Ancient Quechua Language Holds Keys to Ancient Stones


The Quechua word for both condor and puma are the etymological sources of the English words we use today. Condor comes from Kuntur, and puma simply comes from itself. The Inca also had a concept of Mother Earth figure, who they called Pachacutec, from the word Pacha or Earth. Their language frequently uses root words that have other words or parts added on to them to change the meaning. For example, Pachacuti, which symbolizes 500 years, essentially means "when the world turns over." These civilizations believed in periods of metaphorical darkness and light that would visit the earth on a regular schedule. The period of darkness began in 1492, which means a period of light began in 1992 and still holds true through today.


As with many ancient languages, the precise words or word parts used often come from the minds of the researchers themselves. It is generally impossible to know what Inca people and especially earlier civilizations called each building, wall, spiritual concept, year, and other character or item in their world. While most tried to focus on the words that are known from the oral traditions that were passed down, others put their own spin on meanings. One example is the use of Naupaq Rumi, a term that loosely means ancient stones. While this is quite self-explanatory, there is no way of truly knowing if the people called any of their structures with these words.

Likewise, Uran Pacha is sometimes called Sapa, which is another word for high or indicative of royalty. This does not necessarily mean that someone referred to with this term was a member of the ruling class. They may have just been important in the society in general. When speaking about the cultures or groups who created the stonework that the Inca later used for their own purposes before the Spanish took most of it apart, the terminology becomes looser because there are no real records.

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