tsachilas The official language in Ecuador is Spanish, but there are still a lot of other languages being spoken in Ecuador besides Spanish. Many small indigenous groups have their own traditional language which they are trying to preserve. Many of the traditional languages have been around for a long time. Many have survived colonialism. The Inca's as well as a lot of small indigenous groups in the jungle and coastal region still use their own language, eventhough the languages are threatened in their existence.

Quichua

Quichua is the traditional language spoken by many Ecuadoreans. The language has been around since the Inca-era, which was dominant during the 15th century and is still being spoken in the entire Andean region.

In Quechua they call their language runa simi (or runa shimi). 'Runa' means people and 'simi' means language or tongue. In later times this term was changed into Runasimi, as a general definition of Indian language, sometimes referring to non-quechua languages.

You can see Quichua phrases all around Ecuador, emphasizing the cultural background of a lot of Ecuadoreans. Since the eighties people are not receiving classes in quechua. The language is still being spoken in a lot of homes, but less people are using the language every day. A lot of Ecuadoreans that used to speak Quechua, now prefer to speak the official language in Ecuador, Spanish.

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Keyfacts about Ecuador

Location:

Western South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between Colombia and Peru

Capital: Quito

Population:
13,5 million

Time Zone:
GMT 5 hours

Ethnic groups:

Mestizo (mixed Ecuadorean and white) 65%, Indigenous 25%, Spanish and others 7%, black 3%

Religions:
Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%

Languages:
Spanish (official), indigenous languages (especially Quechua)

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