UNM offers an exclusive opportunity for many scholars, including myself, to broaden our studies in very unique ways: We are able to study Quechua or K’iche’ Maya.
These two indigenous languages—found in the Andean region and Central America respectively—provide a special opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of world languages and distinctive world views in Latin America. Language learning provides students with new perspectives and a window into diverse world views. Each language has a unique perspective of how to relate to the world, demonstrated through distinctive syntax. How sentences are structured, the emphasis given to certain words and phrases, and the roots of vocabulary all provide clues to how its speakers interact with the world around them.
As I sat in our Quechua Class, taught by Yuliana Kenfield, I gradually gained more and more introspection into the lives lead by quechuahablantes (Quechua speakers). Through personal anecdotes from Kenfield’s life experiences, specially formulated class projects, and using the text Kasway Vida, our understanding of Quechua and its perspective on the world grew exponentially.