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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Indigenous Languages and Populations in "Latin" America: Aymara/Aimara

About Aymara


"The Aymara language, one of the three most widely spoken (with Quechua and Guaraní) Indian language in South America, belongs to the Andean-Equatorial Language Family, more specifically to the Jaqi Language Group".  

"Historically, the Aymara referred to themselves as "Jaqi," meaning "human beings," or as "Colla." ..."The Spanish gave the name Aymara to the language spoken by this group, which was earlier called the "language of the qollas" (the language of the altiplano people). Aymara was the name of one of the pre-Inca cultures living on the altiplano, and after 1559 the word was attributed to one of the more widespread languages in the area but spoken by ethnic groups other than the Aymara"

"More recent estimates claim that the Aymara number between two and three million, of which around half a million live in Peru (approximately 2.3 percent of the Peruvian population). The Bolivian Aymara are about 30 percent of the population. For these reasons, the Aymara tend to be linked more closely to the history of Bolivia than to that of Peru"

Sources: Johnsson, Mick. "Aymara." Encyclopedia of World Cultures, vol. 7: South America, Macmillan Reference USA, 1996, pp. 65-68. Gale Virtual Reference Library,  Accessed 18 Apr. 2017.  

Escalante, Carmen. "Aymara (Language)." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, edited by Jay Kinsbruner and Erick D. Langer, 2nd ed., vol. 1, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2008, pp. 420-421. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 18 Apr. 2017.

Resources about Aymara Language and Populations


Additional dictionaries on Aymara language are available here. Additional dictionaries or vocabulary on specific topics are also available here. Note: Most dictionaries are Aymara-Spanish. 

Manuals and Textbooks

Additional resources including textbooks, vocabulary, and other material for language learning are available at the University Library.

Grammar - Linguistics

Additional material on Aymara language grammar and general resources are available at the library

Fables,Tales, Poetry

Additional resources on Aymara folklore, literature, poetry and other texts is available at the University Library.

Folk Songs

Additional resources on Aymara music and songs are available at the University Library here.

History, Ethnic Identity and Politics

A broad range of resources on Aymara ethnic identity, history, Government relations, and social life, are available at the Library


Additional resources about Aymara women are available at the Library catalog here.


Additional resources on Aymara medicine are available here.