Hieronder een fragment van zendelingen uit de jaren 40 van de vorige eeuw over hun Quechua studies.
For two years a bug-a-boo had been lurking around the corners of our minds, at any moment ready to show his countenance. This face oddly seemed to be shaped like a giant Q, and for ears, nose and mouth he wore queer combinations of letters sus as “ka”, “pu”, “mu”, “taj”, and “lla”. We had an unshakable conviction that some inescapable day he would come out into the open and we would have to grapple with our own private enemy that haunted us day and night.
Mission Headquarters opportunely provided us
with a most valuable weapon, Mr. Leslie Shedd’s Quechua Grammar, assuring us
that it would help us to come out the victors in our encounters with Señor
Quechua. The battle so far had consisted only of minor skirmishes, the immediate
object being to learn such necessary words as those used in daily contact with
The lady missionary who had helped us with Spanish had arrived back on the field from her furlough, and she consented to come out to Tarata for a few months to play the role of Quechua teacher. So the momentous day finally arrived when the war on Quechua broke out in earnest. We had dreaded having to begin the work on the most difficult language. It had somehow assumed in our imaginations the shape of a huge, impossible hurdle; something which had to be faced but which we felt utterly incapable of surmounting.
Notwithstanding the obstacle of the many gutteral, aspirated and explosive sounds, we of necessity must procure a working knowledge of the mother tongue of the Indians, if we are ever to reach them for Christ. Sounds utterly foreign to an American or English person; words bearing absolutely no similarity to our own language. To wrap our clumsy unaccustomed tongues around the unfamiliar syllables seemed a herculean task.
Cloud Country Sojourn – Sally Hawthorne