Episode 4: How & Why

Mba’e la porte. I’m Paulita and this is Guaraníme. You’ve probably been hit with a lot of doubts about Guaraní, about your ability to learn it, or about it being worth it. So in this episode we’re going to step back and take a look at the big picture. The how and the why you’re going to do this. Then for vocab we’re just going to throw out 10 fun phrases you can start using right away.

I took my recorder to go talk to my buddies Sasha and Mateo about their experience with Guarani. Both of them have been studying the language since they arrived and are pretty much conversing full time in Guarani. (Listen to the podcast for their tips.)

I think they said it pretty well, but just wanted to say, not knowing Guarani sucks. I sit there while people are telling jokes, all laughing. Day in, day out. It sucks.

For a while I used to get mad because Paraguayans wouldn’t speak Spanish around me. But Spanish is not their language, Guaraní is.

Even if my Guaraní is never perfect, knowing a little and continuing to learn it is fun. I can yell back at creepy guys on the street when they say creepy things to me in Guaraní. I can chat with little old ladies sitting on their porches, and when I do, they giggle and go ‘Oh’ and clap their hands. Don’t you want to make little old ladies giggle and clap?

It boils down to the fact that if you know Guaraní, your time in Paraguay will be more fun.

Ok, so that covers the Why, Now let’s move onto the how. From my experience and some Googling, here are those 10 tips to help you learn Guaraní.

1. Find a buddy. Find someone else in this whole wide world who is also trying to learn Guaraní. There’s actually a Facebook group called Guaraní. Go there and hunt for someone. This will give you someone to practice and comiserate with. It will also keep you from quitting. You can write each other little Guarani emails.

2. Make flashcards. I take a 3x5 card from the life supply my family sent me. I fold it in half lengthwise then widthwise, then cut it into four. You can also just use paper. I write the Guaraní word on one side and the definition on the other, old-school style, and make endless stacks. That photo I use on my podcast is my stack of flashcards piled up next to my guampa, the cup used for drinking terere. I think I have about a million. Go through the stacks, quizzing yourself, from both sides of the card. This way you keep track of each word, and you know it won’t leave your stack until you’ve learned it.

3. Get all the parts down. I recently learned that a different part of your brain activates when you hear a word than when you see it, so you’ve got to get these words all up in every part of your brain. That means thinking about hearing, speaking, reading and writing. Though, ok, no one’s going to kill you if you never learn to read or write in Guaraní. For me, unfortunately, I learned that I’m a visual learning. People tell me words but, until I write it down, it just flies though my head. So the cards work for me. But I also make sure I’m actively listening and making myself try new words, so that the words don’t just become letters on a card, but sounds in my mind as well. Also, if you get bored doing one thing, like reading flash cards, you can change to something, like listening to the podcast again or yelling at stray dogs in Guaraní, so that you can be less bored but still be working on your language skills.

4. Work with mnemonic devices. Get a picture in your mind when learning a word, or make up a funny litte pun story. Make up a dirty joke about it, whatever makes you laugh and makes the word stick. This can get tough because Guaraní is so different from anything your brain has every heard before. I mean, what kind of device am I going to use to remember that myaky means wet? You have to get pretty creative. Whenever I think of it, I’ll try to share the ones I use.

5. “Never despair, but if you do, work on in despair.” That’s one of my favorite quotes by a guy named Edmund Burke. Even if the frustration inside you says that you’ll never learn Guaraní, there has to be some part of you that knows that if you just learn 3 words a day, you’ll be able to speak Guaraní in a year. And you will be awesome. (1,000 words, by the way, is how many they say you need to get by in a language.) So every time you catch yourself saying, I’ll never learn Guaraní, go study for 10 minutes. If all is lost, take a day, eat some ice cream, then keep going. If I can learn Guaraní, with frequent bouts of despair and all, anyone can.

6. Start speaking as soon as you can. Prepare to be laughed at. After a few times, the laughter will stop, conversation will begin. I still remember the first time I said something in Guaraní and it wasn’t like, "Ha ha, Paulita said something in Guaraní." I had said I’m going to eat lunch, and they just said, “Ok, jajotopata.” And I was like, “It works!” This also helps you attach Guaraní to real life, helps you realize that this really is just normal every day speech for some people in the world, the people you now hang out with.

7. Don’t be mad at Guaraní. Don’t ask Guaraní, why Guaraní, why? Why are you so complicated? Why do you have so many little rules? Why do you make my throat hurt? We don’t ask why, we just ask how. Sometimes you will come across something, and it will just freak you out. When I found out about the existence of the subjunctive tense in Spanish, I was mad for 6 months before I accepted it and sat down to learn it. I probably could have had it down in two months if I had used my pissy energy for studying. If something is making you mad or frustrated, you just have to say, I’m not going to learn that today. You might have to listen to the podcast again in a few weeks, or read the lesson over and over. That’s ok. If you can’t seem to get past something, ask someone else to explain it. It might just be that you need to look at it from a different angle. You just have to accept Guaraní for what Guaraní is, a crazy little language that’s almost nothing like English, and decide to learn it or not. If it feels hard and frustrating, that’s because it is hard and frustrating, but so are a lot of things worth doing.

8. Get a local tutor. This can be a professor that you pay, that you might even be able to get Peace Corps to pay for, if you´re a volunteer, or this could just be your little host brother that you pay with lollypops. Either way, you’re working with someone in the community, showing that you’re hard-working, and giving others around you a sense of responsibility and pride in your learning their language.

9. Do today’s work. Don’t let your mind wander to how you didn’t study yesterday, or how you’ll never get past this part. Just do today. They don’t welcome little kids to kindergarten and say, This will take you 12 years. They just say, This is the letter A. Just get what you need done each day, inch along from where you are, and soon you will have climbed Mt. Guarani.

10. Start now. Oh look, you already did. Good for you.

Ok, so, let’s just a little fun for the love of Pete. Today we’re just going to go over 10 things that are just fun to say in Guaraní. No big gramatical concepts, just stuff you can start using immediately. I’ll pause after each new word for repetition.

The first is E’a. It’s just kind of like a gasp or like “Oh!” in Guaraní. Like if I told my host mom, I ate 15 empanadas for lunch. She’d say “E’a!

This next is like a the nicer version of a cuss word, kind of like saying poop instead of the sh*t. It’s Nde rasóre. I’ll let you figure out the cuss word and what it means on your own. This is used like the Guaraní version of “Darn it!”

The next phrase is che ra’a. You’ve got the che, which in this case means “my” and ra’a means son. A lot of times I hear it more like “che ra.” Anyway, people use it, mostly between men, kind of like “man”. You’ll hear this a lot with Nde rasóre. “Nde rashore che ra’a.” Or it could be combined with E’a. E’a che ra’a. The other day I heard a terrible story on the radio, and the announcer ended it with “terible che ra’a.”

Another good one to follow up with Che ra’a is Nahaniri, which means “no.” People just use “no” as well, but nahaniri is kind of like more for emphasis. Like when a little kid picks up your camera, you can say, “Nahaniri che ra’a.”

And if you know how to say “No,” now we got to throw in there yes. It’s a good one. The word is “Héẽ.” We’ll be going over nasal stuff in the next episode. It’s just really fun to say. Once you know it, you’ll hear it all the time, when one person is talking, and the other’s just leaning back saying, “Héẽ, Héẽ,” like, yeah, yeah.

The next is like “let’s go!” And it’s the ñande form, that inclusive we, of to go. You’ll remember that the Ñande form is usually going to start with that ja- sound. And if “I go” is aha, let’s all go is jaha. So whenever we’re all waiting around to head out somewhere, one person usually stands up and says Jaha! It’s one of those words that is so universal, volunteers use it amongst themselves all the time.

This next one you’ll use a lot. I know I did. It was one of the first things I learned in Guaraní. The word is Nantendei. This means “I don’t understand”. When I lived with my first family, every time I said this word sparked about three minutes of laughter and the repeating of “nantendei” followed by more hoots of laughter. I got used to it.

Next and nearly as important is the Ndaikuaái. This means “I don’t know.” Sometimes it’s used alone or you can put the “Che” in front of it, “Che ndaikuaái”. I started using this with my current host family, and for months they found it hilarious to just walk around shaking their heads and saying ”Ndaikuaái. Ndaikuaái.” I got used to it.

Then there’s the word for “Ok,” which is Oĩma. The parts literally break down into “It is already.” Or it could also mean that something is ready. Oĩma. Ready. So like when you’re trying to negotiate for a house to rent, and you’ve already talked everything out and all there is left to do is shake hands, you can say, “Oĩma.”

There’s another word you can throw out to mean finished. That’s Opa. When you’re all done washing your clothes, you can lift up your hands and huff and say, “Opa.” A lot of times you’ll hear this combined with the ending for already, -ma. “Opama.” Is kind of like, Finished already.

  1. e’a: Oh! (gasp)

  2. nde rasóre: Darn it

  3. che ra’a: my son, used between men

  4. nahániri: no

  5. heẽ: yes

  6. jaha: let´s go

  7. ndaikuaái: I don´t know

  8. nantendei: I don´t understand

  9. oĩma: ready

  10. opa: done

1. What’s the word for “Oh!”

2. How do you say, “Ok!” or “Ready”

3. How do you say, “I don’t understand,” using it with the word for “I”.
Che ndaikuaái

4. How do you say, “Let’s go!”

5. How do you say, “Finished!”

6. What would you say if you slammed your finger in the door?
nde rasóre

7. What would you say if someone asks if you want to drink terere (hint: this is always Yes)

8. What would you say if someone just walks up to you and starts speaking in Guarani?

9. How do you stop a kid from picking up your camera?

10. What’s the phrase meaning “my son” that you use kind of like “man.”
Che ra’a

Ok, now we’re going to move on to the Review. You might need a t-ray break in between.

1. Yes, I will go to Paraguay.
Heẽ, ahata Paraguaype.

2. Let’s go to Paraguay.
Jaha Paraguaype.

3. I already finished all my pizza.
Opama che pizza.

4. My pizza’s ready.
Oĩma che pizza.

5. You’re all making pizza already.
Peẽ pejapoma pizza.

Now we’re switching to the Guarani first...

6. Che ha’uma che sushi.
I ate my sushi already.

7. E’a, che ha’u nde pizza.
Oh, I ate your pizza.

8. Jaha Paraguaype.
Let’s go to Paraguay.

9. Nde rasóre!
Darn it!

10. Opama
All done!

Episode 3: Humble Beginnings

Mba’e la porte. Che Paulita and this is Guaraníme. Today we’re going to talk more about what your mean old grammar teacher called personal pronouns. These are those stand-in words we use so we don’t have to keep repeating names over and over: I, he, she, them, us. We’ll also talk about the verb beginnings for each pronoun.

As we already learned, we use the word Che when referring to ourselves. Remember how to say “I make?”, as in “I’m making pizza... che ajapo pizza. When the action is going on right now, you can choose to use that hina verb ending or leave it off. Today we’re going to leave it off, for simplicity’s sake. We’re going to use japo throughout the episode, as we talk about the verb beginnings, those driver cars, that go with every pronoun, such as the a beginning that goes with the che. Che ajapo pizza.

So, I am che. Who are you? To say you in Guaraní is nde. The word begins with n-d, but you barely hear that n and it’s practically all d. You actually already learned this in Episode 1, when saying Ha nde. To break that down, ha means “and” and nde is "you". Ha nde. I could go for a delicious cocktail. Ha nde?

Let’s see how that sentence “I make pizza”, Che ajapo pizza changes when we want to say “You make pizza.” Instead of the Che we’re going to use nde. The verb, japo, is going to stay the same, but we’re going to change the “ah” sound on the front. Instead of the “ah” that you use for first person, you’re going to put re-. That’s the verb beginning, the driver car, for the second person, for you. So then how are we going to say “You make pizza.”? Nde rejapo pizza. Now in some areas of Paraguay, they leave off the r when pronouncing words, and you’ll just hear like ejapo. So just be aware of that. Like in Episode 2 when my buddy didn’t really pronounce the v in avei. It’s kind of like that.

In Guaraní, there’s also a “you all,” or “ya’ll” where I come from. This would be the Spanish equivalent of ustedes. In Guaraní, it’s Peẽ. Peẽ is spelled like pee, as in, I drank terere for an hour and now I have to pee. The last e has a tilde on it, which kind of makes it sound like you’re holding your nose while you say it, and with all the latrines in Paraguay, you may very well be. We’ll talk more about accents and tildes later.

Just like we did for Nde, we’re going to change the verb beginning for peẽ. This beginning for peẽ gives us a nice little shortcut. Yes, we love shortcuts. The verb beginning is just pe-. You just cut off that nasal “e” and you got yourself a verb beginning. So then what would be “Ya’ll make pizza.” Peẽ pejapo pizza.

To say “him” or “her” you’re going to say Ha’e, which is another one of those words with the apostrophe right smack in the middle. This verb is not gender specific, so people who speak Guaraní don’t have to worry about the whole awkward post-sex-change “him” or “her” choice.

The verb beginning when it is him or her doing the action, is going to be an o-. And it takes that same sound “oh”. So, then, “He makes pizza” is Ha’e ojapo pizza.

If one person, him or her, is ha’e, then multiple people, lots of hims and hers, aka “them” is just going to be the plural form of ha’e. That makes sense. How do you make words plural in Guaraní? Whereas in English we ususally put just an S on the end, in Guaraní you put a big long kuera caboose. This doesn’t apply for all words, but we’ll go with it for now and I’ll explain more when we get into detail later. So if "he" is ha’e, then them will be ha’ekuéra.

For the verb beginning of “them,” we have another wonderful shortcut. The verb beginning is the same as for him or her. It’s just an o-! Oh happy day. So, then, “They make pizza” is going to be.... Ha’ekuéra ojapo pizza.

Perhaps one of the most unusual things about Guaraní is how they break apart the we. Let me explain. Have you ever been walking with a hottie, maybe lookin’ to make out and you come across a friend on the street. You say, “We’re going to the beach.” And they say, “The beach! What a great idea, I’ll get my suit.” And you’re like, Whompty whomp. Will not be making out any time soon. Well, the Paraguayans have come up with an ingenious way to never have their make-out plans foiled again.

They break up the concept of “we” into the inclusive and exclusive. Inclusive is when you want to include everyone. The word they use is ñande. This is inclusive because it includes everyone who is present. Then there is the exclusive, which is ore, which excludes the listener and refers to a smaller group that makes up the “we.” How I remember this is that ore is spelled like core, without the c, so I think of it as the core group, cuttin’ the fat. If you used ore as the "we" in “we are going to the beach,” the person you are speaking to would know that, in this case, three’s a crowd. But if you used ñande, it would be like an invite, because using the ñande form is kind of a way to say, “Let’s!” So it would kind of be like “Let’s go to the beach!”

These are not hard and fast rules. A lot of times people just go for the inclusive ñande, even when they’re talking about just a few people.

So, if you want to invite someone, you would use the inclusive. The verb beginning of the pronoun ñande is ja- (OK, so this can change, in ways I’ll explain later. But I don’t want to scare away those three subscribers still clinging on.) For now, just focus on the ja-. How are we going to say, “We all make pizza.” Nande jajapo pizza.

Now, if you have the date situation. You and the hottie are going to make some pizza, You’re going to use the ore form, so that no one invites themselves along. The verb beginning you’re going to use is ro-. It’s like ore turned backwards without the e. How are you going to say, “We are going to make pizza.” (Hint: Don’t forget to add on that -ta for the future to the verb.) Ore rojapota pizza.

Oh sweet lord, you’ve had a long day.

I think we’ve had some good practice already. But I’m also going to start something at the end of every episode, which I’ll call Putting it all together. Maybe I’ll even find a little theme song for the segment. Anyway, we’re going to practice, drawing on words we’ve already gone over throughout the podcast. I don’t want anything from way back getting dusty in your brain. We don’t have a whole lot to work with just yet, but as time goes one, we will. Ok, let’s go. For the first five, you’re going to get English first, then respond in Guaraní. For the next five, it will be Guaraní first, then the translation in English.

Putting it all together.

1. You make sushi too.
Nde rejapo sushi avei.

2. I’m going to go to Paraguay.
Che ahata Paraguaype.

3. I ate already.
Che ha’uma.

4. They’re making sushi.
Ha’ekuéra ojapohina sushi.

5. You all make sushi well.
Peẽ pejapo porã sushi.

6. Che aha avei.
I’m going too.

7. Ore rojapoma sushi.
We (just us) already made sushi.

8. Che ajuhina.
I’m coming.

9. Ha’e ojapo sushi Japanpe.
He makes sushi in Japan. (We’re just going to use the English word for “Japan” for this one.)

10. Ñande jajapota sushi!
We’re all going to make sushi!

10ish Vocabies for Today!

  1. ha: and
  2. nde: you, your
  3. re-: v.b. for you
  4. peẽ: you all
  5. pe-: v.b. for you all
  6. ha’e: him or her
  7. ha’ekuéra: them
  8. o-: v.b. for him, her or them
  9. ñande: we all (inclusive)
  10. ja-: v.b. for we all
  11. ore: just us
  12. ro-: v.b. for just us

Episode 2: All About You

It’s important to start speaking as soon as possible, and the thing we can all talk most about is ourselves. So I’m going to use the first person to introduce some topics, which we can expand on later.

So, who are you, in Guaraní. I’m me, you want to say. In Guaraní, that’s che. Che Paulita, I would say.

Che means me, I, or my. Remember last episode we learned the word avei, which means “as well”? Well now you know how to say "me too", which would be che avei. So when you greet someone and they say Che aipora, or “I’m good,” you can say, che avei. Me too.

Now because we want to get speaking as soon as possible, we’re going to get to that other thing you need for a sentence, a verb.

And our first verb is japo. Japo means "to do or to make." These concepts, which are separate in English, are combined into one word in Guaraní, like hacer in Spanish.

You’ll remember that Guaraní verbs are like trains. The verb by itself is like a lonely car. It needs the conductor to drive. So who’s driving this train?

When it’s me driving the train, when I’m doing or making something, we’re going to put an a in the front, which takes the soft a sound like the Spanish a. There are separate beginning for each different pronoun, such as he, we, them, which we’ll discuss in the next episode. Right now let’s talk more about you.

So when someone asks you, “Who’s making dinner?” You can say “Che ajapo.” I’m making it.

For almost all verbs, the root, such as japo, will stay the same, and you will just change the front sound for the personal pronoun. But what fun would life be without irregular verbs?

So what are some irregular verbs we can start with. How about “I go.” To say “I go”, you’re going to start with that same Che and add the verb, aha. Che aha. There’s still that same “a” sound in the front there for the first person, so that’s good. What else? If you’re going somewhere, then you must be coming to another place, so to say I’m coming is “Che aju.”

Here’s one more irregular that you’re going to use a lot. This is one of the few that does not have the a in front. It means “I eat.” Che ha’u.

To say, "I say", its che ha’e. One of the phrases used her to mean I agree is “Che ha’e avei.” Literally, "I say also."

Now you have the conductor car, the verb cargo car, but what about those cabooses, the suffixes if you want to be boring, that latch on to the back of the words to change their meaning?

First, let’s think of some in English. Let’s say "to go", which is aha. And "I go" is Che aha. Well what about "I’m going", with that -ing that indicates that the action is going on right now? In Guaraní, that ending is hina.

The next two endings I want to give you also have to do with time. If things are occuring presently, with hina, then what about things that will occur in the future? For this, you add a ...ta to the end of a word. (I will write the eclipse before word endings) So how would you say, “I will go?” Che ahata. How about, “I will come?” Che ajuta. “I will eat?” Che ha’uta.

The next ending is kind of like a past tense, but it really means more like “already.” The translation for that in Guarani is a verb ending of ...ma. So how would you say, “I’m coming already?” Che ajuma.

A lot of times, people combine ma and ta together, kind of like if you wanted to say, “I’m going to go already.” There’s kind of the future and the present tense there. “I’m going to go already” would be translated to ahatama. You hear that exact phrase a lot when people are just standing around and someone goes to leave.

Now I’m going to give you one more ending, because it will help you get some sentences out. With all this coming and going, you’re going to want to say where. For this, you’re going to use the ending ...pe, to mean "at" or "to" or "in", and you would add it to the end of the place you’re talking about, not the verb. So "I’m going to Disneyland" would be Che ahata Disneylandiape.

Woo, ok, that’s just 10 words, believe it or not.

Now let’s practice.

1. If someone asks where you’ll be spending Christmas, and you have plans to go to Brazil, what will you say?
Che ahata Brazilpe.

2. Your friend calls and asks if you’d like to eat cake, but you currently have cake in your mouth and want to say, “I’m eating already.”
Che ha’umahina.

3. We want to know who will make dessert for our sweet party and you want to offer, how would you say, I will make it.
Che ajapota.

4. You attempt to make a joke in Guarani. After an awkward silence, you want to go. You stand up and say...what?
Che ahatama.

5. You’re friends are going to eat ice cream and you love ice cream as much as the next guy. How do you say, “I’m going too!”
Che ahata avei.

  1. che: Me, my or I
  2. japo: to do or make
  3. aha: I go
  4. aju: I come
  5. ha’u: I eat
  6. ha’e: I say
  7. ...hina: ...ing
  8. ...ma: already
  9. ...ta: future tense
  10. ...pe: to, at, in

Episode 1: Greetings

To Download Episode 1, click Here

Greetings from Yataity, Paraguay. This is the first (notes for the) episode of a podcast I like to call Guaranime. In this podcast we will be learning how to speak Guaraní, the language of the beautiful country of Paraguay, where I am currently living as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

I’m making this podcast as part of my service work, with future and current volunteers in mind, along with state department workers and any other english speakers who are crazy enough to take one the task of learning to speak like a crazy person.

Before I arrived I hadn’t heard one word of Guaraní. I also did not know much Spanish, so the transition was pretty tough. I’m hoping people can benefit from this by learning a little Guaraní before they come down. Also, I’m learning Guarani through Spanish, I really wish I had someone to teach me in English. So that’s something I’m hoping to provide.

So here’s how this podcast going to go down: I’m going to try to make a podcast about every two weeks, if I can and if it’s not raining and the internet is working and I don’t feel like drinking terere in my hammock instead. That’s how we roll in Paraguay. I’m going to aim for 10 new words every podcast. After I give a new word, I’m going to pause so you can repeat it. At the end, I’m going to have a native speaker say the words during the review.

Today we are going to talk about the idea of jopara and I’m going to give you some greetings for vocabulary. Then we are going to talk a little about how words are made up in Guaraní.

I am still a student for sure. I’m just now at the point where I can have little conversations. To make sure all the information is accurate in the podcast, I’m going to have these lessons reviewed by a trainer who speaks English and Guaraní.

But here’s a caveat about Guaraní, as long as we’re talking about what’s right and what’s wrong. Guaraní is an oral language that varies from region to region. The Guaraní that I know is right on my street in Yataity in the region of Guairá. There may be variations in different areas, so the best way to learn is really to practice with the people where you live. You will know that you’ve got it wrong when people point and laugh at you.

Nothing is more frustrating than when you study something and the first time you use it your friends say, “No one talks like that.” It may just be that people talk like that in Takuati, but not in Caazapa. So really, local public shame is going to be your best teacher.

Here’s you’re first major lesson in how people speak, which is the idea of jopara. In Paraguay, there is Guaraní and Spanish. When people say Guaraní Guaraní, they mean total Guaraní, which hardly anyone uses. More popular is jopara, which means mixture, of Spanish and Guaraní. Sometimes you’ll learn the Guaraní word for something, and the first time you use it, someone will be like, Just use the Spanish and you’ll feel like a total dork. And you throw another flash card in the trash. Unfortunately the best way to learn is trial and error, so prepare yourself for a lot of error.

Now it’s time for those 10 vocab words
Let’s start with greetings, because when people stare at you, if you look as foreign as I do, you’re going to want something to break the awkward silence.

Just like in English, there are quite a few ways to say hello.

The most formal, for strangers or older folk, is Mba’éichapa. For people who are your age, or with whom you’re friendly, there is Mba’etekoiko. And also Mba’e la pórte. For either one of these, your response is going to be Ipora, which means you’re doing well. You could also say Tranquilopa, which means everything is tranquilo or chill. There you see a little of the jopara, with the spanish tranquilo and a Guaraní word ending, pa, which we’ll get to later. (So my Guaraní tutor told me that when it's a jopara, in textbooks anything that is jopara is separated with a hyphen, like, tranquilo-pa, to emphasis that one is Spanish and the other Guaraní. But I think that's stupid and I've never seen it written that way in real life, so I will continue with the non-hyphenation school of thought on this one. I will not think different of you if you use the dash.)

After someone says how are you and you say fine, it’s nice to say, “And you?” For that you’re going to say, Ha nde. Most likely, if all is well, they will say Ipora avei. That avei means “as well.” As in, "I’m good as well."

Other less formal greeting are Ha upei? which literally means, And then? In the street, boys and men passing each other yell out Op!

And for one last word, we’re going to say good-bye, for which you can use Jajotopata.

So, there you have it, 10 words to study this week in Guaraní. Now I’m going to have a little conversation.

Mba’e la porte
Iporã, ha nde
Iporã avei.


Iporã ha nde
Iporã avei

Now, if you’re brain is fried already, pause and take a tv break. If not, let’s go on to talk about how words are made up in Guaraní.

At the risk of sounding a little too elementary schoolish, we’re going to say words in Guaraní are like trains. In Guaraní, you can add different parts to a word, different train cars in front and in back like on a child’s toy train set. Each one changes the meaning.

Let’s look at that long train that we just talked about, that word for good-bye: jajotopata.

In the middle there is the verb car, topa, which means, to find.

The Ja sound which starts the word is the car that carries the message of who is doing the verb. Ja means we do this verb. We find.

The Jo that comes after it, is the car that is reciprocal, meaning we’ll do it to each other. We find each other.

And finally, the caboose back there after topa is ta, which is the car that means the future, that someone will do this verb in the future. We will find each other. Is the literal translation, kind of like a “see ya soon” in English.

Don’t worry too much about this now. But as we go on, you’ll start to be able to pick apart words, to see each car that makes up the train.

Now let’s review!

1. What would you say to an older woman who you’ve just met for the first time?

2. How about someone with whom you are friends?
Mba’etekoico or Mba’e la porte

3. Someone says Mba’e la porte to you, and it’s a totally chill day, relaxing in the hammock. How are you going to respond?

4. How about just saying “I’m good”?

5. Then how are you going to ask them, “and you”?
Ha nde

6. You ask someone how they are. They say Ipora, ha nde. How are you going to respond?
Iporã avei

7. You’re riding your bike fast down a hill and zoom past a friend. What’s the quickest greeting you can think of?

8. You greet a buddy in the street and are about to go on your merry way. How do you say Goodbye?

That´s it! For more info on Paraguayan Peace Corps life, check out my blog at peacecorpsparaguay.blogspot.com.

  1. Mba’éichapa
  2. Mba’etekoiko
  3. Mba’e la pórte
  4. Tranquilopa
  5. Ha nde
  6. Iporã
  7. Avei
  8. Ha upei?
  9. Op!
  10. Jajotopata