Quechua is a Native American language family spoken primarily in the Andes of South America, derived from an original common ancestor language, Proto-Quechua. It is the most widely spoken language family of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of probably some 6 to 8 million speakers (estimates vary widely). Some speakers of Quechua also call it 'runa simi' (or regional variants thereof), literally 'people speech', although 'runa' here has the more specific sense of indigenous Andean people.
This macro language is subdivided as follows, at least according to the traditional classification devised largely by Alfredo Torero and mostly adhered to by Rodolfo Cerrón-Palomino. The validity of this classification is strongly disputed, however, by other Quechua linguists, since a number of regional varieties of Quechua, particularly those of Northern Peru (Cajamarca/Inkawasi), Pacaraos and the Yauyos province of the Lima department, do not classify well with either QI or QIIseem and to be intermediate between the two branches.
These fables from highland Peru, presented in both Quechua and English,
capture a rich oral tradition and illustrate many universal human
themes. This bilingual edition, the first collection of stories from the Cusco region to be published in English, captures a rich but fast disappearing oral tradition. The ethnographic introduction, a poignant re-creation of what living and working with Quechua speakers reveals to a perceptive and appreciative outsider, is conversational, witty, and memorable for its insights.
Johnny Payne, a novelist, playwright, and translator, is a specialist in
comparative literature. He directs the creative writing program at
Florida Atlantic University. For three years he headed a summer
institute in Quechua history and literature in Cusco, Peru.