Lesson 5 (phisqa ñiqin yachay)
Greetings and answers
Alli-lla-n-chu? How are you?
Alli-lla-n-mi. I am fine, or Alli-lla-n-puni kasani:
I am very fine. Note that –mi has nothing to do with “me”, the
one that answers, it is an euphonic particle, used in Quechua to soften
the flow of the spoken language, or to stress something or to express a
form of certainty. Often it is only an –m, instead of –mi,
for instance after a vowel.
Also possible is:
Imay-na-taq ka-sa-nki? How-and be-you. Or: imaynallataq kasanki?
The answer could be: Alli-lla-n-puni ka-sa-ni, or Waleh-lla-n-puni
ka-sa-ni (both literally “Good-just-very be-I”).
Ima suti-yki? What is your name? (what name-you?)
Jan Willem suti-y. My name is Jan Willem. (Jan Willem
Where are you from? (what-from-and come-you?)
Holandamanta hamuni. I am
from Holland. (Holland-from come-I)
Note that these are simplified sentences, because a native speaker
could insert all kinds of softeners and diminutive infixes and suffixes.
As pointed out before, in this simplified course I try only to deal
with the bare necessities.
Ima-pi tia-nki? Where are you staying? (what-in be-you?)
Tia-ni hutil-pi Monasterio sutin. I stay in the Monasterio*
Hotel (be-I hotel-in M name-its)
*Note: the Monasterio Hotel in Cusco is the most luxurious hotel of
When you know a person well or are in an informal environment,
different forms of addressing are used.
An elderly woman might be addressed as: mamáy
and an elderly man as taytáy. Note that here
the emphasis changes.
As a foreigner you can be addressed with wiracocha, which is
a formal title. But little boys in the street can say about you; k’ara
runa, white man. K’ara has also a very different meaning,
that of the (white) light of the energy field of “beings” incorporated
or not, of high rank, like Apu’s. In normal Quechua the word for white
is yuraq. Yuraq wasiman rini: I go to the white house,
(literally, white house-to go-I).
Someone you know well can be addressed as brother or sister. In
Quechua there are more words for these relationships, dependent of the
gender of the speaker.
A man saying brother to a man says: wawke-y (literally,
brother-I). A woman would say: turi-y. A man saying “sister”
to a woman would say pani-y, and a woman ñaña-y. This
also applies to family relations.
A man/woman asking a woman if she has a brother would say: turi-yuq kankichu?
A man/woman asking a man if he has a brother would say: wawke-yuq kankichu?
A man/woman asking a man if he has a sister: pani-yuq kankichu?
A man/woman asking a woman if she has a sister: ñaña-yuq kankichu?
The answer would be: (if no) mana …..-yuq kanichu, or (if
yes) Arí, wawke-yuq kani (brother-with be-I). Then you
could say Tawa wawke-y(-kuna)-yuq kani. I have four brothers.
(literally, four brother-I-(plural)-with (be-I)), but you also could
say Tawa wawke-y-kuna kanku (four brothers-mine be they, there
are four brothers). *Note, the plural form –kuna is optional in
this case because tawa (four) already conveys the plural. Also
note that kanku, “they are,” is also optional. But as a
foreigner it is best to use the whole sentence, even if only to
understand for yourself what you are saying.
To say goodbye
There are several ways to say goodbye in Quechua, as there are in
almost every language.
Very informal is: huk ratukama, which
translates as “see you later,” or “until later.” Huk is “a” or
“one.” Ratu is “a little while.” Kama means “until.”
The central word is –kama, until.
Al kinds of time pointers can be used: paqarinkama or qhayakama,
“See you tomorrow.” Or domingukama, “See you on Sunday (next).
Or huk kutikama, (literally “One/another time until”), “See
you next time.” Or the more elaborate: tupananchiskama
(literally “Meet-future/urgency-us (all incl)-until”).
Then there is the simple Adiyús, borrowed
from Spanish adios.
Saying that you are glad to meet someone: Kusi-ku-sa-ni
reqsi-su-spa-y! (“As I am getting to know you, I
am being glad,” or literally, “Glad-self-being-I know-intensive
Note: Just to show how the Quechua language operates we turn the
sentence around: Are you glad to meet (know) me? Kusikusankichu
reqsisuspawanki? Most of this we already covered: kusi-ku-sa-nki-chu
resi-su-spa-yki: (literally, “Glad-self-being-you-question marker
Know-intensive marker-ing form-you”).
Quechua has a form which seldom arises in lother anguages (as far as I
know), i.e. that the subject and object are comprised in one
For example muna-yki: I love you. Muna-wa-nki: You
love me. Qu-yki: I give to you. Qu-wa-nki: You give to
me. With the verb Quy (to give) often the infix –pu-
to is inserted. So: Qu-pu-yki: I give to you. Qu-pu-wa-nki:
you give to me. -pu here has the meaning as a marker for benefit or sometimes the opposite.
Uyari-yki: I hear you. Uyari-wanki: You hear me. (uyari-y
is to hear)
These are the most important ones. Others are covered later on.
To say that you are glad that someone is with you: Kusikuni kaypi
kasanki: “I am glad you are here.” (literally, Glad-self-I this-in
be-you.) Or in the plural: Kusikuni kaypi kansankichis (kasankichis
the plural of kansanki).
I am glad to be here: Kusikusani kaypi kasani. (note: these forms can also be expressed in a cause-effect relation in complex sentences. see lesson 8)
When making a despacho you could express what the despacho is for.
There are different kinds of despachos: General despachos of
thanksgiving to Pachamama or Apus and special despachos to obtain
something, like a quality. Despachos can be for your family, wife,
children, intention on a specific family topic as a wish or desire, or
as a thanksgiving. Despachos can also be for asking something, for
example a better connection to Pachamama or Apus et cetera.
So if a despacho is for the family, it is a: Despacho ayllu-pah,
(children) wawakunapah, or for money: Qullqi-pah
(literally, Silver-for) or for love: munaypah,
for work: llamkaypah, for knowing: yatchaypah.
Or for someone you love: munasqa-y-pah
Other despachos may hold a special wish. Note that despachos are not
to lure someone in, then it becomes black magic. But you may wish to
change something in your environment or for yourself. For example,
change the atmosphere at your work: Llamkanaypi kawsayta
(literally, Work-my-at energy-object marker change-object marker
When you want to say that you “would or could” something, a
conditional form is used: muna-y-man: I would
like to: muna-y-man …..
I would like to make a despacho: Ruwa-y-ta muna-y-man despacho-ta.
Ruwa-y is “to make.”
I would like you to make a despacho for me (this sentence you should
be able to make yourself by now): Ruwa-y-ta muna-yki-man
I would ask you to make a despacho for …. : Tapu-yki-man
ruwa-y-ta despacho-ta …….. paq.
The Quechua term for a despacho is Haywarisqa, from
haywarikuy, to make an offering. So where in the sentences
before the word despacho was used, it could be substituted by haywarisqa.
(literally, been offered, being –sqa the past particle
I would like you to make a despacho for me so Apus will talk to me: Muna-y-man
despacho-ta ruwa-wa-nki, chay hinaqa apu-kuna noqa-pah rimanqaku. Chay
hinaqa is an adverb for “so” as a consequence. Rima-nqaku
is “they will speak.” Rima-y is “to speak” and –nqaku
is the future form in third person plural.