For the purposes of this page and the entries I am working on, "Quechua" primarily refers to Southern Quechua. Although there is substantial overlap between varieties, pronunciation, meaning, and grammar might differ to the point of making them mutually unintelligible. In a way, "Quechua" (or "Runasimi") as described by Wiktionary and its corresponding Wikipedia at this time is probably closer to a literary/internet standard or dachsprache than an accurate representation of any single variety of Quechua.
Keep in mind that orthography is based on, but not equal to, spoken language. This is true for written Quechua, the pronunciation of which will differ depending on the region; however, a given region's pronunciation will generally follow recognizable patterns.
3 vowels (A I U): Standardized three-vowel writing system used in official capacity in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. New entries will follow the conventions O→U and E→I. There is a rationale here for those interested.
/h/ (H): The sound /h/ is represented as "H". This is notably different from some Bolivian sources, which use "J" as in Spanish and Aymara. For example, halay/jalay "to fly" is borrowed from the Aymara jalaña.
Suffixes as defined here. Alternate renderings listed below should be avoided, although students may find them helpful for learning regional pronunciations.
-CHIK: "Plural" marker. Also seen as -chis, -chiq.
-CHKA: Progressive aspect marker. Also seen as -shka, -ska, -sha, -sya, -sa, -yka, ya.
-M: First-hand evidential. Also seen as -n. The post-vowel form -M is preferred for its similarity to the post-consonant form -MI, and because it differentiates the evidential from the third-person marker -n.
When editing texts, -n is left as -(n) if I'm not sure whether -n or -m is to be used.
-P: Genitive marker. Also seen as -q and -h. Like -m above, -P is preferred for similarity to -PA and differentiation from the agentive -q.
If the function of a -q in a text is ambiguous, keep in mind that the genitive -p/pa typically falls on nouns, and the agentive -q on verbs.
-PTI: If/When; Subordinator. Also seen as -qti, -hti.
There are, I believe, two schools of thought on standardizing the spelling of Quechua (specifically the representation of consonants such as K, KH, and K'). I admit I have not been consistent in following one or the other. Given a growing amount of Quechua literature, perhaps one accepted spelling will eventually emerge. It is equally likely that divergent but equally accepted spellings will find widespread use, as is already the case between "Kichwa" in Ecuador and "Qhichwa" in Peru and Bolivia. The two competing thought processes are:
Spelling should prioritize the three-consonant system in all cases.
This school would support writing rikch'ay "to seem," despite the fact that there is no separate definition for rikchay.
(Speakers that don't make this distinction would need to memorize such spellings.)
Spelling should prioritize the simplest possible form.
This school would support writing rikchay, since there is no difference in meaning between rikch'ay and rikchay.
(Speakers that make this distinction would need to learn when to pronounce the same letter differently.)
That said, English has similar discrepancies (e.g. color and colour); American and British English speakers use their own spellings but have no problem understanding the alternative spelling. It wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that Quechua speakers may write rikchay or rikch'ay depending on their dialect, but have no trouble interpreting the alternative spelling. This is only a problem when creating entries on Wiktionary, because one spelling will ultimately take precedence over the other (color is considered an alternative spelling of colour).
Parts of Speech
Quechua is incredibly flexible in the function of words. Verbs can be declined like nouns; adjectives and adverbs can be formed from nouns and verbs; context and endings can change the implied part of speech; a lexicalized root-suffix combination may itself take (sometimes seemingly redundant) suffixes. For many reasons, it is impossible (or possible but tedious) to convey in one dictionary entry the myriad ways in which a word can be used; similar is the case of creating entries for every conceivable variation. Although Wiktionary entries may be instructive, ultimately the function of a given word with its suffixes will probably be better determined by a combination of its general sense and context.
My main advice is to recognize what parts of speech certain suffixes adhere to.
For example, the accusative -(k)ta is attached to nouns. Verbs that take this suffix are basically functioning as nouns, even if no "official" noun form is found in a dictionary.
The conjugation/declension tables are functional enough to be included in pages, but are not complete. These are some issues that need to be addressed:
Being an agglutinative language, there's almost no limit to how many derivative forms can be included.
Few lists of nominal cases agree on just how many there are or what constitutes one.
Current tables mostly ignore forms containing multiple suffixes.
I appreciate any feedback you might on creating/organizing Quechua entries. More importantly, if you have any questions about the language, please feel free to ask! I may not be an expert, but I would love to help spread knowledge of both the history and grammar of this beautiful and remarkably versatile language.
Side-by-side comparison of Quechua verses and English translations. English translation by Clements R. Markham in Ollanta: An Ancient Ynca Drama (1871). Quechua lines are standardized based off of Quechua texts in Markham's Ollanta and Julio Calvo Pérez's Ollantay: El rigor d'un pare i la generositat d'un rei (2004).
Side-by-side comparison of modern Quechua orthography and that written down by Juan Pérez Bocanegra in the 1600's, the latter being preferentially used for choral lyrics. Eventually I'd like to add line-by-line translations into English, with an emphasis on explaining grammatical constructions over any attempt to construct a poetic English equivalent.
Entries from an Ayacucho-Chanca dictionary distributed by the Peruvian Ministry of Education. Work on this will begin when the above simiqullqa is finished; hopefully the substantial overlap between the two will make this a faster process.
Current work is on adding verbs included in the vocabulary list at runasimi.de. Verbs here are organized by the the the number of columns they appear in within the vocabulary table available there. There is some redundancy because if one database is listed in two columns with different spelling variants, I counted it as two "databases." As a result, this list is not meant to be an accurate representation of the mostly commonly used Quechua words, but rather an estimation to guide the addition of new entries.
Two tables exist, one for cases (16 cases as of 10/7/14), and another for the cases of possessed forms (7 pronouns x16 cases each). Both include singular and plural forms. The tables are separate but can be added together by pasting the following (replace X with either v or c depending on whether the word ends in a vowel or consonant):
There are few differences between the two. The main changes are the addition of the euphonic particle -ni in front of some cases and possessed forms to prevent consonant clusters, and the distinction between the genitive -p for vowel-final and -pa for consonant-final words.
One size fits all (for the time being). Includes past, present, future participles; regular finite forms of the present, reported past, experienced past, and future tenses; affirmative and negative imperatives for second- and third-person. Use this template on any infinitive-form verb, including the verb without its infinite marker -y. For example, given a made-up verb, wikiy, the conjugation table would be entered as: