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Latin American Indigenous Language Learning Program

"Every language, regardless of how many people are still speaking it, is important because it gives you a hint of how people have understood the world, how they make sense of their reality."

— Margarita Huayhua, Notre Dame Quechua instructor

A window into an indigenous world

The Latin American Indigenous Language Learning Program (LAILL) promotes the study of the language and culture of the indigenous peoples of Latin America. Open to both undergraduate and graduate students, the program consists of an innovative, interdisciplinary array of classes, fellowships, and opportunities for study abroad.  Through the LAILL program, Notre Dame students are able to do what few other American students can do on their home campuses: immerse themselves in the study of a Latin American indigenous language.

QuechuaAt the heart of the program is the conviction that contemporary Latin America cannot be understood without attention to the indigenous past and present of the region—and that language is a powerful tool for understanding the reality of a particular time and place.

While other languages may be added in the future, for the present LAILL offerings focus on Quechua, the most widespread indigenous language in Latin America.  The official language of the Incan Empire, it is spoken today by 10 million people across Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

Housed at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the LAILL Program is a joint effort of the Kellogg Institute, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and the College of Arts and Letters.

Program offerings

Quechua language and culture classes at Notre Dame

Each year, Quechua native-speakers from the Andes offer beginning and intermediate Quechua language classes on campus in addition to an intermediate-level Spanish class on Quechua culture.  For more information, contact the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

Quechua Summer Language Fellowships

Offered through the Kellogg Institute, summer fellowships give undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to pursue beginning, intermediate, or advanced study of Quechua at the Centro Tinku in Cusco, Peru. For more information, see Summer Fellowships.

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