Guarani (/ˌɡwɑːrəˈniː, ˈɡwɑːrəni/) specifically the primary variety known as Paraguayan Guarani (endonym avañe'ẽ [aʋãɲẽˈʔẽ] 'the people's language'), is an indigenous language of South America that belongs to the Tupi–Guarani family of the Tupian languages. It is one of the official languages of Paraguay (along with Spanish), where it is spoken by the majority of the population, and where half of the rural population is monolingual. It is spoken by communities in neighboring countries, including parts of northeastern Argentina, southeastern Bolivia and southwestern Brazil, and is a second official language of the Argentine province of Corrientes since 2004; it is also an official language of Mercosur.
Guarani is one of the most-widely spoken indigenous languages of the Americas and the only one whose speakers include a large proportion of non-indigenous people. This is an interesting anomaly in the Americas, where language shift towards European colonial languages (in this case, the other official language of Spanish) has otherwise been a nearly universal cultural and identity marker of mestizos (people of mixed Spanish and Amerindian ancestry), and also of culturally assimilated, upwardly mobile Amerindian people.
Jesuit priest Antonio Ruiz de Montoya, who in 1639 published the first written grammar of Guarani in a book called Tesoro de la lengua guaraní (Treasure of the Guarani Language / The Guarani Language Thesaurus), described it as a language "so copious and elegant that it can compete with the most famous [of languages]".
|Native to||Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil|
|4.85 million (1995)|
|Guarani alphabet (Latin script)|
Official language in
| Paraguay |
|Regulated by||Academia de la Lengua Guaraní (Avañe’ẽ Rerekuapavẽ)|
The persistence of Guarani is, contrary to popular belief, not exclusively, or even primarily, due to the influence of the Jesuits in Paraguay. While Guarani was the only language spoken in the expansive missionary territories, Paraguayan Guarani has its roots outside of the Jesuit reductions.
Modern scholarship has shown that Guarani was always the primary language of colonial Paraguay, both inside and outside the reductions. Following the expulsion of the Jesuits in the 18th century, the residents of the reductions gradually migrated north and west towards Asunción, a demographic shift that brought about a decidedly one-sided shift away from the Jesuit dialect that the missionaries had curated in the southern and eastern territories of the colony.
By and large, the Guarani of the Jesuits shied away from direct phonological loans from Spanish. Instead, the missionaries relied on the agglutinative nature of the language to formulate calque terms from native morphemes. This process often led the Jesuits to employ complicated, highly synthetic terms to convey Western concepts. By contrast, the Guarani spoken outside of the missions was characterized by a free, unregulated flow of Hispanicisms; frequently, Spanish words and phrases were simply incorporated into Guarani with minimal phonological adaptation.
A good example of this phenomenon is found in the word "communion". The Jesuits, using their agglutinative strategy, rendered this word "Tupârahava", a calque based on the word "Tupâ", meaning God. In modern Paraguayan Guarani, the same word is rendered "komuño".
Following the out-migration from the reductions, these two distinct dialects of Guarani came into extensive contact for the first time. The vast majority of speakers abandoned the less-colloquial, highly regulated Jesuit variant in favor of the variety that evolved from actual language usage by speakers in Paraguay. This contemporary form of spoken Guaraní is known as Jopará, meaning "mixture" in Guarani.
Paraguayan Guarani has been used throughout Paraguayan history as a symbol of nationalistic pride. Populist dictators such as José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia and Alfredo Stroessner used the language to appeal to common Paraguayans, and upon the advent of Paraguayan democracy in 1992, Guarani was enshrined in the new constitution as a co-equal language along with Spanish.  Jopara, the mixture of Spanish and Guarani, is spoken by an estimated 90% of the population of Paraguay. Code-switching between the two languages takes place on a spectrum where more Spanish is used for official and business-related matters, whereas more Guarani is used in art and in everyday life.
Guarani is also an official language of Bolivia and of the Argentine province of Misiones.
Guarani became a written language relatively recently. Its modern alphabet is basically a subset of the Latin script (with "J", "K" and "Y" but not "W"), complemented with two diacritics and six digraphs. Its orthography is largely phonemic, with letter values mostly similar to those of Spanish. The tilde is used with many letters that are considered part of the alphabet. In the case of Ñ/ñ, it differentiates the palatal nasal from the alveolar nasal (as in Spanish), whereas it marks stressed nasalisation when used over a vowel (as in Portuguese): ã, ẽ, ĩ, õ, ũ, ỹ. (Nasal vowels have been written with several other diacritics: ä, ā, â, ã.) The tilde also marks nasality in the case of G̃/g̃, used to represent the nasalized velar approximant by combining the velar approximant "G" with the nasalising tilde. The letter G̃/g̃, which is unique to this language, was introduced into the orthography relatively recently during the mid-20th century and there is disagreement over its use. It is not a precomposed character in Unicode, which can cause typographic inconveniences – such as needing to press "delete" twice – or imperfect rendering when using computers and fonts that do not properly support the complex layout feature of glyph composition.
Only stressed nasal vowels are written as nasal. If an oral vowel is stressed, and it is not the final syllable, it is marked with an acute accent: á, é, í, ó, ú, ý. That is, stress falls on the vowel marked as nasalized, if any, else on the accent-marked syllable, and if neither appears, then on the final syllable.
Guarani only allows syllables consisting of a consonant plus a vowel or a vowel alone; syllables ending in a consonant or two or more consonants together are not possible. This is represented as (C)V(V).
|Close||/i/, /ĩ/||/ɨ/, /ɨ̃/||/u/, /ũ/|
|Mid||/e/, /ẽ/||/o/, /õ/|
IPA value is shown. The orthography is shown in angle brackets below, if different.
|ɰ ~ ɰ̃
⟨g⟩ ~ ⟨g̃⟩
|w ~ w̃
⟨gu⟩ ~ ⟨g̃u⟩
The voiced consonants have oral allophones (left) before oral vowels, and nasal allophones (right) before nasal vowels. The oral allophones of the voiced stops are prenasalized.
There is also a sequence /ⁿt/ (written ⟨nt⟩). A trill /r/ (written ⟨rr⟩), and the consonants /l/, /f/, and /j/ (written ⟨ll⟩) are not native to Guarani, but come from Spanish.
Oral [ᵈj] is often pronounced [dʒ], [ɟ], [ʒ], [j], depending on the dialect, but the nasal allophone is always [ɲ].
The dorsal fricative is in free variation between [x] and [h].
⟨g⟩, ⟨gu⟩ are approximants, not fricatives, but are sometimes transcribed [ɣ], [ɣʷ], as is conventional for Spanish. ⟨gu⟩ is also transcribed [ɰʷ], which is essentially identical to [w].
All syllables are open, viz. CV or V, ending in a vowel.
The glottal stop is only written between vowels, but occurs phonetically before vowel-initial words. Because of this, Ayala (2000:19) shows that some words have several glottal stops near each other, which consequently undergo a number of different dissimilation techniques. For example, "I drink water" 'a'u'y is pronounced hau'y. This suggests that even irregular verbs in Guarani are regular underlyingly. There also seems to be some degree of variation between how much the glottal stop is dropped (for example aru'uka > aruuka > aruka for "I bring"). It is suspected that the glottal stop was not an original phoneme but that word-internal glottal stops are only fossilized compounds where the second component was a vowel-initial (and therefore glottal stop–initial) root.:19
Guarani displays an unusual degree of nasal harmony. A nasal syllable consists of a nasal vowel, and if the consonant is voiced, it takes its nasal allophone. If a stressed syllable is nasal, the nasality spreads in both directions until it bumps up against a stressed syllable that is oral. This includes affixes, postpositions, and compounding. Voiceless consonants do not have nasal allophones, but they do not interrupt the spread of nasality.
However, a second stressed syllable, with an oral vowel, will not become nasalized:
That is, for a word with a single stressed vowel, all voiced segments will be either oral or nasal, while voiceless consonants are unaffected, as in oral /ᵐbotɨ/ vs nasal /mõtɨ̃/.
Guaraní is a highly agglutinative language, often classified as polysynthetic. It is a fluid-S type active language, and it has been classified as a 6th class language in Milewski's typology. It uses subject–verb–object word order usually, but object–verb when the subject is not specified.
The language lacks gender and has no definite article, but due to influence from Spanish, la is used as a definite article for singular reference, and lo for plural reference. These are not found in Classical Guarani (Guaraniete).
Guarani exhibits nominal tense: past, expressed with -kue, and future, expressed with -rã. For example, tetã ruvichakue translates to "ex-president" while tetã ruvicharã translates to "president-elect." The past morpheme -kue is often translated as "ex-", "former", "abandoned", "what was once", or "one-time". These morphemes can even be combined to express the idea of something that was going to be but didn't end up happening. So for example, pa'irãgue is "a person who studied to be a priest but didn't actually finish", or rather, "the ex-future priest". Note that some nouns use -re instead of -kue and others use -guã instead of -rã.
Guarani distinguishes between inclusive and exclusive pronouns of the first person plural.
|peẽ||ha'ekuéra/ hikuái (*)|
Reflexive pronoun: je: ahecha ("I look"), ajehecha ("I look at myself")
Guarani stems can be divided into a number of conjugation classes, which are called areal (with the subclass aireal) and chendal. The names for these classes stem from the names of the prefixes for 1st and 2nd person singular.
The areal conjugation is used to convey that the participant is actively involved, whereas the chendal conjugation is used to convey that the participant is the undergoer. Note that intransitive verbs can take either conjugation, transitive verbs normally take areal, but can take chendal for habitual readings. Nouns can also be conjugated, but only as chendal. This conveys a predicative possessive reading.
Furthermore, the conjugations vary slightly according to the stem being oral or nasal.
Verb root ñe'ẽ ("speak"); nasal verb.
|a-||a-ñe'ẽ||1 ñande (incl.)
1 ore (excl.)
'we (just us)'
Negation is indicated by a circumfix n(d)(V)-...-(r)i in Guarani. The preverbal portion of the circumfix is nd- for oral bases and n- for nasal bases. For 2nd person singular, an epenthetic e is inserted before the base, for 1st person plural inclusive, an epenthetic a is inserted.
The postverbal portion is -ri for bases ending in -i, and -i for all others. However, in spoken Guarani, the "-ri" portion of the circumfix is frequently omitted for bases ending in "-i".
japo (do, make)
kororõ (roar, snore)
|With ending in "i"
jupi (go up, rise)
The negation can be used in all tenses, but for future or irrealis reference, the normal tense marking is replaced by mo'ã, resulting in n(d)(V)-base-mo'ã-i as in Ndajapomo'ãi, "I won't do it".
There are also other negatives, such as: ani, ỹhỹ, nahániri, naumbre, na'anga.
These two suffixes can be added together: ahátama, "I'm already going".
This suffix can be joined with ma, making up páma: ñande jaikuaapáma nde remimo'ã, "now we became to know all your thought".
These are unstressed suffixes: ta, ma, ne, vo, "mi"; so the stress goes upon the last syllable of the verb or the last stressed syllable.
|1 – Demonstratives:|
|(a) With near objects and entities (you see it)|
|Peteĩ-teĩ (+/- va)||each||cada uno|
|Ko'ã, ã, áã||these||estos, estas|
|Umi||those||esos, esas, aquellos, aquellas|
|(b) Indefinite, with far objects and entities (you do not see it -remembering demonstratives ):|
|Ku||that (singular)||aquel, aquella|
|Akói||those (plural)||aquellos, as|
|(c) Other usual demonstratives determiners:|
|Opa||all||todo, toda, todos, todas (with all entities)|
|Mayma||all||todos, todas (with people)|
|Mbovy –||some, a few, determinate||unos, unas|
|Heta||a lot of, very much||muchos, muchas|
|Ambue ( +/- kuéra)||other||otros, otras|
|Ambueve:||The other||el otro, la otra|
|Ambueve||other, another||otro, otros, (enfático) –|
|Ni peteĩ (+/- ve)||neither||ni el uno ni el otro|
The close and prolonged contact Spanish and Guarani have experienced has resulted in many Guarani words of Spanish origin. Many of these loans were for things or concepts unknown to the New World prior to Spanish colonization. Examples are seen below:
English has adopted a small number of words from Guarani (or perhaps the related Tupi) via Portuguese, mostly the names of animals. "Jaguar" comes from jaguarete (literally dog body) and "piranha" comes from pira aña (evil fish). Other words are: "agouti" from akuti (hot nose), "tapir" from tapira (always ahead), "açaí" from ïwasa'i ("[fruit that] cries or expels water"), and "warrah" from aguará meaning "fox". Ipecacuanha (the name of a medicinal drug) comes from a homonymous Tupi-Guaraní name that can be rendered as ipe-kaa-guene, meaning a creeping plant that makes one vomit.
"Cougar" is borrowed from the archaic Portuguese çuçuarana; the term was either originally derived from the Tupi language susua'rana, meaning "similar to deer (in hair color)" or from the Guaraní language term guaçu ara while puma comes from the Peruvian Quechua language.
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Guarani:
Mayma yvypóra ou ko yvy ári iñapyty'yre ha eteĩcha tekoruvicharenda ha akatúape jeguerekópe; ha ikatu rupi oikuaa añetéva ha añete'yva, iporãva ha ivaíva, tekotevẽ pehenguéicha oiko oñondivekuéra.
(All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.)
The New Testament was translated from Greek into Guaraní by Dr John William Lindsay (1875-1946), who was a Scottish medical missionary based in Belen, Paraguay. The New Testament was printed by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1913. It is believed to be the first New Testament translated into any South American indigenous language.
Araweté is a Tupi–Guaraní language of the state of Amazonas, in the Amazon region of Brazil. Nearly all speakers were monolingual in 1986.Ava Guarani language
Chiripá Guarani (Tsiripá, Txiripá), also known as Ava Guarani and Nhandéva (Ñandeva), is a Guaraní language spoken in Paraguay, Brazil, and also Argentina. Nhandéva is closely connected to Mbyá Guaraní, as intermarriage between speakers of the two languages is common. Speakers of Nhandéva and Mbyá generally live in mountainous areas of the Atlantic Forest, from eastern Paraguay through Misiones Province of Argentina to the southern Brazilian states of Paraná, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul. There are approximately 4,900 speakers in Brazil and 7,000 in Paraguay.
Chiripá (and Mbyá) is one of a number of "Guaraní dialects" usually classified as distinct languages. Of these, Paraguayan Guaraní is by far the most widely-spoken variety, and it is often referred to simply as Guaraní. Speakers of Chiripá are increasingly switching to Paraguayan Guaraní due to its higher political and social status (it is an official language of Paraguay).
Nhandéva is also known as Chiripá. The Spanish spelling, Ñandeva, is used in the Paraguayan Chaco to refer to the local variety of Eastern Bolivian, a subdialect of Avá.Close central unrounded vowel
The close central unrounded vowel, or high central unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound used in some languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɨ, namely the lower-case letter i with a horizontal bar. Both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as barred i.
Occasionally, this vowel is transcribed ⟨ï⟩ (centralized ⟨i⟩) or ⟨ɯ̈⟩ (centralized ⟨ɯ⟩).The close central unrounded vowel is the vocalic equivalent of the rare post-palatal approximant [j̈].Corrientes Province
Corrientes (Spanish pronunciation: [koˈrjentes], lit. ‘currents’ or ‘streams’; Guarani: Taragui Tetãmini) is a province in northeast Argentina, in the Mesopotamia region. It is surrounded by (from the north, clockwise): Paraguay, the province of Misiones, Brazil, Uruguay, and the provinces of Entre Rios, Santa Fe and Chaco.Eastern Bolivian Guaraní
The Eastern Bolivian Guaraní, or Ava Guaraní, are an Indigenous people formerly known as Chiriguanos or Chiriguano Indians. Noted for their warlike character, the Chiriguanos retained their lands in the Andes foothills of southeastern Bolivia from the 16th to the 19th centuries by fending off, first, the Inca Empire, later, the Spanish Empire, and, still later, independent Bolivia. The Chiriguanos were finally subjugated in 1892.
The Chiriguanos of history nearly disappeared from public consciousness after their 1892 defeat -- but were reborn beginning in the 1970s. In the 21st century the descendants of the Chiriguanos call themselves Guaranis which links them with millions of speakers of Guarani dialects and languages in Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil.The census of 2001 counted 81,011 Guaraní, mostly Chiriguanos, over 15 years of age living in Bolivia. A 2010 census counted 18,000 Ava Guarani in Argentina. The Eastern Bolivian Guaraní language was spoken by 33,000 people in Bolivia, 15,000 in Argentina, and a few hundred in Paraguay.Guarani Wikipedia
The Guarani Wikipedia (Guarani: Vikipetã) is the Guarani language edition of the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia. It was created in 2005, thanks to the unusual collaboration between the Lithuanian Šarūnas Šimkus, then a teenager, and Paraguayan academic David Galeano OliveraGuarani languages
The Guarani languages are a group of half a dozen or so languages in the Tupi–Guarani language family. The best known language in this family is Guarani, one of the national languages of Paraguay, alongside Spanish.
The Guarani languages are:
Guarani dialect chain: Western Bolivian Guarani (Simba), Eastern Bolivian Guarani (Chawuncu; Ava, Tapieté dialects), Paraguayan Guaraní (Guarani), Chiripá Guaraní (Nhandéva, Avá), Mbyá Guaraní (Mbya)
Kaiwá (Paí Tavyterá dialect)
Aché (Guayaki) (several dialects)
? XetáThe varieties of Guarani proper and Kaiwá have limited mutual intelligibility. Aché and Guarani are not mutually intelligible. The position of Xetá is unclear.Kaiwá language
Kaiwá is a Guarani language spoken by about 18,000 Kaiwá people in Brazil in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul and 510 people in northeastern Argentina. Literacy is 5-10% in Kaiwá and 15–25% in Portuguese. Kaiwá proper is 70% lexically similar with the Pai Tavytera language, and its similarity to its linguistic cousin Guaraní, one of the two national-languages of Paraguay alongside the Spanish language, means it is even sometimes considered mutually intelligible.Labiodental approximant
The labiodental approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. It is similar to an English w pronounced with the teeth and lips held in the position used to articulate the letter V. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʋ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is P or v\.
The labiodental approximant is the typical realization of /v/ in the Indian South African variety of English. As the voiceless /f/ is also realized as an approximant ([ʋ̥]), it is also an example of a language contrasting voiceless and voiced labiodental approximants.Mbyá Guaraní language
Mbyá Guaraní is a Tupi–Guaraní language spoken by approximately 6,000 Brazilians, 3,000 Argentines, and 8,000 Paraguayans. It is 75% lexically similar to Paraguayan Guaraní.Mbyá Guaraní is one of a number of "Guaraní dialects" now generally classified as distinct languages. Mbyá is closely connected to Ava Guaraní, also known as Ñandeva, and intermarriage between speakers of the two languages is common. Speakers of Mbyá and Ñandeva generally live in mountainous areas of the Atlantic Forest, from eastern Paraguay through Misiones Province of Argentina to the southern Brazilian states of Paraná, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul.Omagua language
Omagua is a Tupí-Guarani language closely related to Cocama (Michael to appear), belonging to the Group III subgroup of the Tupí-Guaraní family, according to Rodrigues' classification of the family. Alternate names for Omagua include: Agua, Anapia, Ariana, Cambeba, Cambeeba, Cambela, Campeba, Canga-Peba, Compeva, Janbeba, Kambeba, Macanipa, Omagua-Yete, Pariana, Umaua, Yhuata.Paraná River
The Paraná River (Spanish: Río Paraná [ˈri.o paɾaˈna], Portuguese: Rio Paraná, Guarani: Ysyry Parana) is a river in south Central South America, running through Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina for some 4,880 kilometres (3,030 mi). It is second in length only to the Amazon River among South American rivers. The name Paraná is an abbreviation of the phrase "para rehe onáva", which comes from the Tupi language and means "like the sea" (that is, "as big as the sea"). It merges first with the Paraguay River and then farther downstream with the Uruguay River to form the Río de la Plata and empties into the Atlantic Ocean.
The first European to go up the Paraná River was the Venetian explorer Sebastian Cabot, in 1526, while working for Spain.Tapirapé language
Tapirapé is a Tupi–Guarani language of Brazil.Tupi–Guarani languages
Tupi–Guarani (pronunciation ) is the name of the most widely distributed subfamily of the Tupian languages of South America. It includes fifty languages, including the best-known languages of the family, Guarani and Old Tupi.
The words petunia, jaguar, piranha, ipecac, tapioca, jacaranda, anhinga, carioca, and capoeira are of Tupi–Guarani origin.Turiwára language
Turiwára is an extinct Tupi–Guaraní language of the state of Pará, in the Amazon region of Brazil.Voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative
The voiceless alveolo-palatal sibilant fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some oral languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɕ⟩ ("c", plus the curl also found in its voiced counterpart ⟨ʑ⟩). It is the sibilant equivalent of the voiceless palatal fricative.
The voiceless alveolo-palatal sibilant fricative does not occur in any major dialect of English. However, it is the usual realization of /ʃ/ (as in ship) in the Ghanaian variety.Western Bolivian Guarani
Western Bolivian Guarani, known locally as Simba and Simba Guarani, is a Guarani language spoken in Bolivia, in the Chuquisaca Department north of the Pilcomayo River.
Western Bolivian Guarani is one of a number of "Guarani dialects" considered distinct languages by Ethnologue: Chiripá, Eastern Bolivian Guarani, Mbyá Guarani, Aché, Kaiwá, Xetá, and Paraguayan Guaraní. Of these, Paraguayan Guaraní is by far the most widely spoken variety and it is often referred to simply as Guaraní.Xeta language
Xetá is an extinct Tupí–Guaraní language of Brazil.