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|This language has its own Wikipedia project. See the Quechua edition.|
Quechua, sometimes written Quichua or Ketchua, is a language spoken by 8 million people in the South American nations of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and Colombia. It was also the language of the ancient Inca Empire. It's part of the Quechuan languages family.
It is the most-spoken Native American language in South America. It is also the most widely-spoken indigenous language. A quarter of people in Peru speak Quechua. People who speak Quechua as their first language are called Quechua Indians by Spanish-speakers. However, the Quechua refer to themselves as Runa ("the people") and call their language Runa Simi.
Quechua has only three vowel sounds: a, i, and u.
Quechua has given names to many places in Peru, including the Ancash Region. Anqash is the Quechua word for blue, and it is thought that the name refers to the region's blue skies.