A Note from the Authors —
A Professor & His Students
The idea of writing this dictionary emerged in the classrooms of New York University where Peruvian Professor and native Cusqueñan Quechua speaker Odi Gonzales teaches. Professor Gonzales has devoted his life to the study of Andean language and thought as a researcher, poet and translator. Graduate students Christine Mladic Janney and Emily F. Thompson completed New York University’s Quechua program under the direction of Professor Gonzales, during which time they traveled to Cusco for Quechua language immersion coursework. Both have spent extended time living and working throughout the Andean region, and as we complete this project, Christine is returning from fieldwork in Peru for her doctoral dissertation research in Anthropology.
During the teaching/learning process of the Quechua language, we realized that we lacked a dictionary containing the most commonly used words, and felt inspired to do something about it. But also, this dictionary is a response to the requests of Quechua-speaking communities in the United States and Peru, for whom Quechua language materials are just as scarce. For these reasons we came together to work on this project that has taken more than six years to complete as a team; in the case of Professor Gonzales, it is his life’s work. We present this dictionary as a product driven by our own passion and ideas, despite its shortcomings. We have tried to elaborate a dictionary from the perspective of a native speaker and his students, based on the Quechua courses and the philological investigations and translations made and published by the professor. We use Cusqueñan Quechua because Professor Gonzales is a native speaker of this variety, and it is what his students learn, speak and write.
Finally, dear reader, we offer you this dictionary with both enthusiasm and humility, and with our apologies for any errors that escaped our notice, or for omissions due to our own limitations. As we do in our classroom, let us remove the barrier between teacher and student and practice the Andean concept of reciprocity in which no one knows everything and no one knows nothing: everything is shared. In Quechua, the verbs to teach and to learn are the same: yachay. The forms are differentiated because to learn is always conjugated in the progressive; learning is a process that never ends: we are all always learning.
New York, March 2018.
Odi Gonzales, Christine Mladic Janney, Emily Fjaellen Thompson