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Guarani Indian Language (Avañe'e)

Language: Guaraní is a language of the Tupi-Guarani language family. It is one of the major languages of South America, spoken by nearly five million people in Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, and especially Paraguay, where Guarani is one of the two official national languages. In fact, more than two-thirds of the population of Paraguay are speakers of Guarani, most of whom are bilingual in Guarani and Spanish. Guarani is a polysynthetic language with predominantly SVO word order. There are many different subgroups and communities of Guarani people in South America, and each one speaks a different form of the language. In many cases these dialect differences are minor, such as a distinctive accent, which does not hinder Guarani people from understanding each other-- similar to the difference between British and American English. In other cases, Guarani dialects are so different from each other that they are usually considered separate languages--more like the difference between English and Dutch. In particular, Kaiowa and Ache are almost always considered distinct languages despite being very close to Guarani. Many linguists also consider Guarayo/Chiriguano, Chiripa/Nhandeva, Mbya Guarani, and Simba Guarani to be separate languages from Paraguayan Guarani. The great majority of Guarani speakers, nearly 5 million people, use Paraguayan Guarani; there are an additional 120,000 speakers of Kaiwa, Ache, Mbya, Chiriguano, Simba, and Chiripa dialects.

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Names: The tribal name Guarani came from an indigenous word meaning "warrior," and this is the name most Guarani people call themselves today. However the name Ava, which means "person," is also used in some contexts, and the language is often called Avañe'ẽ. The most important Guarani subdivisions are the Paraguayan Guarani, the Kaiowa of Brazil, the Chiripa/Nhandeva/Ava-Guarani of Brazil and Paraguay, the Chiriguano/Guarayo/Ava of Paraguay and Bolivia, the Simba of Bolivia, the Ache of Paraguay, the Mbya of Brazil and Argentina, and the Tapiete of Argentina and Bolivia. It can be confusing for outsiders to tell different indigenous groups in this region apart, because many of them use similar names. In particular, the word "Ava" simply means "man" in Guarani. So although the Chiripa in Paraguay are the people best known as "Ava-Guarani," many other Guarani tribes and indeed some more distantly related Tupian tribes also call themselves Ava. The same is true of "Nhandeva," which means "we people." Although this name is most associated with Chiripa people in Brazil, variants of the same name are used by different communities in Bolivia and Paraguay as well. And the Chiriguano people call themselves "Guarayos" in Paraguay but not in Bolivia-- since there is another tribe in Bolivia with the confusingly similar name of "Guarayu"!

Some Guarani people also call themselves by the name of their specific community or band, such as the Izoceño (a Guarayo subgroup of Bolivia). the Apapocuva (a Nhandeva subgroup of Brazil,) and the Bugre, Tambéopé, and Baticola (Brazilian Guarani subgroups who speak Mbya.) Finally, mixed-race Guarani people in Paraguay often refer to themselves and their Guarani-inflected dialect of Spanish as Jopará or Yopará (which means "mixture" in Guarani.)

Though these communities are independent of one another and all have their own distinctive cultural features, they also share a broader ethnic identity as Guarani/Ava people. Alternate spellings of their names include Guaraní, Guarany, Guarana; Avá, Abá, Aba, Awá, Awa, Áwa, Avá-Guarani, Ava Guarani, Aváguaraní, Ava-ñe'ee, Avañe'e; Chiripá, Tsiripá, Txiripá, Txiripa, Xiripa; Nhandeva, Nandeva, Ñandeva; Guarajo, Guarájo; Mbyá, Mbiá, Mbia, Mbua, Mbwa, Mbü'a; Tapyete, Tapieté; Cayua, Kaiwa, Kaiowá, Kaiwá, Kaingua, Caingua; Izocenio, Izoceno, Izozo, Isosó; Acapocúva; Jopara, Yopara, and Yopará.

Guarani Language
Guarani language samples and resources.

Guarani Culture and History
Information and links about the Guarani tribe past and present.

Guarani Mythology
Collection of Guarani legends and traditional stories.

Guarani Language Resources

Our Online Guarani Materials

Guarani Words:
    Our list of vocabulary words in Paraguayan Guarani.
Guarani Pronunciation Guide:
    How to pronounce Guarani words.
Guarani Animal Words:
    Illustrated glossary of animal words in the Guarani language.
Guarani Colors:
    Worksheet showing color words in the Guarani language.
Guarani Body Parts:
    Online and printable worksheets showing parts of the body in Guarani.
Guarani Numbers:
    Worksheet showing how to count in the Guarani language.

Guarani Dictionaries, Audio Tapes and Language Resources
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English-Guarani Concise Dictionary
    Simple Guarani dictionary for sale online.
A Grammar of Paraguayan Guarani
    Guarani linguistics book.
Diccionario Bilingue Guarani-Español * Diccionario Chiriguano-Español:
    Guarani language dictionaries available in Spanish.

Guarani Language Resources

Paraguay Language Map * Brazilian Languages * Southern Brazil: * Argentina and Chile: * Bolivian Languages:
    Maps showing the areas in different South American countries where the Guarani languages are spoken.
Tribes of the Gran Chaco:
    Historical map of the Chaco Plain showing the original location of the Guarani tribes at the time of first European contact.
Guarani Alphabet:
    Website about Guarani phonology, with a sample text.
Wikipedia: Guaraní:
    Encyclopedia article on Guarani including pronunciation and grammatical information.
Academia de la Lengua Guaraní:
    Paraguayan government academy promoting Guarani language and culture. In Spanish and Guarani.
Human Rights: Brazilian Guarani: * Human Rights: Bolivian Guarani:
    Translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into the Guarani language.
Guarani Indian Prayers * Lord's Prayer in Western Guarani: * Lord's Prayer in Chiriguano:
    Translations of Christian prayers into the Guarani language.
The Bible in Eastern Bolivian Guarani * Western Bolivian Guarani:
    Translation of the New Testament into the Guarani languages.
Tower of Babel in Guarani: * Language Museum: Paraguayan Guarani: * Language Museum: Mbya Guarani:
    Words of Life: Eastern Bolivian Guarani: * Izoceno Guarani:
    Bible passages translated into Guarani.
House of Languages: Paraguayan Guaraní * Chané * Tapiete:
    Information about Guarani language usage.
Guarani Language Tree:
    Theories about Guarani's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
Paraguayan Guaraní Language Structures * Kaiwá Guarani Language Structures:
    Guarani linguistic profiles and academic bibliographies.
Paraguayan Placenames:
    Chart of indigenous place names in the Guarani language.
Las Lenguas Guaraní:
    Information about the Guarani languages in Spanish, including a text example, grammar and maps.
Lexico Mbya Guarani:
    Portuguese-Guarani dictionary, available online in PDF format.
Diccionario Guarani:
    Trilingual Spanish-German-Guarani dictionary.
Newfound Pride in Guaraní * The Guaraní language is flourishing but the indigenous people are not
    News articles about Guarani language usage and tribal identity in Paraguay.
Paraguayan Attitudes toward Guaraní and Spanish * Governance and the revitalisation of the Guaraní language:
    Sociolinguistics research about the use of the Guarani language in modern Paraguay.
Guarani Papers:
    Archive of linguistics papers on Guarani, in English and Spanish.
Musica Guarani:
    Audio recordings of several traditional Guarani songs. Page is in Portuguese.

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Links, References, and Additional Information

  Endangered Languages Project: Simba Guarani: * Mbya Guarani: * Nandeva Guarani:
  Bibliography of Guarani language resources.
  OLAC: Guaraní: * Mbya Guaraní: * Eastern Bolivian Guarani:
  Reference lists of Guarani language materials.
  Britannica: Guarani Language:
  Encyclopedia articles about Guarani.
  Los Guaranies * Palabras en Guarani Paraguayo * El Idioma Guarani * Indios Guaraníes * Cultura Guarani
  Etnia Indigena Guarani * Los Tapiete de Bolivia * Los Indios Chiriguanos: * Tribu Avá Guaraní:
  Information on the Guaranis and their language in Spanish.
  Povos Indigenas: Guarani Mbya * Lingua Guarani Mbya do Brasil: * Tribo Nhandeva:
  Information on the Guaranis in Portuguese.
  Guarani Resources * Guarani Language:
  Guarani links.

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