This page is being
You will have more
and better information
Learn Guarani On-line
There's no doubt about it --- the only way to learn a language to the point at which you
are fluent is to be immersed in a population that speaks that language. You have to be in a situation in which you must
speak the language. But to make the learning process go smoother, it's most practical to understand the formal rules of the
language and be familiar with examples of the language before plunging into a foreign society. This knowledge acts like crutches
to help to maneuver in the native-speaking population; you'll eventually be able to "walk" on your own and throw away the
These on-line documents are meant to help anyone interested in learning Guarani. Are you a linguist
who must learn a bit of Guarani? Will you soon be going to Paraguay as a Peace Corps volunteer? This on-line course is meant
to help you in your efforts.
The CourseworkThe material in this "course" is organized in
a manner similar to a first-year textbook for any foreign language. Each chapter begins with a mini-dialogue, then an analysis
of the new structures in the mini-dialogue. Those new structures are extended, hopefully in a challenging way, as the chapter
All the dialogues and examples of Guarani speech are presented with three translations:
The guarani text is in a bold font.
Linguistic morphemes in English are in a typewriter
Spanish is presented on the third line.
English is on the last line.
Of course, for those who use lynx, the font will not change very much. :-)
The Guarani 101 on-line course exists in two different versions, one in Spanish and one in English.
But the Guarani examples are the same in both. That is, both versions of Guarani 101 include the morphemic, Spanish, and English
translations for each Guarani example. Many linguists who study Guarani know both Spanish and English, so I thought that having
translations of the Guarani in both Spanish and English would help the student. The only difference between the Spanish and
English courses is the text between the Guarani examples.
Guarani 101For those of you not familiar with the method
of naming courses in the United States, a course number in the 100-series usually indicates a first-year course. "101" means
that the class is the first-level class in the first-year course.
Pronunciation & Orthography
You should begin studying Guarani by becoming familiar with Pronunciation & Orthography, especially since Guarani orthography does not fit into the ISO Latin 1 scheme of things. I had to use some workarounds to
make Guarani examples readable by all web-browsers and and still maintain truthfulness to their orthography and pronunciation.
This information comes from Paraguay: Land of Lace and Legend, Chapter 1, page 22.
In the fertile, wooded, eastern region of Paraguay lived numerous tribes of the Guarani-speaking
Indians who inhabited much of the southeastern part of the continent. Semi-nomadic warriors, they had no wheel, plow, draft
animals, or metals. They used bone, wood and thorns for tools and weapons. While living largely on fish and game, they also
practiced a shifting agriculture, growing maize (avati) and mandioca (mandi'o) on different plots from one season
Forest in Paraguay
The Guaranis were a people of the forest and their word for Paradise or heaven
was Yvága, which means "a place of abundant fruit trees." Their language, which was largely onomatopoeic in origin,
still preserves the sounds of the forest. Their religious mythology allowed them to live in harmony with the prolific plant
and animal life around them. It is said that they named 1,100 species of plants and knew their medicinal properties. Their
prinicipal god was Tupang, or Tupâ, a pure, formless spirit which lived in and animated the whole universe.
Tupâ was not capable of doing evil. Only one of the Guarani gods was evil. All the others were protectors of nature. Also,
the actions of Tupang indicated that life on this earth was not final. Therefore, when the Christian missionaries came, the
Guarani had little trouble in combining the two religions.
The word Guarani means "warrior." Like modern Paraguayans, the Guaranis are friendly and
hospitable, but fierce and stubborn in battle. Some Guarani tribes had fought the Guaycurus of the Chaco and pressed on to
the edges of the Inca kingdom, coveting its riches long before the white man came.