Saturday, April 16, 2011

"It's Inca, not Inka!"

When my husband first looked at the blog he announced, "You've spelled Inka wrong!", "It's Inca, not Inka!"

I knew that Inka was the more politically correct spelling but I didn't know much more than that about the spelling so I looked around a bit for some information. I found some info on wikipedia site with reference to Bruce Mannheim, The Language of the Inka since the European Invasion, University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas,1991.

In recent years, the spelling of place names in Peru and Bolivia has been revised among Quechua and Aymara speakers. A standardized alphabet for Quechua was adopted by the Peruvian government in 1975.
These changes are considered to be part of a general process of spelling standardization and reassertion of the right of these native languages to their own spelling system appropriate for their sound systems, which are very different from that of Spanish. This goes along with a growth of pride in the Andean heritage of these countries and a move to recover the prestige of their indigenous languages. These spelling changes are part of the official alphabets for Quechua and Aymara in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.

So, I'm stickin' with Inka and off I go this afternoon! More later after arrival to Lima!


  1. This is interesting. I have heard of the Incas all my life, but never before saw it spelled with a k, until this morning's article in Smithsonian. I had the same response as your husband! Now I see your reference to a book from 1991. It only took 15 years to percolate to my level. My favorite ancient culture is Sumeria, and we have lots of documentation from the inventors of writing, but I'll bet the modern Engish spellings will also change over time... Cuneiform being archaic and requiring interpretation.


  2. Thank you Lou for your post! There is so much to learn about all of these cultures and thanks to recent exploration, new discoveries are constantly being made. Thanks for reading!

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  4. Well, on the other side I have known always Inka and Inka Trail properly spelled with "K" until the moment I had to spell it in English, so ... :)) My personal belief is that we need to preserve the original names and not to change the spelling in English (just like the other languages, when it comes to names)

  5. I seems to me that the real motivation here is to define anything Spanish as "wrong," including the spelling of Inka. I don't mind, but call a spade a spade. There was no indigenous, correct spelling of Inca, since the Incans had no alphabetic language.