Aymar Arux Akhamawa (Aymara Language is Like This) is the first trilingual (Aymara/Spanish/English) textbook available for the Aymara language. Aymara is an indigenous language spoken by approximately three million people across Bolivia, Peru, Chile, and parts of Argentina. This textbook presents students with an introduction to the sounds of Aymara, basic sentences, vocabulary, and grammar. The book appropriate for masters, doctoral, and advance undergraduate students is organized by cultural themes, in which students practice Aymara pronunciation, grammar, structure drills, narratives and useful expressions through dialogues and readings. These skills are matters of habit, acquired only through extensive practice. The transition to the basic reading and writing skills is a matter of the control of the correspondences between sound and letter for the particular Language and grammar exercises. Every one of these sections shoud be thoroughly studied, and all Aymara material mastered to the point of reasonable fluency. Ayamara Language Is Like This is based upon the Aymara spoken in La Paz, similar to the Aymara spoken in Punu, Perú. Students in some areas will find that the vocabulary requires alteration, and that certain suffixes must be spelled differently in order to conform to their particular district. The textbook includes a CD of audio-recorded dialogues and exercises found in the book.
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My name is Miguel Huanca, I was born in the Altiplano region of Bolivia, which is located close to Perú, surrounded by beautiful Lake Titicaca, the mountains, and the "Pacha mama" mother land, the most respected name by the Aymara people. I lived the majority of my childhood in Altiplano, los Andes, going to school, raising animals, working the lands, and traveling with my parents to the markets. In the nineteen-seventies I became a teacher of Aymara and Spanish, working at the university and in many other educational institutions, where I first began to develop original teaching materials. Later, after moving to the United States, I wrote the Aymara textbook, Aymar Arux Akhamawa, (Aymara Language Is Like This) the only English-Aymara textbook in existence while teaching at the University of Chicago. Aymar Arux Akhamawa is published with support from the University of Chicago Center for Latin American Studies, its faculty, and its generations of students who studied Aymara with me there. The development of these materials meet the pedagogical goals of the intensive Aymara program of enhancing students communicative competency by exposing them to authentic, unscripted conversation between native Aymara speakers, yielding important linguistic and cultural materials. For more than two decades, the University of Chicago has been the only institution in the United State to regularly offer Aymara instruction, supported with funding from consecutive U.S. Department of Education National Resource Center grants. I feel education has strongly influenced my orientation in life, both academic and personal. Through firsthand experience, I came to realize that material wealth does not come easily to all, and that poor people are not so because of any inherent laziness or lack of intelligence. The value of education, in fact, was strongly impressed upon me by my family. Finally, I am proud as an Aymara teacher and Aymara person who contributes to the recognition and inclusion of the Aymara Language in socio-cultural and political spheres of the world today. I love to teach Aymara!
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