Guaraní is a member of the Tupí-Guarani branch of the Tupian language family. It is spoken by about 4.6 million people in Paraguay. There are also small communities of Guaraní speakers in Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina. Guaraní is one of the offical languages of Paraguay, along with Spanish.
Guaraní has co-existed with Spanish in Paraguay for four centuries, and as a result, has absorbed a lot of Spanish vocabulary. Guaraní has also contributed a number of loanwords to English such as cougar, toucan and jaguar.
Guaraní started to appear in writing, in the form of religious texts, during the 17th century. It was first documented by Antonio Ruíz de Montoya, a priest who produced a Guaraní-Spanish dictionary, Tesoro de la lengua guaraní, which was published in 1639.
Early writing in Guaraní used inconsistent spelling systems quite different from the modern one. A Script Council was convened in 1867 by the president of Paraguay, Mariscal Francisco Solano López, to regulate the spelling. However it was not successful.
Guaraní spelling was finally standardized at the Guaraní Language Congress in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1950. This orthography is now universally used in Paraguay.
Mayma yvypóra ou ko yvy ári iñapyty'yre ha eteĩcha tecoruvicharendá ha acatúape jeguerekópe; ha ikatu rupi oikuaa ñetéva ha añete'yva, iporãva ha ivaíva, tekotevẽ pehenguéicha oiko oñondivekuéra.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Information about Guaraní
Online Guaraní lessons
Page last modified: 23.03.22
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