Aymara, a member of the Jaqi family of languages (Jaqaru, Kawki,
Aymara), is a language of the high Andean plain between the highest peaks of the Andes mountains and of the shores of the world's highest navigable lake. Aymara is the first language of approximately one-third of the population ofBoli via, the dominant language of the southern area of Perú throughout Puno and down towards the coast in
Moquegua, Tacna, with branches into Arequipa, and is the indigenous language of northern Chile.
Aymara is a suffixing language with complex morphophonemics. The bulk of the grammatical resources are found within the morphology. Syntax is morphologically marked; verbal person suffixes mark simultaneously object/subject; data source is marked at all levels of grammar.
Within the nominal system inclusive/exclusive and humanness are marked.
The Aymara sentence is defined by the use of sentence suffixes. These sentence suffixes are independent of root classes and may occur on all classes. Every sentence must be marked by one or more sentence suffix, which serves to define the sentence type. Aymara has 26 consonant phonemes and three vowel phonemes. Fifteen of the consonants are voiceless stops which occur in five contrasting positions of articulation; and in three manners. Vowel dropping is significant, complex and pervasive, marking case and phrase structure as well as style.
MJ Hardman is Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics at the
University of Florida. She began the study of Aymara in the sixties and has since been continually involved with one or another of the
Jaqi languages for which she has written grammars, teaching materials and cultural studies. She founded INEL (Instituto Nacional de
Estudios Linguísticos) in Bolivia and the Aymara Language Materials
Program at the University of Florida. Her current research also involves language and gender and the patterning of worldview in language.