I’ve been watching with great pleasure a YouTube clip on Al Jazeera’s Lualjazeeracia Newman report on Guarani.
Even though the clip talks about linguistic equality in Paraguay, this very same video made me think on Guarani itself, and the concept my students would have. I asked them then, about Guarani, and this is what I got from my Paraguayan students (99% of them Guarani speakers):
They DO NOT speak Guarani, they actually speak a mixture of languages (Guarani and Spanish) that does not constitute a language itself: Jopara
They DO NOT speak Guarani correctly, some few Paraguayan purists and lingusts speak correctly. These experts in languages speak the “real” Guarani.
These statements lead me to Chomsky’s Universal Grammar principles: all languages are equally complex. There are no primitive (neither “pure”) languages.
Guarani is Jopara. This is a concept that most Paraguayans would disagree with at first glance. But after pondering about it, one can only conclude that it is actually the everyday language that everyone can hear in any street of the country.
Jopara is Guarani. Is the Guarani of the 21st century. With its loan words -usually from Spanish, although we have many English ones nowadays-and its ñe’enga or partly Guarani partly Spanish sayings.
The “pure” Guarani language, developed by aborigins centuries ago DOES NOT EXIST ANYMORE. In the 21st century, Paraguay proudly has JOPARA, the “modern” Guarani language spoken by most of the population. There might be many who would argue and make a distinction between Guarani and Jopara again, only to find out that the language spoken out there, in the streets is Jopara.
P.S. Examples of English loan words
E klikeana la nde mau – please click the mouse
a kambiase la che chi – I would like to change my cellphone chip
E rebusteana la nde pc – Please reset the pc