Guarani language

Paraguayan Guarani
Native toParaguay, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil
Native speakers
4.85 million (1995)[1]
Guarani alphabet (Latin script)
Official status
Official language in
Regulated byAcademia de la Lengua Guaraní (Avañe’ẽ Rerekuapavẽ)
Language codes
ISO 639-3gug
Map-Guaraniphone World.svg
Guarani-speaking world
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Books in Guarani

Guarani (i/)[3] 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[4] 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.[5][6] 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;[7][8] it is also an official language of Mercosur.[9]

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]".

The name "Guarani" is generally used for the official language of Paraguay. However, this is part of a dialect chain, most of whose components are also often called Guarani.


The persistence of Guarani is, contrary to popular belief, not exclusively, or even primarily, due to the influence of the Jesuits in Paraguay.[citation needed] 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.[10][11]

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.[12] 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.[13] In modern Paraguayan Guarani, the same word is rendered "komuño".[14]

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.[15] This contemporary form of spoken Guaraní is known as Jopará, meaning "mixture" in Guarani.

Political status

A government sign in Asunción, bilingual in Guaraní and Spanish

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. [16] 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.[17]

Guarani is also an official language of Bolivia and of the Argentine province of Misiones.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Guaraní
Ænglisc: Awaisc sprǣc
العربية: غوارانية
asturianu: Idioma guaraní
Avañe'ẽ: Avañe'ẽ
Aymar aru: Waraniyi aru
azərbaycanca: Quarani dili
Bân-lâm-gú: Guarani-gí
беларуская: Гуарані (мова)
български: Гуарански език
brezhoneg: Gwaranieg
català: Guaraní
čeština: Guaranština
dolnoserbski: Guaranišćina
español: Idioma guaraní
Esperanto: Gvarania lingvo
euskara: Guaraniera
Fiji Hindi: Guarani bhasa
français: Guarani (langue)
Gàidhlig: Guaranaidh
한국어: 과라니어
hornjoserbsce: Guaranišćina
hrvatski: Guarani (jezik)
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Guarani
interlingua: Lingua guarani
íslenska: Gvaraní
italiano: Lingua guaraní
עברית: גוארני
ქართული: გუარანის ენა
қазақша: Гуарани тілі
Кыргызча: Гуарани (тил)
latviešu: Gvaranu valoda
lietuvių: Gvaranių kalba
Ligure: Guaranì
Lingua Franca Nova: Guarani (lingua)
македонски: Гварански јазик
მარგალური: გუარანი (ნინა)
Bahasa Melayu: Bahasa Guaraní
Nederlands: Guaraní (taal)
नेपाल भाषा: गुआरानी भाषा
norsk nynorsk: Guaraní
олык марий: Гуарани йылме
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Guarani tili
پنجابی: گورانی
português: Língua guarani
română: Limba guarani
Runa Simi: Waraniyi simi
slovenčina: Guaraníjčina
slovenščina: Gvaranščina
српски / srpski: Гварани (језик)
svenska: Guaraní
Taqbaylit: Tagwaranit
Türkçe: Guaraní dili
українська: Гуарані (мова)
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: گۇئارانچە
vepsän kel’: Guaranin kel'
Tiếng Việt: Tiếng Guaraní
walon: Gwarani
粵語: 瓜拉尼文
žemaitėška: Gvaraniu kalba
中文: 瓜拉尼語