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  • Kichwa is a Quechuan language which includes all Quechua varieties of Ecuador and Colombia, as well as extensions into Peru, and is spoken by 2.5 million people. The most widely spoken dialects are Chimborazo and Imbabura Highland Kichwa, with one to two million and half a million to one million speakers, respectively. Cañar Highland Quecha has 100,000–200,000 speakers; the others in the range of ten to twenty thousand. Kichwa belongs to the Northern Quechua group of Quechua II. Kichwa syntax has undergone some grammatical simplification compared to Southern Quechua, perhaps due to partial creolization with the pre-Inca languages of Ecuador. A standardized language with a unified orthography has been developed. It is similar to Chimborazo, less some of the phonological peculiarities of that dialect. The earliest grammatical description of Kichwa was written in the 17th century by the Jesuit priest Hernando de Alcocer.

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