A politician who harangued the peasants of the Andean Altiplano (High Plateau) saying: "Let's look ahead and forget the past..." would be running the risk of being misunderstood: even if his Aymara audience knew those Spanish words, he would simply not be able to get his message across. The misunderstanding is not merely a matter of semantics, but involves the system of logic underlying such a statement.

For anyone who thinks in Aymara, the past is in front and the future behind. Time moves relentlessly foward, regardless of what we human beings do. One cannot fail to see what has already happened, from the unknown at our backs to what can be seen in front of us. The past cannot be forgotten; it is in front of us engraved in ours memories. One can "smooth out" ("pampachaña") past harshness, but one cannot fail to see past events.

The word "qaruru" (tomorrow) is composed of two elements: "qaru" (right behind) and "uru" (day); to express is the speaker gestures up and towards the back; for "masuru" (yesterday), the gestures are down and towards the front, "qepa" means both "behind" and "later".

In both Bolivia and Peru there are two separate societies. Within these two groups, life's events run parallel. Despite centuries of interaction, very little integration has been achieved. In these two countries, problems hindering social communication can only be solved by understanding the antagonism between the systems of logic of Aymara, The millenary aboriginal language, and of modern Spanish, brought to this continent just four centuries ago.

By "two different systems of logic" we do not just mean that the inferential process often arises from premises which follow different reasoning patterns, as in the above example about concepts of time. The gap is even wider: the inferential reasoning process itself follows a radically different schema, conditioned by the logical syntax of the language.

For example; let's assume you hire someone and say, "If you work, I'll pay you". In Spanish, this conditional implication has only one precise meaning: "If you have worked and I heaven't paid you", the contract has been broken; otherwise, the conditions of the contract have been meet. As the reader will see further on, in Aymara such an implication can be rendered in several ways, all of which specify precisely the kind of breach, not only when it is certain that "you have either worked or not", but also in case of symmetic doubt, that is to say, when "perhaps you have worked and perhaps not".

In Aymara, there are several ways of making affirmative statements having varying degrees of veracity. This has had an impact on the popular variety spoken in Bolivia and Peru, especially in the La Paz Department and other regions surrounding Lake Titicaca. In this area, people make a distinction between: "he venir nomàs"/I will come, probably / and "he de venir pues"/ I will come, for sure / (popular translations of "jutatki" and "jutatpi"). The modal suffixes used in Aymara to convey likelihood ("ki") and certitude ("pi") have been translated by the Spanish words "nomàs"/ probably / and "pues"/ for sure/, and the way these words are used in Spanish has been altered (1). In the first sentence the speaker means: "it is probable that I will come" ( if I don't, I won't be breaking my word because I'm not commiting myself); however, in the second sentence the speaker means: "he will definitely come" (it is a certain commitment.)

In Spanish, as in most Indo-european languages, logical statements involve connecting words, which determine their logical function (functors). Except for the imprecise use of some modal expressions, these connecting words strictly follow the bivalence principle of Aristotelian, logic, also know as "the principle of excluded middle". (JL1). This principledemands that inferences be based on premisses which must be either true or false. That is to say, according to the fundamental principle of the Spanish system of logic, logical conclusions cannot be arrived at starting from uncertain or doubtful premises, because modal statements which can have a third truth-value are unacceptable in making inferences.

There are no such restrictions in Aymara. Functors in statements are not connecting words, but suffixes. In Aymara, logical functions are determined with a remarkable degree of precision by syntactic suffixes, which consistently generate a great many logical statements which do not always have equivalents in Spanish. Some statements are impossible to translate; most of these modal statements, the interpretation of which requires accepting the truth-value of symmetric doubt; something is both perhaps true and perhaps not true".

Incredible as it may seen to anyone who thinks in Spanish, a language based on a bivalent system of logic, any Aymara-thinking person may arrive at precise conclusions from uncertain, doubtful, or barely plausible premises. Although this may seem magical, it will be mathe matically proven in this book that it is possible, because of the strict rules governing the suffixes used to generate trivalent modal expressions in Aymara.

The Aymara language involves a non-Aristotelian system of logic. This fact causes a number of problems of deep misunderstanding between "Aymara-tinking" and "Spanish-thinking" people, even if the same words are used by members of these two language groups. Thus, translations is extremely difficult, especially from Aymara into Spanish, even when a good dictionary is used.

Apart from being a fascinating subject for scientific research, the study of these logical and linguistic problems may help solve the communications problems of approximately two million Aymara in the Altiplano regions of Bolivia and Peru, as well as those of some Aymara-speaking people in northern Chile, and in a linguistic island in Ecuador (see Appendices A, B and C).

Before presenting the preliminary results of the author's research, some brief information on the Qoya or Aymara culture will be summarizes in the following paragraphs. The background of the source materials studied during this research will also be explainded.

Some studies of Andean pre-Incan cultures indicate that the decade 1430-40 was a turning point in the history of the Qoya "nation" or "kingdom" (EIG 1, EIG 2-47). At that time, a century before the Spanish conquerors arrived in the Altiplano, the Qoya chiefs of Cuzco managed to move the kingdom's power center from the Altiplano to the valleys around Cuzco, after fierce internal fighting; this was the beginning of the Incan Empire. The rulling class of the new empire continued to use their mother tongue, today called Aymara (CMC), amongst themselves, and curiously, in secret (EWMR-3; AD). However, their own people and the people in conquered colonies were forced to speak Quechua. Although Quechua is also an agglutinative language and incorporates a large number of Aymara words, both languages are very different from one another. Communication between members of these linguistic group is impossible except for bilingual individuals, despite the fact that they oneand the same people, constitute only one race (the same ethnologic variants exist within each linguistic group (EIG-554; AP2), and have the same cultural ancestry. Their millenary history probably originated in "taypi qala", an Aymara name meaning "the center stone" (now know as "Tiahuanaco"); the ruins of this site are located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, 70 kms from La Paz.

Based on acounts recorded by chroniclers during the first years following the conquest of Peru, today we know that the Incas tried to force those populations subject to their imperial might to adopt Quechua, and to that end spared no cruelty. This marked the beginning of very serious communication problems in the Altiplano. Since that time, 550 years ago, the misunderstanding has become a montruous social problem. It should be pointed out that Aymara-speaking people have been adamantly preserving their mother tongue for the past five and a half centuries.

All efforts to wipe out the Aymara language during one century of inoculate, three centuries of resistance to Spanish colonization, and almost two centuries of Republic, have been unsuccessful. even the "Hispanicization" programs undertaken in Bolivia and Peru as a means to attaining "national unity" have been infective. The number of Aymara-speaking people has only decreased noticeably in the region along the pacific coast which was usurped from Bolivia and Peru by Chile in 1879.

One wonders how the Aymara language could possibly have survived for centuries without literature or dectinaries, and despite the fact that Aymara-speaking people have been oppessed since the fall of the "jatun qoya" in 1435.

A few decades after the fall of the Roman Empire, Latin immediately ceased being a living language spoken by the people, even though it had a written grammar and literature. At present, particularity since the Agrarian Reform Act was passed in Bolivia, use of the Aymara language is more widespread than ever. Just a decade ago, there were no radio broadcasts in any af the aboriginal languages. Now all radio stations, especially in the La Paz Department, start broadcasting in Aymara at four o'clock in the morning, when peasants egin their daily chores. Then, at seven-thirty AM, the radio stations begin broadcasting programs in Spanish for the cities. Some of them continue broadcasting bilingual programs throughout the remainder of the day.

If would be interesting to analyze the factors which have contributed to the preservation of this language for five centuries under such adverse conditions. Certainly, it's remarkable syntactic structure is one factor which makes this language a highly effective means of communication, easy to pass on from one generation to the next, while preserving its syntax from influence by other languages.

The revival of an awarness of a Qoya nation, in which those elements of identity deeply rooted in the cultural ancestry of the Aymara people are stressed, has been accompanied by noticeable progress in scientific studies of the Aymara language and logic. The Aymara people, both in Bolivia and Peru, are awakening from a humiliating nightmare which has lasted for centuries. In those countries, record stories are now filled with Indian music, and in the not too distant future, the bookstores will be filled with books printed in Aymara. When this happens, the Roman Jesuit Ludovico Bertonio (1555-1628) will be hailed as one of the distinguished figures in Aymara history. Every student of the Aymara language agrees on the greatness of this scholar, whose scientific work as a linguist has not yet been fully appeciated. His "Grammar", published in 1603, and his "vocabulary", published in 1610, have been the most important sources used in the research on the Aymara system of logic conducted by this author (LB0, LB1, LB2).

Bertonio's work was the first complete analysis of the agglutintive structure of Aymara. His most important contribution is his description of the key role played by certain syllables in this langage. He called these syllables "particles", and showe how they are used, not only to form new words, but also to determine the syntactical structure of sentences.

Bertonio was so fascinated by these particles, that he believed Aymara to be an artificial language. For instance, in his Grammar it is atated that:

(LB0-261): "One of the things shows the artifice of this language and the diligence of its inventors, is the utilization of many particles, which by themselves are meaningless, but, when added to nouns ans verbs, expand their meaning or add new ones".

(LB0-312): "After studying simple particles, it would only be normal to analyze compound ones, because the meaning they have in isolation differs from the meaning they have when added to the same verb; however, this would be such an arduous task that it would require many reams of paper. Such a complex machinery of particles and different combinations might discourage the potential student of this language. So, I will leave this to usage, the master of all things. Here I will deal only with some compound particles which, in my view, and more necessary than others". Bertonio wrote this after having devoted a whole chapter to a very through study of 54 simple particles (infixes and verbal suffixes). Unforunately, he was unable, because of failing health, to procees with the same througness in his chapter on compound particles.

Bertonio was fully aware of the importance of the position ans order of particles, which is now referred to as the non-commutativity of particles, especially those playing the role of logical operators. This can be seen in the following paragraph:

(LB0-316) "The relative positions of particles when added to a verb, is as important as knowing which particles can be combined with which, because if some symbol particles are not arranged in their correct order, the verb's meaning is as confusing as if the wrong particles were used. Anyone who wants to learn the language well, and know in which order the particles must be attached to the verb should be guided by usage and common sense".

Among other things, those who say that Aymara has no future argue that this language cannot convey abstract concepts. Ludovico Bertonio held just the opposite view. After scussing some rules for forming so-called abstract nouns he asserts overwhelmingly: "...and, thus, it is easier to find abstract nouns in this language, and there are more of them than in Latin or Spanish (LB0-259).

Bertonio should be credited with correctly identifying the different phonemes of the Aymara language, even if the symbols he used would now be considered impractical, and "Hispanicizing". However, with the exception of a few errors in his dictionary, he recorded with great precision the various modes of articulation of consonants: normal, aspirate, and explosive or glotal. His efforts make it possible to verify that the pronunciation of Aymara has remained constant fot at least the last four centuries.

For the benefit of those readers who may wish to read other publications about this language, there is a table in Appendix D which lists all the symbols used by various authors to represent the phonemes of Aymara. This table also shows the symbols used by the author in this work.

Bertonio's "Aymara Vocabulary" is really complete two-part dictionary: the first part, 474 pages long, in Spanish-Aymara; the second, 399 pages long, is Aymara-Spanish. The dictionary records approximately 18 000 words; 16 000 of these can be considered nuclei, from which some 4000 000 different words could be generated using the correct suffixes, applying the rules of generation explained in both the grammar and the dictionary. In some parts of the dictionary examples are given of how to generate variants showing how, from a single word, more than 50 new words can be formed.

Obviously, the words in Bertonio's dictionary are not sufficient to meet today's needs for social communication. For example, the "Special English Word Book" published by the "Voice of America" shows that news releases can be broadcast using just 1500 different well-chosen words, without affecting the quality of the content. Only 40% of the words listed in the "Special English Word Book" can be found in Bertonio's dictionary. That is to say, Aymara lacks an adequate complete vocabulary to meet today's need for mass communication (2). This explains why several radio programs in Aymara are interspersed with many Spanish words, even if at times the neologisms introduced are unnecessary, because the corresponding words are recorded in Bertonio's vocabulary. Sometimes, words which violate the rules of composition are forcibly introduced in this language. However, new and compatible terms which would bridge the existing conceptual gaps could be created by applying Bertonio's rules. For this reason, Ludovico Bertonio's books will continue to be the best reference work to revitalize the Aymara language so that it can meet the needs of mass communication in the modern word. Bertonio's 35 years of dedication in gathering and recording words, analyzing grammatical structures and interpreting the language is the most valuable source of information on the Aymara language, our cultural heritage and that of the word as a whole.

Bertonio's works were followed by the "Art of the Aymara Language", published by another Jesuit priest, Father Diego de Torres Rubio in 1616 (DTR). His is a very modest book when compared with Bertonio's, and although it contains only a short grammar and a vocabulary of aproximately 1600 words, it is an interesting book which can be used to clarify, verify, and in some cases, complement Bertonio's monumental work.

These 17th century works had a scientific and truly empirical approach. They predate, by a century, Leibnitz's famous dissertation on the origins of language published in 1710. In this book, which marks the beginning of scientific linguistics, the German philosopher and mathematician proposed that linguistics be based upon empirical data and comparative analyses.

These publications from the first decade of colonial rule are a testimony to the efforts of the Jesuit missionaries, who used the discipline of study to understand and reach the population of conquered territories. This attitude was opposed by the Spanish monarchs, who were more interested in exploiting Indians than in understanding their culture. A climax was reached in 1740 when the pope decided to abolish the Company of Jesus. A period further tragic humiliation had begun for the Qoyas. Research and studies on the Aymara language ceased and were forgotten.

During the colonial period, the main economic activity in the Altiplano region, known at that time as Virreinato of Peru, was mineral extraction, especially gold and silver. The Altiplano Aymaras have always been unsubmissive and were better fighters than the predominantly Quechua-speaking population of the valley. Because of this, the Spanish colonizers forced people to migrate and brought Quechua-speaking people to work as slaves in the Altiplano mines. This modified the geographical and linguistic characteristics of the region. Aymara-speaking people survided only in the Altiplano zone, mainly around Lake Titicaca, where they engaged almost exclusively in agriculture, fishing, and handicrafts, although even in these endeavours they were exploited, and forced to contribute most of their production. Colonial authorities provoked rage and indignation among the Aymara population by abuse and arbitrariness.

In 1781 the Qoyas who lived in the Altiplano rebelled and laid siege to La Paz for ten months; as a result, Spanish rule almost came to an end. The leader of that Indian movement was the legendary Julián Apaza, also known as "Tupaj Katari" ("standing serpent") who was butchered, together with his wife and fellow fighter, Bartolina Sisa. At present, the "Tupaj Katarism" movement is gaining momentum in Bolivian politics. In 1979 this movement elected parliamentary represeniatives to the Bolivian Congress, who sometimes address the House in Aymara. In December 1979 the Bolivian government took drastic economic measures which affected mainly the peasant population. They responded by simultaneously blockading all the roads in the country, preventing food supplies from reaching urban cent. Both the government and transporters were forced to negotiate directly with the leaders of the "Tupaj Katarism" movement.

The Republic of Bolivia was founded in 1825, shortly after the creation of the Republic of Peru. These two countries were separated by an imaginary border; even the Sacred Lake (Lake Titicaca) was divided in half. Although this border hinders free traffic between both countries, it is a nuisance mainly for tourists, since the Aymara population on both sides of the border do not think of themselves as having two different nationalities As they are not dependent upon motorized transportation, they can roam freely within their territory, which has so often been administrated by foreign powers and long-vanished conquerors, who have failed to wipe out the millenary Qoya nation, as evidenced by the survival of their language.

Studies about Aymara were revived in the early years of the Republic. The first researcher in Republican times was Emeterio Villamil de Rada, born in Sorata, a city located at the foot of the beautiful "Illampu" peak in the Royal Mountain Range, 90 kms south of La Paz. This author did not have tha sympathy of the Bolivian authorities and could not obtain support for his linguistic research. He committed suicide in Rio de Janeiro and most of his manuscripts were lost. His only essay to be published was "The Language of Adam" (EVR).

Villamil de Rada was probably motivated by the pioneer work of the German linguist Schlegel who, in 1808, published his "Uber die Sprache und Weisheit der Inder" ("On the Language and Wisdom of Hindus"), a book which revolutionized linguistic theories. "The Language of Adam" was the first attempt to analyze possible connections between word roots in Aymara and in several other languages of the world, including Sanskrit. Though its prerdses are to say the least questionable its importance lies in the fact that for the first time Aymara was studied not only for its relevance to social communication, but also for its scientific importance.

Villamil de Rada also held the view that the Aymara language must have been formed intentionally, according to a deliberate plan. His views are even more radical than Bertonio's as can clearly be seen in this quote from "The Language of Adam" (EVR-322);

"First, this language was coordinated and organized previous to its formation by a preconceived idea, which made it integrally functional and rational."

"Second, abstract ideas about quantity and quality; frequency and multiplicity; restriction and expansion; depth and height; time and space; present and future;determined the forms and value of verbs as well as verb categories and meaning"

"Third, the structure of this language has remained unchanged because it is based on necessary and immutable ideas."

The loss of Villamil de Rada's invaluable manuscripts delayed the beginning of Aymara research for a century.

Another basic work which appeared in the last century was the "Aymara-Sprache" written by the German Ernst Wilhelm Míddendorf (1830-1909). This book, published in 1891 (EWM-5), is extremely important for students of Aymara. It is the first grammar in which a large number of sentences used in everyday life are recorded, as opposed to the examples given by Bertonio,which were almost always aimed at catechizing the Indian.

With typical German thoroughness, Middendorf classified the Aymara suffixes, comparing them with the prefixes in German, a language which also has agglutinative characteristics. His chapter on syntax is filled with numerous extremely valuable examples, which have been of great assistance in my analysis of the logic of Aymara statements.

In his "Aymara Sprache", the author records all suffixes studied by Bertonio and gives many examples taken from the Aymara spoken in La Paz a century ago. The suffix "tayna", not recorded by Bertonio, is mentioned by Middendorf more than once. This suffix corresponds to the modal notion of surprise, which conveys that the subject has just become aware of what has been said. This suffix has had an impact on the variety of Spanish spoken in La Paz, and has given rise to a modified form of Pluperfect. For example:

lurarapitayna (se lo habiá hecho)
/I had done it for him /

The introductory chapter of the "Aymara-Sprache" analyzes not only linguistic phenomena, but also the origin of the Qoya culture. Middendorf, who travelled all across the Andes, made a very detailed toponymical study, and demonstrated that the Qoya nation had stretched from the north of Bogota at "Kunturi marca" ("town of the condors") to 30o Latitude South at "Chilli Uraque" ("land's end).

The first book printed in Aymara was published by Father Beltrán, a priest born in Oruro, a mining city in the High Plateau, 200 km south of La Paz. Beltrán solved the technical problem of developing an orthography adequate to represent the speech sounds of Aymara and Quechua, and which met the following standards:

a) all Aymara phonemes must be fully represented, without confusion;

b) each phoneme must be represented by a single letter;

c) handwritten form must be easy to read and write, and the letters should be easy to print.

Beltran's "Opuscules for the Civilization of the Indians", published in 1889. was the first publication to break away from a Hispanicizing type of orthography, Unfortunately, his materials were restricted to purely religious themes and Aymara-speaking people never showed much interest in his work. Several Aymara "grammars" and "vocabularies" were published at the beginning of`the 20th Century. These books vary in importance, but basically nothing new or original has been adee to what was already known (JAG and others).

The Aymara language was also studied by the Peruvian Juan Durand (a member of the Territorial Demarcation Commission of the Peruvian Senate, and a member of the Geographical Society of Lima), who published his interesting roonograph , "Peruvian- Bolivian Etymologies" in La Paz in 1921. Durand closely shared Middendorf's views, but he also made his own contributions; this author concluded that Aymara is the original language of the Andean cultures.

By an unfortunate coincidence, the "Peruvian-Bolivian Etymologies", like the "Language of Adam", are also a very small part of a whole collection of manuscripts lost in Lima in 1910 when the printing house in which Durand's complete works were being published was vandalized and destroyed. Durand was bitterly persecuted, and eventually deported to Bolivia.

The reasons for studying the Aymara language have ranged from the needs of evangelization to purely scientific interest; One motive has been rather curious: to study the language in order to wipe it out.

In the foreword to his "A Short Grammar of Aymara" (La Paz, 1907), Father Fernando de M. Sanjinés (FMS) openly confesses that "it is not an easy task to permanently wipe out the primitive language of a nation. It requires very hard work and utmost constancy. It also involves talking to the Indians; teaching them our language is impossible without first study theirs".

Some readers will perhaps be amused by Sanjines' views; however, they should not forget that even today, in Bolivia, Chile, and Peru there are many people who still share his views and who are truly convinced that the eradication of Aymara is both necessary and inevitable. These people forget that these views were first expounded 550 years ago.

Interest in the study of this language was revived after the National Revolution of April 9, 1952 introduced Agrarian Reform in Bolivia and land was distributed to Aymara-speaking people. Felix Equino Zavalla, at that time National Director of Agrarian Reform, decided to reprint Ludovico Bertonio's dictionary. This new edition was printed in several fascicles by Litografia Don Bosco in La Paz in March 1956, and distribute to the judges in charge of Agrarian Reform (LBl, LB2).

Since then, numerous Aymara grammars and vocabularies have been printed, both in Spanish and in English. Some are due to the authors' individual initiatives, and others, the result of team work sponsored by international organizations.

Some scientific books in the fields ot historical and comparative linguistics suggest that strong links exist between the Andean languages, particularly Aymara and Quechua, and some Asiatic languages. For instance, Bertil Malmberg (BM) in his book "New Trends in Linguistics" states that "in recent years the French linguist and religions historian, Georges Dumezil, has caused a sensation by pointing out similarities between Turkish languages and Quechua, the language of the Incas, which is still spoken in the Andes by many Indians and mestizos. These similarities are so regular that they might be due to historical contacts".

Also, Mario Montano Aragon, a Bolivian researcher, recently published an interesting monograph: "Semitic Roots in Aymara and Quechua religion" (MMA). In this book, the author analyzes a great many words, both Quechua and Aymara, comparing them with Semitic expressions, especially Hebrew. K. Bauda has also published an interesting article, "Aymara and Tschimu" (KB2) in which he gives concrete evidence that "it is almost certain that Aymara belongs to, or is an essential component of, the Caucasian family of languages."

Two books which have been particularly useful in our research on Aymara logic are the grammars published by Juan Enrique Ebbing (JEE) and Erasmo Tarifa Ascarrunz (ETA). Both books feature innumerable examples of statements in Aymara, translated as faithfully as possible into the popular variety o Spanish spoken in La Paz.

Two American universities have conducted intense linguistic research on Aymara. The Department of Anthropology of the University of Florida carried out "The Aymara Language Materials Project", using a team of specialists led by M.J. Hardroan de Bautista. The first results of this investigation were published in a sizeable volume: "Outline of Aymara Phonological and Grammatical Structure" (MJHB) in which the syntactic suffixes of Aymara are analyzed using grammatical categories specifically developed for this language. Juan de Dios Yapita and Juana Vasquez of Bolivia collaborated in this research.

The University of Washington developed a course for English-speaking students (PW), which was subsequently much used by the Peace Corps volunteers working in the Bolivian Altiplano. In the foreword to that course, some paragraphs from a US Army Manual are quoted, to the effect that the revival of the Aymara language is a phenomenon of reaffirmed nationalism resulting from the 1952 revolution.

The English translations provided in these courses leave much to be desired, but they do represent a very large corpus of material in Aymara, obtained using tape recorders, and which has been very useful in my analysis of the logic of modal and connective statements:

A comparison of the material recorded in ancient grammars with that recorded in modern ones, shows that Aymara does not fit the theory of Schleicher, published in 1863, according to which languages, too, exhibit periods of development, maturity, and decline, and are subject to inevitable phonetic changes (BM). Both the syntax and the phonetics of Aymara have remained remarkably constant for centuries. However, because of the marginal conditions in which Aymara-speaking people live, their vocabulary has deteriorated, and is contaminated with unnecessary neologisms. However, it is expected that this deterioration could be remedied in a short time by promoting the use of proper Aymara words in different publications. This revitalization could be achieved by means of automatic computerized translation from Spanish into Aymara; the strictly algorithmic characteristics of Aymara syntax make this a feasible goal.

Note: Initials between parenthesis identify the authors and their publications listed at the end of this monograph. They can be used to gain access to our computerized data bank of Qoya culture.

(1) Translator's Note: The English equivalents between brackets take into account the way Spanish was deformed in Bolivia. The standard meaning of "pues" (Latin post) is "since because so then"; "nomás" means "only".

(2) Translator's Note: IGR says "social communication"

Chapter index