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Andean readings
Land of winds > Recommended readings > Recommended readings | Issue 02. Sep.-Oct.2010
By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

Donato Gómez Bacarreza
Literatura quechua y aymara: cuentos andinos, dichos, refranes y adivinanzas
(La Paz: ABOLENA, 2006)
Ilustr. b/w – 311 pp.

In this book, Donato Gómez Bacarreza, Linguistics and Native Languages Graduate at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (La Paz, Bolivia), gathers together traditional tales in the most widespread languages along the Andean range: Quechua and Aymara. The book’s title might deceive readers, for there is no literature in this collection but a good example of oral tradition. The author has chosen classic stories such as the fox and the partridge tale, or the condor and the girl one, which have several versions both in Quechua (“Atuqmantawan yuthumantawan” and “Imillamantawan mallkumantawan”) and in Aymara (“P’isaqampit qamaqimpita” and “Kunturimpita tawaqumpita”). This is an interesting sample of the stories that, even nowadays, make the evenings and nights in many villages and hamlets of the Andes livelier. In addition, the book includes some riddles, proverbs and popular sayings, and every original text has been translated into Spanish. This work is complemented by two grammar books written by the same author: “Manual de gramática aymara” and “Manual de gramática quechua”, which are an excellent tool for anyone wanting to start learning the difficult art of speaking and understanding either of these two Andean languages.
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