|Guaraní (avañe'ẽ) |
|Spoken in: ||Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay |
|Total speakers: ||6 million |
|Ranking: ||Not in top 100 |
|Genetic classification: ||Tupi |
|Official status |
|Official language of: ||Paraguay |
|Regulated by: ||- |
|Language codes |
|ISO 639-1 ||gn |
|ISO 639-2 ||grn |
|SIL ||Various: |
GNW for Western Bolivian Guarani
GUG for Paraguayan Guarani
GUI for Eastern Bolivian Guarani
GUN for Mbya Guarani
GUQ for Ache
KGK for Kaiwa
NHD for Chiripa
PTA for Pai Tavytera
TAI for Tapiete
XET for Xeta
Guaraní (gwah-rah-'nee) [gwara'ni] (local name: avañe'ẽ) is a language spoken in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and southwestern Brazil. It belongs to the Tupi-Guarani language subfamily.
It is estimated that there are approximately six million Guaraní speakers worldwide.
Guaraní became a written language relatively recently. It uses a largely phonetic orthography.
Guaraní in Paraguay
Guaraní is, alongside Spanish, one of the official languages of Paraguay. Thus, for example, Paraguay's constitution is bilingual, and its state-produced textbooks are typically half in Spanish and half in Guaraní. This policy seems to suggest that the two languages are "separate but equal".
Nonetheless, the two languages have a very complicated relationship. In practice, almost nobody in Paraguay speaks "pure Spanish" or "pure Guaraní". The more educated, more urban, and more European-descended population tends to speak Argentine-influenced Spanish with short phrases of Guaraní thrown in, while the less educated, more rural, and more native population tends to speak a Guaraní with significant vocabulary-borrowing from Spanish. This latter mix is known as Jopará (joe-pah-'rah) [dZopa"4a]
Speakers of Guaraní who are not fluent in any other language have markedly limited opportunities for education and employment. There are very few speakers of Guaraní outside of South America. Those few that exist include scholars, missionaries, and agents of the Peace Corps.
The reason why Guarani subsisted with enough vigor to be officialized was that the Jesuits elected it as the language to preach Catholicism to the Indians. Guarani was the language of the autonomous Jesuit-governed Reducciones.