non-immediate imperatives and the politifying suffix -pa

The causative suffix –chi 

​Reading;  Swanson and Nuckolls, Chapter 4

4.1   Practice information questions with "ima" + question marker -ta; Question in 2nd person singular; Answer in 1st person singular with object marker. Example. (to eat 'mikuna'; meat 'aycha) Imata mikungi? Aychata mikuni.

4.2  Practice answering the following information questions which ask pi ‘who?’ Remember to add the direct object suffix. Example: llachapa 'clothing' taksana 'to launder' (ñaña 'sister of female'). Pita llachapara taksan? 'who washes clothes'? Ñañami llachapara taksan.

4.3 Practice asking and answering the following information questions for third person plural subjects, which you will insert in your answers Example: mikuna 'to eat /aycha 'meat'/wawaguna 'children' Imata mikunawn wawaguna? 'what do the children eat?' Aychatami mikunawn wawaguna 'The children eat meat.'

4.4 Practice turning the following commands into polite, non-immediate imperatives. Example: Ali aychata apamungi 'bring nice meat' > Ali aychata apamu-pa-ngi 'please bring nice meat'

4.5 Practice the open-ended question by having someone read each of the following statements and then ask you about what you are doing. You should then respond by substituting the word in parentheses with an appropriate response .​​

4 Exercise 1 with -chi. Translate or match the following sentences.


Additional Exercises:

Simple information questions with -ta/-ra and answers (Quizlet)

Exercises with -chi and -ri



Performative skill for IRIS testing:

Ordering a meal



Lesson 5: Affirming, negating and evading
More on yes/no questions
Replying to a yes/no question with a negative statement
Evasion and echo questions
Plural suffixes

Exercises on questions with -chu and -ra

Food vocabulary (Quizlet)

Ordering a meal in Quichua


Swanson Lecture-  Comparison of Japanese Art to Amazonian Art 

Reading 1:   Graham Parkes, Japanese Aesthetics

Reading 2:   Byung-Chul Han, "The Copy is the Original" 

Eulodia Dagua, The Nalpi River Bowl 

Eulodia Dagua:  A ceramic representation of the Kuwa Entza River



Lesson 6:   Articulating the perspectives of self and other
The speaking self –mi
-Mi + ana = mi-ana > mana
The voice of the ‘other’ –shi
Questions with –shi
Affinal  ‘others’


Swanson Lecture and Discussion: "Why Anthropologists are Liars:  The Quichua perception of Academic Discourse as Falsification."

Reading:  Janis B. Nuckolls and Swanson, Tod D. (2014). "Earthy Concreteness and Anti- Hypotheticalism in Amazonian Quichua Discourse.    Tipití: Journal of the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America: Vol. 12: Iss. 1, Article 4, 48-60.


Lesson 7: Human and nonhuman bodies

Ideophones for bodily movements and configurations

Impersonal verbs 

First person object suffix -wa

Possessive markers

3:00-5:00 Quichua

Possessives (Quizlet)

Possessives with nouns (Quizlet)

Overlapping vocabulary for human, plant, and animal body parts 



Swanson Lecture:  Comparison of Quichua verbal art and Haiku: Similarities and Differences




Test over week 2

Independent work on Quichua




Lesson 8: Expressing thoughts, feelings, processes, and enumeration

Reflexive suffix –ri

The cognitive suffix –ri

The bodily configurational suffix –ri

The low animacy suffix –ri


Exercises with numbers

8. 1 -chi and reflexive -ri. Translate or match using one of the verbs in parenthesis.

8. Exercise 2 with -chi, -ri. Choose the best verb with or without -ri or -chi to complete each sentence, and add the correct ending for the present tense.

8. 4 Answer the following questions using Quichua numbers.

8 exercise 5. Translate the following numbers into Quichua.


Nuckolls and Swanson, Chapter 9:  Suffixes of instrumentality, accompaniment and directness.

The instrumental and comitative –wan

The despitative –was

The immediate imperative forms

Negating the immediate imperative forms

The first person plural imperative –shun



Create a power point in Kichwa describing your childhood.    Describe the places using the participle + locative construction.  Present your power points.  


Swanson Lecture:  "The uses of silence and empty space in Quichua Narrative and Art."

Reading:  Keith Basso, "To Give Up on Words:  The Uses of Silence in Apache Culture."

The opacity of animal languaged as privacy.  Japanese "wabi" and Quichua minimalism.

Quichua poem, "Only and Owl Will Call."


Nuckolls and Swanson, Chapter 10:  Suffixes of togethernesss and separateness.

The reciprocal suffix –naku; The conjunctive suffix –ndi; The exclusive suffix -pura; The limitative suffix -lla


Part 2: Space and Time

Nuckolls and Swanson, Chapter  11.  Purposive –ngaw

11 Practice 1.  Answer questions with purposive -ngaw forms. 


11 Practice 3.  Asking "why" questions with ima raygura and answering  purposive -ngak. Example: Ima raygura llaktama ringichi? (Why are you going to town?) palanda/katuna. Palandara katungak riunchi.
Example: Imamandata aswangi? 'Why are you making chicha? Ñuka jista/rana
Ñuka jistata rangaw aswani.

The durative suffix –u

Directional suffixes –ma and –manda

The immediate imperative forms –i and –ichi

Exercise with -ma and -manda 

Exercise: Supply the appropriate question with ima or may for answers with -ma and -manda (Quizlet)

Immediate imperative (Quizlet)

Purposive suffix -ngak (Quizlet)

-ngak PowerPoint exercize with pictures

Asking and Giving Directions (PowerPoint)


Asking Directions in Quichua


Place Vocabulary

1:00 – 2:30 PM  Lunch        


3:00 PM – 5:00 PM 

Swanson Lecture and Discussion: "Why Anthropologists are Liars:  The Quichua perception of Academic Discourse as Falsification."

Reading:  Janis B. Nuckolls and Swanson, Tod D. (2014). "Earthy Concreteness and Anti- Hypotheticalism in Amazonian Quichua Discourse.    Tipití: Journal of the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America: Vol. 12: Iss. 1, Article 4, 48-60.

Task:  Write the 10 best "why" questions you can in your chosen "islands of language competence" using imamandara or imaraygura.  Write the answers to these questions.  Perfect the questions and answers with a native speaker.  Put them into Quizlet.  Memorize them then work in groups practicing the why questions of your classmates.

Quichua language for talking about the weather. Performance goal:  Be able to make small talk about the weather.


Lesson 12

The attributive –k

12.1 Attributive constructions. Practice making attributive constructions using verb roots along with mana 'to be' (-mi + ana):
Example:  ali/allmana > ali allmak man 'He/she is a good weeder.'

12.2 Attrbutive + immediate imperative (Pastaza). Practice constructions which use one attributive and one immediate singular imperative verb, using the following sets. Be sure to add any case suffixes necessary for words other than verbs.


Locative suffixes 

The past tense

Ideophonic adverbs

locative suffix -pi

12.3  Exercise:   Complete the sentence using either -y/-bi, -ma, or -manda, depending on which makes best sense.

​In class assignment on past tense: Use pictures to create a PowerPoint in Quichua with captions describing your grandparents lives in the past.  Present your power points to a native speaker and revise.


Independent work on Quichua






Lesson 13

Habitual aspect with attributive –k  

The cislocative suffix –mu

The translocative suffix –gri

The –gama, -kta, and –ta adverbial suffixes

Exercise with past tense (Pastaza)

More practice with past tense using questions + -chu or -ra (Quizlet)

Attributive -k (Quizlet)

Attributive -k as adjective with nouns (Quizlet)
Attributive k with m-ana (Quizlet)

Attributive -k with past tense as habitual action (Quizlet)

Attributive with n + v-durative-k-object marker (Quizlet)

Lesson 14

Co-reference suffix –sha

-sha verb’s action simultaneous with or independent of main verb’s action

-sha verb facilitating action of main verb

negating a –sha verb

questioning a –sha verb

nina + -sha

Translation and anlysis of Quichua song lyrics

Song: Tamia Tuta

Vocabulary for song "Tamia Tuta

Text of Tamia Tuta


Lesson 15

Switch reference suffix–kpi

If/then –kpi constructions

When/while/after x happens/y happens –kpi constructions 

Sequencing of –sha and -kpi

Exercises with -sha/-kpi in if..... then constructions

-sha/-kpi as if/then

-sha/-kpi as if/then with nina (If you say/want...)

-sha/-kpi as if/then with past tense conditional (If you had I would have).

-sha/-kpi in temporally sequenced actions

-sha simultaneous actions- (adverbial)

-sha/-kpi because (when one verb is the cause of the other)

-sha/-kpi combined with future tense verbs

-sha/-kpi combined with past tense verbs

-sha in polite imperative construction (dame haciendo)

Practice using -sha/kpi to construct 2 word sentences

-sha as exaggeration -nsha (pastaza -shá)

Task:  Write the 10 best "how" questions you can in your chosen "islands of language competence." Write the answers to these questions using verbs with -sha for the dependent steps toward the main goal.  Use verbs with -kpi for the outside or contingent circumstances affecting how you carry out the task.    Perfect the questions and answers with a native speaker.  Put them into Quizlet.  Memorize them then work in groups practicing the why questions of your classmates.


Reading: Rayo amarunda apin "Thunder Catches Boas"

Vocabulary for Thunder Catches Boas



Continued work with same and switch reference suffixes on dependent verbs.



Catch up and independent work on Quichua.   

Catch up and independent work on Quichua.






Continued work with same and switch reference suffixes on dependent verbs.


Lesson 16

Present perfect -shka

Narrative past –shka

Grammatical characteristics of -shka

Promises, threats, and other expressions with –shka

Complex subjects with -shka

Complex predicates with -ska-ra

Translation and analysis and discussion of poem Uksha Urku

Vocabulary for lyrics to Uksha Urku

Lesson 17

Talking about the future

The compound future –nga + rana ‘going to do something’ construction

Questioning the compound future

Exhortative future constructions

Useful expressions for talking about temporality

Attributive future 

Exercise with the future tense -nga rana

Swanson Lecture,  On the future and time in Quichua thinking

Luisa Cadena, "On the return of the animals and the dead."

Whorf article

Taita Carnaval,

Pelizzario, Uwi

Lesson 18

Nominalizing verbs with –y suffix

Passive -y verb +tukuna for passives

Completive –y verb + pasana  for perfective aspect 

Inceptive –y verb + kallarina for inceptive action 

General principles of sentence construction: subject deletion; subject transposition


Lesson 18 Nominalizing verbs continued

18.1 Nominalized -y verb +tukuna for passives 

Nominalized –y verb + pasana  for perfective aspect 

18.2  Answer the following questions by making use of the words in parentheses. 

Example: Imata tukushun? (mikuna, puma) ‘What will become of us?’

Mikuy tukushun pumamanda. ‘We’ll end up being eaten by a jaguar.’

18.3 Practice expressing the completive construction by responding to direct imperatives.

Example: Mikwi! 'eat!' Ña mikwi pasanimi! 'Well I've (already) eaten!'

18.4 Nominalized –y verb + kallarina for inceptive action 



Exercise with -y pasana and -y tukuna


Swanson, Lecture on Perspectivalism 

Readings:  Viverios de Castro,  "Amerindian Perspectivalism."

Pedro Andi, The Musician Wren

Yaqui,  "Night People."

Contrast to sermon on the bat.

Swanson and Carson in Yasuni 



​Lesson 19

The conditional mood

The relative order of meaningful elements

When order is not strictly regulated




19.1 Translate the following conditional sentences

19.2  Form sentences using instrumental, locative, or direct object markers. Assume subjects are deleted. Inflect verb for present using 123 word order. Example: Alberto/upichina/aswa > Aswawan masha Albertota upichinma (123 present conditional)

19. Practice 3 Now construct sentences, again following the 123 or 321 order, using the following word sets, and also, including -gama or -manda suffixes wherever possible. Assume that subects have been deleted, and use the 'going-to-do' compound future

Conditional present tense

Conditional past tense 

Conditional present tense sentences

Conditional past tense sentences


FLAS Students leave for Yasuni/Curaray


FLAS Students in Yasuni/Curaray  Quichua narratives on plants and animals: Supervised interviewing, translation and discussion in Quichua.


FLAS Students in Yasuni/Curaray


FLAS Students in Yasuni/Curaray




​Lesson 20

Evidential -cha

Inchoative –ya 

The subjunctive

Tools for sequencing actions

20. Writing Exercise 1.   Dubative questions with -chuy?

20. Writing Exercise 2.  Expressing perspective with nisha nin

20. Practice 1 Practice turning subjunctive clauses into negated subjunctive clauses.

20. Practice 2 with the subjunctive -chun


Further practice on the subjunctive.


Review and practice for IRIS assessment


Windup,  Final exam and IRIS Assessment.


Travel to the airport

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