Kichwa Reboot

Well it has been a while since I updated my Kichwa project here: … this hasn’t been due to lack of practice. The past two months I have been living in a Kichwa speaking part of Ecuador and have spoken a little bit of the language every day - even if just to say “good morning”. Even so I feel like my learning is stagnating.

There are a number of reasons for this:

(1) I am not in a monolingual environment. Everyone who speaks Kichwa also speaks Spanish, so I am never “forced” into using Kichwa to communicate. Falling back on Spanish is always an option.

(2) At other times it is fair to say that people speak neither pure Spanish nor pure Kichwa here, but a hybrid mix of both. Spanish vocabulary is used with Kichwa grammar, and vica versa. Separating the two sometimes seems impossible, and it can sometimes be difficult figuring out why I am not understanding what is being said!

(3) The lack of learning or written materials in the language is a real struggle. It is just so much easier to make things stick when you can sit down with some easy reading.

In this strange learning environment which is a million miles away from how I learnt Spanish, I am still figuring out how to make progress. There are two related points that seem self-evident to me:

(1) Listening and speaking practise alone is just not going to cut it. It goes against all my learning styles and my own personality to try and learn this language through the conversational method.

(2) I need to motivate myself to persevere with the input method (despite the lack of resources). A bit of active reading/listening each day would make a huge difference.

So here I go with a bit of a Kichwa Reboot! Let me know if you have had similar experiences and how you’ve overcome them. I’m definitely determined to move past this block and start making progress again.

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