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PERU: Languages

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Peru has two official languages - Spanish and the foremost indigenous language, Quechua. Spanish is used by all coastal Peruvians, the government, the media, and in education and formal commerce; although there is an increasing and organized effort to teach Quechua in public schools.

The major obstacle to the diffusion of the usage and teaching of Quechua is the almost absolute lack of fluidly available material written in the Quechua language, namely books, newspapers, software, magazines, technical journals, etc. Importantly, non-governmental organizations as well as state sponsored groups are involved in projects to edit and translate major works into the Quechua language; for instance, in late 2005 a superb version of Don Quixote was presented in Quechua. Nevertheless, these books are just collectors items as they have no natural readership. Significantly, most of the native speakers of Quechua are illiterate. Thus, Quechua, along with Aymara and the minor indigenous languages, remains essentially an oral language.

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