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Notes on Names of Peaks in the Cordillera Huayhuash

Notes on Names of Peaks in the Cordillera Huayhuash. The Quechua of different regions of Peru differs considerably. On the eastern slope of the Cordillera Huayhuash it is quite different from that of the Cordillera Blanca. For that reason and because my investigations were limited to a few days, these findings are somewhat tentative. The maps of the Instituto Geográfico Militar of Peru seem to be excellent topographically but the nomenclature is hopelessly inaccurate; for instance the pampa on the southwestern shore of Lago Viconga is really Matipaqui (broken gourd) but it appears as Matiraqui on the map. Some of the names which appear on the map are completely unknown locally; on the southern rim of the range the peak which appears on the map as “Mitopunta” is actually called Yanacaico (black corral from yana (black) + caico (corral)), getting its name from the enclosed valley of the same name above which it rises. Jirishanca comes from jirish (hummingbird) + janca or shanca (cold place or snow mountain); there is no mention of the hummingbird’s bill, usually given as part of the meaning of the name, though this may be implied because of the shape of the peak. Ninashanca comes from nina (fire) + janca or shanca, possibly getting its name from red rock. Siulá means cold. Rasac means toad. Puscanturpa means distaff. (The first part should be pronounced putskan, which signifies spinning.) Tsacra is an animal lair and Puyoc means rotten or moth-eaten. One informant told me that Sarapo means funnel, but this I could not confirm.

H. Adams Carter