[xmca] Andean terminology for "individual"`

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at yahoo.com>
Date: Tue Nov 27 2007 - 13:10:11 PST

  I talked with some Quechua and Aymara speaking colleagues and friends and this is what they came up with.
  One quechua speaker, a trilingual who also speaks good, although heavily accented, english and has a good idea of the way "individual" is used in English said that it would best be translate as: "reqsisqa qan" which is a phrase best translated as "one who is recognized", from the quechua verb reqsiy (to recognize) + sqa (a nominalizer) and the existential verb "kay" in the third person.
  If you wanted to tell someone to "be yourself" which elicits an individual's self recognition, you would say: "kiki kay" which literally means" be the same". (kiki being the adjective for "same")
  A quechua and aymara speaking colleague agreed that this is how to say "be yourself" and further said that it is a common usage. I find this interesting since sameness is a form of identity, e.g., "they're the same" and "they're identical" and we're back to the root of individual.
  In Aymara, the word for person (runa in quechua_) is "jaqi" . He translated the Spanish "individuo" as "jaqiwa", which is "jaqi" plus the suffix "wa" which indicates "humanness" so its like saying "human person", b ut of course, one would have to look at the actual usage.
  To indicate someone who is a stand-out individual, a quality not present in all "jaqi" but more similar to the quechuqa "reqsisqa kan" one says "jaqipuniwa" which adds the emphatic suffix "puni" to the construction "jaqiwa". In these agglutinative languages the order of the suffixes (and there can be lots of them in a single 'word') is strictly ordered.
  One has to note that both "runa" and "jaqi" mean "person" and don't really carry the same connotations as "indiviual" or "individuo" which is related to the adjective "kiki".
  My aymara-quechua speaking colleage said he had never thought about this before but totally was intrigued and is probably still pondering the matter so maybe I'll be able to add something later.

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Received on Tue Nov 27 13:12 PST 2007

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