Language revitalisation in the Andes: Can the schools reverse language shift?

Nancy H. Hornberger, Kendall A. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Quechua, often known as the language of the Incas, remains today a vital language with over 10 million speakers in several Andean republics. Nevertheless, census records and sociolinguistic studies document a continuous cross-generational shift from Quechua monolingualism to Spanish monolingualism in the latter half of the twentieth century, at both individual and community levels. An increasing awareness of the potential threat to the language has led to a variety of new initiatives for Quechua revitalisation in the 1990s, initiatives which go beyond earlier experimental bilingual education projects designed primarily to provide mother tongue literacy instruction to indigenous children (in transitional or maintenance programs) to larger or more rooted efforts to extend indigenous language and literacy instruction to new speakers as well. Drawing on documents, interviews, and on-site participant observation, this paper will review and comment on two recent such initiatives: Bolivia's 1994 national educational reform incorporating the provision of bilingual intercultural education on a national scale; and a community-based effort to incorporate Quichua as a second language instruction in a school of the Ecuadorian highlands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-441
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996


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