Talking about the weather is a major component of what in English is called “small talk” or In “phatic conversation.”   Because it is considered a form of “small talk” it is often considered unimportant.   However, talking about the weather is actually a very important socio linguistic skill.  The point of talking about the weather is mostly not about conveying information about whether it is rainy or sunny, chilly or hot.  That information is usually already known to both parties before the conversation even starts.  Rather talking about the weather is a convenient vehicle for humor, hyperbole, emotions, and relationships in an indirect, nonintrusive way that respects the privacy of the interlocutor.   Much of Garrison Keillor’s appeal on Prairie Home Companion comes from his skill at expressing Minnesota Scandinavian insider identity by talking about the Minnesota weather in a distinctively Minnesota way.  

Amazonia is a region of abundant rain, rivers that flood violently, mud and hot sun.  Not surprisingly, Amazonian languages are particularly rich in language for talking about the weather. Because people are exposed to the weather in a much more direct way than they would be in cities Amazonian Kichwa has developed a rich and subtle capacity to talk about the weather that is filled with humor and social innuendo.  The goal of talking about the weather is asichina and llaquichina.   The performative goal of this lesson is to be able to talk about the weather like an insider in within this limited but socially important sphere of the weather.

To do so they must:

1.  Learn to use the correct suffixes.   -mu- is often used with verbs that express the cyclical movement of natural phenomena returning to a starting point:

Tamia urma-mu-n.       Rain falls back down. (Not tamia urman)

Indi llucshi-mu-n.        The sun comes back up.  (Not indi llukshin)

2.  They must learn to accompany verbs with the correct sound of rain or water.

Saa saa urmamun.

Pats, pats, pats urmamun.

Tui tui tui shutun.


Tsun ukushka.

Rayo tulun, tulun uyarin

Punzhan punzhan limpian.