Quechua Ø

In researching the required character set for Quechua, @Frode Bo Helland and I have come across a very weird ‘requirement’ on Wikipedia: the Ø is supposedly used in loan words. In this current version, the Ø/ø is written in Quechua loanwords and is pronounced ⟨d⟩.

This made no sense to me as a phonetic transcription, or even as a fluke, like a typical case of linguists having to make do. Instead, I think a young Wikipedia editor made an uninformed edit three years ago (sadly, he is long retired, so I can’t ask for motivations).

Now, this is just based on a hunch which is based on someone else’s hunch, but I don’t think Quechua uses Ø/ø, and doesn’t pronounce it ⟨d⟩. Is there anyone who can confirm or elucidate? If we find a common ground, I think we have good cause to change the Wiki entry.


  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,697
    edited September 2015
    It does seem that Quechua is lacking a native /d/ phoneme. There appears to be no voicedness contrast in Quechua; instead, its stops observe a three-way distinction between plain, aspirated, and ejective, which are written as t, th, t', respectively:


    However, given that they're not already using the letter d, I really don't see why they'd want to malappropriate ø for the purpose.
  • Yes, Christian, that’s what I’m thinking. Somebody saw the table of loanword conversions and assumed the opposite: “how would a /d/ become ⟨ø⟩?” Then, in an act of ‘wiki cleaning’, they flipped the shapes around. Obviously, with the way the language is spoken, it makes a lot more sense – I understand a /d/ transforming into a ⟨ø⟩ much more than the other way around. But when you see it without knowing IPA, it might be very weird and wrong-looking.

    So what I’m hoping is that somebody has a quality source on the loanword issue, or that a native speaker can chime in. That way we can correct a Wikipedia article that incorrectly details the language of eight million people – a good use of time, I’d say.
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