Ecuador - Languages



The official language of Ecuador is Spanish, spoken by about 93% of the population. The Spanish of the coastal areas is similar to that of the other lowland areas of Latin America, maintaining something of the Andalusian characteristics, especially the dropping or slurring of the consonants represented by s and d. In the isolated highlands, a more precise Castilian pronunciation is found, but many words and even some of the singsong intonations of Quechua, the Amerindian language, have crept into the Spanish.

Nearly 7% of the total population speak only Quichua, a dialect of the Quechua language, while another 6% speak it in addition to Spanish. Quechua was imposed on the Amerindians of Ecuador by the conquering Incas in the 15th century, supplanting a number of unrelated languages. Remnants of these forgotten languages are retained in many modern place names. There has been little detailed study of the languages of the jungle tribes of the Oriente.

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