Confusing Guarani

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


6 thoughts on “Confusing Guarani

  1. guau teacher, the video is wonderful. is true.nowadays, the pure guarani you can find only in the aborigean they speak a guarani that maybe we don´t know or we don´t understand well. so they maintain the language…in the town we mix the languages, jopara.. and tha´ts the guarani that we speak and understand, well is my case..jajaja but for me is difficult to answer when someone is speaking guarani and is easier for me speak jopara. so i can´t manage one of my languages..very intersesting…

  2. Yes, dear Professor. It seems we are building a sort of “Jurassic Park” with our schools insisting on teaching a “pure” Guarani, but the truth is, as Dr. Malcolm said in that 1993 movie, “life [languaje in this case] [allways] finds a way” [to unleash itself].

  3. well teacher have you ever analizing the GUARANI LANGUAGE ITSELF, In my opinion this language is it special, becuase some words in it they borrow with other languages and they use it like owns words. for instaed according with teacher Nelson Aguilera, some words like aramboha guarani, almohada arabian notice how their are seem iqual, there is another example shabby ENGLISH, CHAVI GUARANI, BOTH HAVE THE SAME MEANING ALSO THE PRONUNCIATION ARE EQUAL another example saler in the market four she say marchante what are you looking? marchant french or greatfut , reifut….for that reason the guarani perharp is complex but if you analize the semantic and morphosintax some sound are similar and the meaning is the same in the case marchant and marchante, or chavi and shabby and many linguistic are facinate for this mistic language because of many language you can find in one and that is guarani… think about it

  4. this video show an interesting situation one paraguayan asked the price of a lettuce in spanish and the saleslady offer her product in guarani and she tell in spanish , what’s that means? that mean almost a fifty porcent of paraguayan can understand both language and their brain are already to switch automatically the answer in guarani or spanish and vice versa…

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