The Sounds of the Andean Languages




To see this welcome page in a different language – Quechua, Aymara, Spanish or English – click here!



Listen to Quechua and Aymara!

For people in the Andes who speak Quechua or Aymara today, every time they talk in their mother tongue they are continuing an authentic, unbroken link back to the great native civilisations of the Andes. They are keeping alive their most direct human connection with their own ancestors who built those civilisations that spread their Quechua and Aymara all over the Andes, especially throughout Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

So vast is this area, however, that both Quechua and Aymara have come to be spoken in many different ways from one region to the next. With this cd-rom and website you will be able to hear exactly how people in each region pronounce words differently to how you say them in your region. You can also learn more about how and why these differences arose, and where your language comes from.

So to listen to how people in different places in the Andes say the Quechua and Aymara words for the number one, for example, just move your mouse over any of these region names in here (or if necessary, click on them).  Try it now!  (If the sound doesn’t work and you can’t hear anything on your computer, click here for help.) 

   Listen here to how the Quechua word for one is pronounced in, for example, the region in the highlands of Ecuador, in northern Peru, in Ancash in North-Central Peru, in Southern Peru, and the region in Southern Bolivia. 

   Now listen to how one is said in Aymara:  for example in the Central Aymara of in Central Peru, and the Altiplano Aymara of in Bolivia. 

   You can also listen to how these words for one were probably pronounced many, many centuries ago in the and languages.


On this cd-rom and website there are fifty common words that you can listen to in this way (in later editions this will be expanded to one hundred words).  For each word, you can hear how it is pronounced in each of the nineteen regions of the Andes that we cover in Sounds of the Andean Languages.  To hear all of these recordings for the numbers one and five, click here on the number names one or five, and then please wait for the sound files to load into your computer (it may take a minute or so).




How to Use Sounds of the Andean Languages

The fact that Quechua and Aymara are not the same in the different regions is not a shame – not at all, it is part of the rich diversity of Andean culture. In fact, it actually helps us understand much more about where Quechua and Aymara originated, and answer some important questions about the distant ancestors of the people who speak those languages today: Where did they come from? When did they arrive in each different region, bringing with them their old form of their Quechua or Aymara language? What did their Original Quechua and Original Aymara sound like in the past?

Sounds of the Andean Languages is available as both a cd‑rom, and an online website, with exactly the same content, divided into several different parts. To choose any of them, just click on the green links in the top section of the column on the left of your screen.

   Help – If you ever have a problem, click on help to find out how to hear all the sounds properly and how best to view all these pages.

   Listen & Compare – Listen to how fifty common words are pronounced in Quechua and Aymara in nineteen different regions.

   Regions – See photos on your screen of each of the people whose voices you are listening to, and of where they live.

   Origins & Diversity – Find out more about your language, where it is from, and where your ancestors could have come from. When and where did Quechua and Aymara originate? How did they get to each region? Why are they no longer the same from one region to the next? How did all these differences arise?

   Spelling – How should Quechua and Aymara be written? The purpose of Sounds of the Andean Languages is not to teach official spelling, but as you learn about how Quechua and Aymara are different from one region to another, and what the Original Quechua and Original Aymara were like, this knowledge will also help you with the unified alphabet for Andean languages. In this section you can learn why that alphabet has been designed like it is, and why it asks you to write words in the unified way, even if in your region some spellings may seem a little strange at first.




Can You Help Us?

Can you help us improve Sounds of the Andean Languages?

   We would like to add more recordings of the Quechua and Aymara spoken in many more regions (including other countries like Argentina and Colombia). If you would like people to be able to hear how each of our fifty words are pronounced in your own region too, then just send us a recording and we will include your voice in later editions of Sounds of the Andean Languages.

   Although this welcome page is available in various languages, for the moment the full range of pages is available only in Spanish and English, though we do hope to make later editions written entirely in the Quechua and Aymara of various regions. You may be able to help us if you have experience of translating into your region’s way of speaking Quechua or Aymara.

If you would like to help us in either of these ways, then to find out more about who produced Sounds of the Andean Languages and how to contact us, click here.



To read this welcome page in a different language, click on any language region below.



(highlands, Chimborazo)

(north-central Peru)


(central Peru)

(southern Peru)


(‘central Aymara’)

Altiplano Aymara
(La Paz, Bolivia)


You can also read this welcome page, and use the rest of the website, in either English or Spanish.


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