I am asking about tawa. When I studied quichua as language, I was told that quichua was not written. However here, in Ecuador, I found many sources (the main one is a magazine delivered by Amawtay Wasi school of andean cultures) talking about this alphabet.

My question is: Is this alphabet real (in the sense of being used by tawantinsuyu people) or was a new-age invention? Is there any reliable source about its social context (i.e. when and how was it used)?

I'm sorry. I'm not a historian and I'm tired of finding new-age-tainted material.


Any present-tense questions you have probably should be asked on the linguistic stack.

I can tell you that historically the language was not written, and according to Wikipedia most speakers even today don't read and write in that language, due to the paucity of written works. So any written form you come across is probably used almost entirely by researchers. From what I could dig up, it looks like there are multiple competing systems that researchers are using, but all were ultimately derived from the Latin alphabet used by the Spaniards. Perhaps there's a hot new one or two that isn't, but the details are primarily of interest to linguists, not historians.

There was actually one native recording system used in that area by speakers of that language in pre-Columbian times: quipu. It used series of colored string and knots to record information. So if you are interested in the true native "written" form of that language, this is what it looks like:

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  • I was aware of quipus, that was the reason of being confused about tawa as alphabet. May 9 '16 at 19:55
  • @LuisMasuelli - Well, I can throw some info up on the various competing scholarly alphabets, but they are all so modern (and artificial?) that you really ought to ask on the Linguistics stack for details about them.
    – T.E.D.
    May 9 '16 at 20:06

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