Blogging in Guarani

In Paraguay, where only 3% of the population has access to internet [es] and where the indigenous language of Guaraní is spoken by 88% of the population and also an official state language, Mirta Martínez saw an opportunity where nobody else did. A journalist and a Guaraní teacher, she became the first and only blogger writing in Guaraní in the world, captivating readers not only in Paraguay but also around the globe.

Guaraní is a language originally spoken by the Guaraní people, a local indigenous community that inhabits Paraguay, and parts of Argentina, Brasil and Bolivia. Although Guaraní spread all the way through these countries, today it is most widely spoken in Paraguay, together with Spanish (brought by the Spaniards when they invaded South America). The remaining Guaraní indigenous population in Paraguay is now very small, but most Paraguayan citizens inherited their language. Up until a few years ago, Guaraní was considered a language spoken only by “lower class citizens,” and people from the country side. It was only in 1992 that an educational reform made it mandatory that classes should be taught both in Guaraní and Spanish.

From Global Voices: read the whole article.

PS. In case you don’t read the comments on blogposts, here is an excerpt on Fiona Cooper’s comment on this one.

In case you’re interested, there’s a SIM project to provide 100,000 audio Bibles in Guaraní for rural communities in Paraguay.

¡Rohayhu Paraguay! (I love you Paraguay)

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1 reply on “Blogging in Guarani”

It is so cool to read about Paraguay on an international site, and in English! I’d be interested to know whether Mirta blogs in pure Guaraní or in the mix of Guaraní and Spanish, known as jopará, which is the version of the language the vast majority of that 88% speak. Unfortunately (in my opinion), the version that is taught in schools is the pure version, which is quite different from the language as it is spoken nowadays.

The fact that Guaraní is an official language of state does not actually mean very much in practice, other than the President giving a speech in the language at his inauguration… and the mobile phone-sponsored welcome sign at the airport being in the three languages – Guaraní, Spanish and English!

As far as getting the Word of God to the people of Paraguay… Guaraní is the heart language of the majority of Paraguayans, yet church has traditionally been done in Spanish. Now, however, both Paraguayans and foreign missionaries are realising the importance of using Guaraní in worship and teaching.

One complication is that Paraguay is a largely oral culture: Although the official literacy rate is very high (95% or higher) only a very small proportion of the population actually enjoys reading or finds it an easy way to get information.

Written Bibles are therefore not necessarily the best way to get the Word of God into people’s hearts and minds.

In case you’re interested, there’s a SIM project to provide 100,000 audio Bibles in Guaraní for rural communities in Paraguay:

¡Rohayhu Paraguay! (I love you Paraguay)

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