Keira Wood is a sophomore working toward a double major in Linguistics and French, who shares with us her love of languages and how studying Quechua introduced her to South American culture!
Why did you choose Pitt?
I liked the options of language courses one could take.
Are you a member of any organizations on campus?
Pitt Quo Vadis, Pitt French Club, Yinzling, Pitt Asian Students Alliance
Did you have any previous second-language exposure before coming to Pitt?
I took five years of French and two years of German in high school. I have also been learning Mandarin on and off throughout my life.
How did you become interested in studying Quechua?
I have always felt that I did not know a lot about South American culture so I thought learning a South American language would help me learn a lot more.
How does studying this language fit into your future plans?
I hope to have a career where I frequently use foreign languages (possibly in translation) and I love learning about different cultures through their languages.
What has been your best experience using this language?
Learning about the culture of people in the Andes which is a culture that I hardly knew anything about before. I hope to travel to a country where Quechua is spoken in the future to experience it for myself.
What has been your greatest challenge with learning this language?
A lot of the time, when learning a foreign language, I would use online resources such as online translators, Netflix and Youtube videos for listening practice, and other general things online to help fill in gaps; however, since studying Quechua isn't commonly practiced (especially in English speaking platforms) there are not a lot of options to choose from.
What has knowing/studying this language allowed you to do that you would not have been able to do otherwise?
It has allowed me to understand a language that does not get as much spotlight as other more commonly taught languages and provided me with a new perspective on society through the eyes of the Quechua people.