Kichwa Language and Culture II

Instructors: Tod Swanson, PhD; Janis Nuckolls, Ph.D. and Michael Severino Patterson M.A.

Contact Hours: 70

Credits: 3 semester credits

Course Description:     This course  builds on Kichwa 1 to increase speaking ability in Napo Kichwa.  The goal is to teach students to speak like a native speaker (colloquially) in select contexts they are likely to encounter in the course of their work. The envisioned audience are students preparing to work with Kichwa communities as anthropologists, or in other common areas of NGO work such as public health or the managing of sustainable forest reserves. The reality is that most students preparing for this type of work will not take more than one summer of intensive training in an indigenous language.  Hence Kichwa 2 functions as an intensive introduction to professional Kichwa.   

Upon completion of this course students will be able to talk with a community about future planning in key areas such as public health and environment.  This requires achieving basic competence in the use of the future tense, the ability to articulate causes and reasons, the use of conditional sentences and the ability to talk numbers budgets, contracts, buying, and selling. It also requires basic vocabulary and phrases in the content areas of health, diet, food preparation, plant growth, and environment.

Finally, communicating effectively with Amazonian communities requires understanding Amazonian cultural concepts of health and environment.  These concepts, embedded in Kichwa language, are often startlingly different from western concepts.  Failure to understand them leads to misunderstanding and conflict.   Hence the course uses Kichwa language as a tool for understanding Kichwa philosophy of health, environment, and economy.

Learning Objectives:  
•Be able to talk about planning with a Kichwa community.
•Be to buy and sell in Kichwa using Kichwa concepts of economy.
•Be able to carry out basic communication on health, diet and food safety.

•Be able to carry out basic communication in the areas of forestry, plant growth,  water management and environmental planning. 

•Demonstrate mastery of 1000 word high frequency vocabulary

Method of Instruction

This course starts from the assumption that language embodies a history of cultural communication rather than being an atemporal structure or code.     Each day, Power-Point lectures present grammar and vocabulary lessons in the cultural and performative context of the Napo.  Students then break into small groups with native speakers for structured language practice using prepared exercises.

Required Reading:

Tod Swanson.  Kikin Napu Shimi:  An Introduction to Napo Kichwa with Exercises for Language Learning and Glossary Appendix.  Unpublished spiral bound manuscript.  Revised: Spring 2011.


Participation: 25%   (Measured by completion of exercises, speaking regularly in class, perceived effort in frequent use of Kichwa outside of class contexts.

Two tests: 20% each

Final:  35%

SCHEDULE   Total contact hours:  70

Monday July 9  The language of Kichwa plant taxonomy

2:00-5:30   7:00-8:30    Organized Kichwa Language Practice

Tu July 10

2:00-5:30   Expressing causation and purposive action.

Work with complex nominal  phrases as objects of the verb.     

7:00-8:30    Organized Kichwa Language Practice

Wed July 11

2:00-5:30     Expressing habitual action     

7:00-8:30   Organized Kichwa Language Practice

Thursday,  July 12

2:00-5:30   Further practice with verbs in chain construction and dependent clauses

Semantics:   Kichwa language of the environment.

7:00-8:30   Organized Kichwa Language Practice 

Fri  July 13

2:00-5:30   Expressing Comparison  (the use of yali)

7:00-8:30   Organized Kichwa Language Practice

Mon July 16

2:00-5:30   7:00-8:30   Organized Kichwa Language Practice

Tu  July 17

2:00-5:30   . 

Practical linguistic goal:  Be able to ask questions and make statements about ownership.

Semantics:  Linguistic analysis of terms relating to cultural meaning of ownership and property.


7:00-8:30   Organized Kichwa Language Practice

Wed. July 18


The language of food preparation

7:00-8:30  Organized Kichwa Language Practice

Thur  July 19

2:00-5:30   The language of food preparation

7:00-8:30   Organized Kichwa Language Practice

Fri. July 20

2:00-5:30   The conditional tense

7:00-8:30   Organized Kichwa Language Practice

Mon July 23

2:00-5:30  The participle     

7:00-8:30  Organized Kichwa Language Practice

Tu  July 24

2:00-5:30  The sequencing of actions in Kichwa

Medical Kichwa     

7:00-8:30  Organized Kichwa Language Practice

Wed. July 25

2:00-5:30  Medical Kichwa      

7:00-8:30  Organized Quichua Language Practice

Thurs   July 26

2:00-5:30   Language of Buying and Selling:  Labor and Economy.  Quantitative comparison and numbers.

7:00-8:30   Organized Kichwa Language Practice

Fri.  July 27

2:00-5:30  Expressing causation and purpose in Kichwa.

7:00-8:30  Organized Kichwa Language Practice

2:00-5:30 Conclusion

Final Exam

7:00-8:30  Organized Kichwa Language Practice

Saturday July 28  Leave for Quito   

 Washa Timpu:  the Future Tense.  Kichwa concepts of the future, its knowability; its relation to the past and the present.