The People’s Language
Guarani

The People’s Language

For the indigenous people of the Guarani, their land is sacred. They call it their mother – or Pachamama. Such is the bond between origin and millennia of native DNA. The soil that is the physical representation of their country is the origin of all life.

This starting point explains a lot about the Guarani people and their way of life. This week, we pay homage to the beautiful language of the Guaraní.

A Language Through History 

Guarani counts over 4 million speakers throughout the South American continent. Along with Spanish, Guarani is the official language of Paraguay. Although its use is ubiquitous throughout the Americas, it was a purely oral one until recently. For example, speakers only adopted the Latin alphabet about 500 years ago. In addition, Guarani only formalized a modern alphabet in 1950.

This, however, hasn’t stopped it from entering into literature. Christian missionaries created significant works centuries ago alongside Latin alphabet adoption, resulting in works such as the Tesoro de la Lengua Guaraní. Likewise, the Catecismo de la Lengua Guaraní also features the language. 

In modern times, the native language has appeared in Western European film and ballet depictions. Within Latin America, the language has prospered and continues to evolve, remaining a relevant part of the Paraguayan culture to this very day.

You might be surprised to hear that you already know some Guarani words. If you’ve ever seen a “jaguar” or eaten “tapioca,” then you already know some Guarani. Pretty neat, right?

A Language Of The People

Paraguayan Guaraní has many nicknames. One local nickname is avañe’ẽ, which means “language of the people.” The name itself can even be used to refer to a Paraguayan person. Somewhat unique for a native language, it’s one of the region’s popular dialects. It was even given elevated status during the 1990s after its inclusion in the constitution of 1992 as a national language.

Its history reflects the proud revitalization of its people. Once dismissed as a language of the working and lower classes, it is now a proud symbol of national identity. Today, Paraguayans learn Guaraní informally as well as receive formal education in public schools. A large part of the non-indigenous population speaks the language. This is portrayed nationally as “a triumph of the native language over the pressure of the language brought by the colonizers” (Barrera, 2015).

Even more recently, institutions of higher learning now dispense recognized degrees such as the Universidad Indígena Aymara inicia el -Tupak Katari-Mes Recordatorio (The Aymara Tupak Katari Bolivian Indigenous University) established in 2008.

TreeCoin For The People

At TreeCoin, we work with local Paraguayans. All are native speakers of Guaraní and it’s clearly a beautiful language. From our research facilities to the actual farmlands, the local communities have helped us realize our vision for reforestation. They play a key role in our goal to improve the timber industry. They’re crucial in protecting the dwindling rainforests.

And just like the Guaraní who today symbolize the continuity of their origins, we hope to symbolize continuity for the rainforests.

The things that have come into being change continually. The man with a good memory remembers nothing because he forgets nothing.”

— Augusto Roa Bastos, Paraguayan novelist

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