Project to Create Free Software in Quechua
|Español English Runasimi|
Our dream is to create a whole set of software in Quechua so that Quechua speakers will not be forced to use software in Spanish (or English). If we can translate OpenOffice and Mozilla Firefox, people will have alternatives to Microsoft Office and Internet Explore which currently aren't availble in Quechua. When Microsoft Office in Quechua is finally released, very few Quechua speakers will be able to download it since it requires access to the internet and legal license of MS Office. If we translate GNOME, we would be able to put the entire operating system in Quechua. In order to reach the youth, perhaps we could translate Gaim and some electronic game.
In Arequipa, a group has begun
to translate Edubuntu
in Quechua at
If you would
like to colaborate in the translation, contact Nicolas C. A.
This is the promise of free software. We can create a world where technology serves at the behest of local cultures, rather than according to the requirements of Silicon Valley and under the control of transnational companies.
We have plans to copy the words in other dictionaries for spell-checking in other dialects of Quechua. Perhaps we can use the words from some of the online Quechua dictionaries, but we need to update the spelling.
Perhaps someone can use the program created by Kevin Patrick Scannell that crawls through the internet, collecting words from web pages in Quechua. Kevin has already collected 100,000 words, but someone has to revise the list and separate the words from the different dialects and correct the spelling.
k (|k| arriba en la garganta)
kh (k aspirado)
k' (k glotalizado)
q (|k| abajo en la garganta)
qh (q aspirado)
q' (q glotalizado)
In aspell all these |k| sounds can be transformed into the letter 'k'
c => k (when followed by a, o, u)
qu => k (when followed by e, i)
kh => k
k' => k
q => k
qh => k
q' => k
In aspell, it doesn't matter whether someone writes "qhelqay", "qelqay", "q'elqay", "khelqay", or "quelqay". Aspell will evaluate all the spellings as "kelkay", and match them with the correct spelling "qelqay". Hunspell, however, does not have a "sounds like" function and we need to change its source code to add it.
If we don't have a "sounds like" function, we will have to use a very long replacement table, but we doubt that hunspell will be able to spell-check all the replacements in real time.
4. Create a Wiki-Diki
(wiki-dictionary) for indigenous and minority languages
Many languages are going to dissappear and there is little that we can do to prevent it aside from trying to record them before they dissappear, but there are many languages like Quechua, Aymara, and Maya with millions of speakers. For these languages, the goal is not just to survive, but to flourish in today's world. The problem is that many youth are ashamed to speak their native language, especially in the cities where it isn't "cool" to speak the language of the grandparents. In part, this attitude arises from the perception that these languages aren't useful in modern contexts, especially in the things of technology and everything emitted by that technology like film, music and electronic games. In order to change this perception that a language doesn't function with what is modern and "cool", a language has to adapt to new contexts. For instance, someone could create a computer terminology dictionary and use the web site as a space to discuss what would be the correct form of the words and reach a consensus in the definition.
Often dictionaries are created by foreign linguists, but the fruit of their labor is not accessible to the speakers of the language. Copies of the dictionary exist only in foreign libraries, but they can't be found in the plaes where the speakers of the language live. In addition, many dictionaries only exist in a form which is extremely expensive for the speaker. The dictionary from the Academia Mayor de la Lengua Quechua (2005 ed) costs S/.100 ($30.75US) and is only sold in the office of the Academy. It is so expensive that even some members of the Academy don't have copies. Similarly in Bolivia, the best dictionaries are not available for the majority of Quechua speakers. The excellent dictionary by Jaime Ajacopa, Teófilo & et al (1996) is not for sale, and the two volumes by Angél Herbas Sandoval (1998) cost $20 for each one. The only dictionary within reach of ordinary Bolivian Quechua speakers is the outdated dictionary by Jesus Lara which employs a strange alphabet and hasn't been updated for the language being used today.
In order to disseminate a dictionary, it needs to be in an accessible form in the intenet so that people all over the world can take advantage of it. Para difundir un diccionario lo necesitamos en una forma accesible por el internet para que gente en todo el mundo puede disfrutarlos. Apart from the academics in the disperse universities, now-a-days many of the speakers of indigenous languas are also very dispersed for economic reasons. For instance, there are quechua speakers working in Buenos Aires, Santiago, Caracas, Madrid, and Los Angeles that would like to use and contribute to a dictionary of their language. At the same time, the dictionary needs to be in a form which is easy to use for a speaker who doesn't have access to the internet. For this reason, there needs to be an option to convert the web page into a PDF which can be readily printed, copied, and distributed. In order to facilicate the dissemination of the dictionary, it ought to have a Creative Commons license (or something similar) which permits it to be freely distributed and redacted without onerous restrictions and payments.
Last Updated: Tue, 16 Aug 2011