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Abstract

In this paper I analyze the recent translation of Don Quijote to Quechua, the most

widely spoken indigenous language in South America, through a sociolinguistic framework. Mu purpose was to use the theory of linguistic prestige —namely the distinction between overt and covert prestige— to discuss the implications and possible effects of this translation in Peru, a country with a high population of native Quechua speakers. As a basis for my study, I trace the history of Quechua in regards to its role as the lingua franca within Incan society and then Peruvian society under Spanish colonist rule. Finally, I discuss Quechua’s apparent lack of linguistic prestige in Peruvian society post-independence namely in regards to bilingual education policy and lack of literacy amongst monolingual Quechua-speaking populations in Peru. I use both my own independent research as well as a questionnaire I conducted with the translator of the Spanish text to Quechua to base my study.

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