The post by Juan Arellano was originally published on the blog Globalizado.
Quechua, the language of the Inca Empire, has had nearly 500 years of contact with Spanish, so it makes sense that each language has influenced the other. The most obvious way, besides the distinctly Quechua flavor that permeates the speech of those bilingual in both languages, are loan words. Everyday Quechua includes many words of Spanish origin, and visa versa, although sometimes that is not as well known.
A large amount of words for animals and agricultural products in Peru were incorporated with slight modifications into Spanish from Quechua, such as llama, guanaco, vicuna (just to name South American camelid species), potato (papa), quinoa, avocado (palta) and lucuma. But there are many more words that you might not realize came from Quechua.
The following is an informal and non-exhaustive list.
1. Cancha (soccer field)
— SECTOR BOSTERO (@SectorBostero) March 12, 2015
[Player] Arruabarrena on @SoloBocaRadio: “A Boca fan must see himself reflected on the field by his team.”
This word, which comes from the Quechua kancha, is used throughout Spanish-speaking America to describe the site where a game, especially a soccer game, is held. But it has also other, more local meanings. For example, toasted corn is called also cancha or canchita…yum.
— Salt Lake Comic Con (@slcomiccon) March 12, 2015
This word is used almost globally, but the Real Academia Española (Royal Spanish Academy, the Madrid-based institution which publishes guidelines for the Spanish language) does not recognize it as Quechua.
The word's origin is uncertain; however, the Quechua word punchu has the same meaning, so unless there is an opinion to the contrary, we have decided to include it on this list. Poncho can also have a different meaning in some South American countries, for example, in this usual usual phrase: No dejarse pisar el poncho (Don't let yourself step on the poncho), which means that you shouldn't let yourself be humiliated or intimidated.
3. Cura (priest)
— Clarín.com (@clarincom) March 6, 2015
The doomsday priest give a mass in Antártida.
Cura is a colloquial word for a priest. It's used in almost all Spanish-speaking South America, and its origin is the Quechua word kuraq or kurakas, used to refer to the head of a community in the Inca Empire. The phrase hijo de cura (son of a cura), which at one time was considered an insult referring to a person's illegitimate birth, is used in some places as a sarcastic comment to point out that someone is being overlooked.
4. Gaucho (Argentinian cowboy)
— Gaucho Richmond (@GauchoRichmond) March 11, 2015
The word gaucho, which refers to cowboys from the Pampas region in the north of Argentina, is used worldwide to refer to Argentinians in general. Its origin may be related to the Quechua word wakcha, which means orphan, and it has gave rise to the Peruvian word huacho, that means alone.
5. Morocho (dark-skinned person)
— El paraíso felino (@elparaisofelino) March 10, 2015
It's difficult to understand why no one asks for this morocho. Would you like to meet him?
Morocho comes from the Quechua word muruch'u, which is a variety of hard corn. Its most common meaning in Spanish is a dark-skinned person. In some countries, it is used for people with fair skin but black hair. By extension, it also applies to animals with black skin. In Ecuador, morocho is a delicious thick drink.
6. Chacra (ranch)
Intendencia y Fac Veterinaria avanzando en proyecto de Hospital Veterinario en chacra d Brío Uruguay pic.twitter.com/KE0AXu9quy
— enzo squillace (@SquillaceEnzo) March 11, 2015
Veterinary school and management make progress on the Veterinary Hospital project at a chacra in Brío, Uruguay
In several South American countries, the word chacra is used instead of ranch, meaning a house surrounded by cultivated fields in a rural area. It comes from the Quechua word chajra or chakra, meaning a small partition of arable land. In Peruvian slang, chacra means that something is badly done.
7. Chullo (hat with earflaps)
— beyondBeanieUSRep (@beyondBeanieUS) March 11, 2015
Some artists like to wear this Peruvian fashion garment, whose name comes from Quechua, as an exotic touch. The term comes from ch'ullu, meaning a cap with earflaps, traditionally made of alpaca wool.
8. Carpa (tent)
— Cercle Podem Valls (@podemvalls) March 2, 2015
Information carpa at Vallmoll. Good atmosphere and good company
In South America and in Spain, including in Catalan, which is spoken in Catalonia (the above tweet is in Catalan), a carpa is a tent; even a big circus tent is called a carpa. The word karpa is its Quechua origin. Some South American countries have a more colloquial use of this word: Estar carpa (to be like a circus tent), a phrase with a very adult meaning.
9. Pucho (cigarette butt)
— Mariano Bruzzone (@marianobruzzone) March 1, 2015
That is the way to study… pucho and Coca-Cola
This word, which comes from the Quechua word puchu, is generally used to describe cigarette butts or half-smoked cigars, though it is also used in some countries to describe a whole cigarette. In others countries, when it is used as part of the phrase sobre el pucho, it means immediately or at once.
Bat guano carries the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum which can infect the brain making you psychotic. pic.twitter.com/6kgL2yHQG5
— Howard Farran DDS (@HowardFarran) March 13, 2015
Guano comes from the Quechua word wanu, and was originally used to name the seabird droppings used as fertilizer. By extension, it is also used to describe other animal droppings. Its use is more widespread than you might think.
Go Quechua go!
PS: No linguist was mistreated while writing this post.
Others posts in English about Quechua: