Quechua is an Amerind language with about 8 million people in
Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Argentina. Quechua was the
language of the Inca empire which was destroyed by the Spanish
in the 16th century.
The Inca used a system of knotted strings known as quipu
to send messages around their empire. The number and shape of
the knots and the colours of the strings helped to remind messengers
of the contents of the messages. Recent research suggests that
the quipu might have been used not just as mnemonic
devices but also to record the Quechua language phonetically.
Quechua first appeared in print in 1560 in the form of a dictionary
by Domingo de Santo Tomás. Other early texts include collections
of hymns by Cristóbal de Molina and a Quechua cathechism by
Pronunciation of Quechua (Cuzco/Bolivian dialect)
Sample text in Quechua
Tukuy kay pachaman paqarimujkuna libres nasekuntu tukuypunitaj
kikin obligacionesniycjllataj, jinakamalla honorniyojtaj atiyniyojtaj,
chantaqa razonwantaj concienciawantaj dotasqa kasqankurayku,
kawsaqe masipura jina, tukuy uj munakuyllapi kawsakunanku tian.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)